18 November 2019, Monday, 15:35
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Lukashenka’s Hidden Offenses And Mythology

Lukashenka’s Hidden Offenses And Mythology
VALER KARBALEVICH

This is a story that fully characterizes the Belarusian dictator.

Every year, a large group of Russian journalists, whom Lukashenka almost always speaks to, come to Belarus. However, due to some reason, the Belarusian authorities fail to work with the Ukrainian media in this way.

Nevertheless, now, on the eve of the meeting between Lukashenka and Zelensky in Zhitomir in early October, the Belarusian authorities considered it necessary to create a favorable information background. Therefore, representatives of leading Ukrainian media were invited to Minsk to meet with Lukashenka.

Starting the meeting with Ukrainian journalists on September 26, Lukashenka said: “Unfortunately, we are meeting for the first time in the format of a direct conversation with representatives of such large media in Ukraine.”

The Belarusian leader fails a bit here though. A similar meeting was held on November 23, 2006. Then, a whole landing force of Ukrainian journalists, as usual with representatives of the Russian media,were taken all around the country, and then A. Lukashenka addressed them. This meeting is memorable because then Lukashenka offered Ukraine an alliance against Russia. Say, the transit of the Russian energy resources to Europe passes through the territory of our countries, we would need to agree on tariffs and come up with a common position in negotiations with the Russian Federation.

Answering the journalists' questions about various aspects of Belarusian-Ukrainian relations, Lukashenka was, as always, controversial. For example, on the one hand, he claimed that he never had a bad relationship with the presidents of Ukraine. And then he told how Viktor Yanukovych didn’t let him into Ukraine at the summit dedicated to the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, and closed airspace for Lukashenka’s plane.

A. Lukashenka considered himself entitled to give patronizing advice to young president V. Zelensky.

But, it seems, the main issue, the overriding task of A. Lukashenka during this meeting was the desire to return Belarus, Minsk, the very leader of Belarus to the center for resolving the Ukrainian crisis. Indeed, in the recent years, the Belarusian capital has been slowly losing the status of the main peacekeeper. For example, the next summit in the “Norman format” is planned to be held in Paris.

Lukashenka spoke out the idea of returning the peacekeeping role of Minsk several times from different angles. Including, as it often happens to him, in the form of denial: “We will not ask you to take us as peacekeepers, mediators. This is generally out of the question.” And at the same time, a clear resentment is noticeable in his words: “If this is necessary, we are ready to play a certain role. But so far, such proposals have been rejected by former leaders of Ukraine.” There is no response from Moscow and Kyiv to the proposals to introduce Belarusian peacekeeping forces to the Donbas.

In fact, A. Lukashenka would like to play not some humble “certain role” in resolving the crisis around Ukraine, but just the main, central one. According to Lukashenka, from the very beginning he was involved in the discussion of these events with all parties.

To increase his significance, he once again told a story about his plan, which could lead to peace on Ukrainian land for a long time, but was not accepted. According to A. Lukashenka, he set it out in a telephone conversation with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. “I offered my vision to the West in resolving this conflict,” Lukashenka said. “And I warned Tusk:“ If you do not accept this position, I will know that at least there are people in Europe who are interested in the conflict in Ukraine.” He was silent for a moment and said: “Mr. President, apparently it is so.” After we brought them our vision, no progress came.”

This story shows the whole of Lukashenka, with all the ambitions, mythology, hidden resentments for the underestimation of the scale of his personality.

Firstly, here Lukashenka acts as the main character of the global conflict. He is in the very center, world leaders are turning to him for help.

Secondly, he, as usual, has a monopoly on truth. How many attempts, suggestions, ideas about the settlement of the conflict around Ukraine. And all for nothing. The only plan that could save the Ukrainian people, was suggested by him. But in our evil world, wise politicians are not valued.

Thirdly, from this story it follows that it is the West and Europe that do not want peace in Ukraine. And, according to A. Lukashenka, the President of the European Council Donald Tusk admitted this.

It seems that this whole story about the ingenious plan of A. Lukashenka is a myth. After all, no one has heard anything about these proposals; no traces of this plan are visible anywhere. And if this is such an outstanding project, then why does A. Lukashenka himself, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, state media do not present it, do not advertise it? It would go so well with the image of Belarus created by the authorities as a state-peacemaker, a security donor. But for some reason everyone is silent. Therefore, a logical question arises: was there the plan in the end of the day? By the way, it would be interesting to know the version of this conversation from Mr. Donald Tusk.

Another remark of A. Lukashenka, which is important by meaning: “Forget about all kinds of formulas. Apoint a meeting in Ukraine and call those who want peace, including Belarus. We, the three Slavic peoples, must resolve this conflict, because this is our home.”

It’s the same here, but in a different wrapper. How can any formula compete (meaning “Steinmeier formula”) with the plan of A. Lukashenka? Is it not clear who really wants peace?

Therefore, mediators from the West must be rejected, and everything should be decided within the framework of the “Slavic triangle”. Since Russia and Ukraine are parties to the conflict, only Belarus can be the sole moderator, mediator, peacemaker. Like it or not, there’s no way it’s gonna work without A. Lukashenka.

This idea works in favor of Russia. Indeed, without the support of the West, Ukraine cannot compete against Russia on equal terms. In the Ukrainian society, everyone understands this. Therefore, putting forward the mentioned proposal is unlikely to add popularity to A. Lukashenka in Ukraine.

It is quite clear that during the whole conversation with Ukrainian journalists the topic of the role of Russia was constantly present. A. Lukashenka, as usual, spoke about the inviolability of the sovereignty of Belarus, and denied the attempt at the Belarusian independence by the Russian Federation. But he didn’t explain the reason for the “forced integration” policy, which Moscow has been implementing since December 2018, hasn’t commented on the documents on the unification of economic legislation and economic policy signed by the prime ministers, the implementation of which will be a clear attempt at the sovereignty of Belarus. For the words and deeds of official Minsk in this sensitive issue obviously diverge.

Valer Karbalevich, Svobodnye Novosti