The first head of the independent Belarus spoke about his book.
Last week, the first head of the independent Belarus Stanislau Shushkevich presented his book “My Life, Collapse and Resurrection of the USSR. 25 Years Later”. The book is published in Ukraine. Belarusian publishing houses did not dare to publish Shushkevich’s book, while state-owned bookstores refused to sell it.
Memories are supplemented with photographs, including those Stanislau Shushkevich made himself since 1946. There are 300 unique photos on 500 pages. The inscription on the title page is “Dedicated to those who are destined to return Belarus to Europe - the Belarusian youth.” Stanislau Shushkevich is convinced that “only young forces will be able to solve most of our complex issues”.
The prominent contemporary shared with the readers of BelGazeta rare photographs included in the book, as well as his memories of important historical events.
JUNE 1941. THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR
- I will remember this summer month forever. For good behavior and obedience for a whole week, which came very difficult for me, my grandmother promised to take me on Sunday, June 22, to the Gorky Park. I myself could go there, it was just a little more than a kilometer to go - not the distance that time for me and my peers in prosperous Minsk. After all, I'm already six and a half! But, with grandma, it is more interesting: she would buy a ticket for the carousel, a lollipop, and if I don’t violate her strict rules, ice cream would follow, although she will definitely explain that this product is very expensive, harmful, and if I eat it like I eat everything else - quickly, quickly, then I could catch a cold and lose voice. The fact that they announced on the radio about the beginning of the war that morning was nothing special, the war will not reach Minsk. Both mother and grandmother thought so. “The country is strong and our tanks are fast, and our people are full of courage …” They will never let it happen! So, off to the park we go.
... Two days later, the Nazi bombers set fire to the center of the city, and the wind drove the fire towards Kamarouka. It was necessary to move away from the attacking invaders, and we — mother, grandmother, sister, and I — went along the Barysauski Tract to the east, taking with us everything that we could carry. Grandmother led a goat on a leash. We walked for two days, spent the night in a hayloft in some village. By the end of the second day, we had to turn back, because we saw a lot of poor people like ourselves moving towards us. The German troops landed ahead and cut the road ... On the sixth day of the war, June 28, the Germans entered Minsk.
Hardly ever will I be able to forget the first days of the fascist occupation, the young girls and boys hanged with signs on their chests “They shot at the German soldiers.” It’s impossible to forget the columns of hungry, exhausted prisoners of the Red Army; or the explosion in the carriage of the tram “Only for Germans” which did not bring any harm to anyone, but after which the Nazis captured and shot 50 innocent bystanders right in the eyes of the people. After some partisan action in Minsk, the Nazis captured my mother, but the worst did not happen to her. She was placed in a concentration camp in Shyrokaya Street. War is a horror at the front, in the rear, and in the occupied lands.
DECEMBER 1991. THE COLLAPSE OF THE USSR
- Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev never gets tired of repeating that he, the President of the USSR, was informed about the Bialowieza Agreement later than the President of the United States of America, George W. Bush. It is not true. I called him first, as the three of us - Yeltsin, Kravchuk and I - agreed. I called much earlier than Yeltsin to Bush on the “troika” - the phone he had at hand. However, it was someone else who picked up the phone first, not him. They began to ask who is calling, from where. I introduced myself. The answer was: handing the phone to the president. Gorbachev put on airs, kept pause. Then he picked up the phone. I began to explain to him in detail the essence of the document prepared for signing, and I was very surprised that he addressed to me formally. Before that, there was just “you”.Seeing that I was on the phone, and, naturally, without listening to my conversation, Yeltsin began to call Bush. And I spoke only with the assistant. Yeltsin was connected immediately. Andrei Kozyrev was translating the conversation, translating publicly, loudly, putting a tube parallel to Yeltsin’s apparatus to his ear.
In December 1991, this picture appeared in hundreds of newspapers and magazines in the world. I do not exclude that for this reason the inaccurate opinion that the Agreement on the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States was signed by three people in Viskuli, shown in the picture: Boris Yeltsin, Stanislau Shushkevich, Leonid Kravchuk (from right to left), is widespread. In fact, the agreement is also signed by State Secretary of the Russian Federation Gennady Burbulis, Prime Minister of Ukraine Vitold Fokin and Prime Minister of Belarus Vyachaslau Kebich. The three of us then signed a short half-page statement about the essence of the Agreement on the creation of the CIS.
Bush found bearings instantly. Mikhail Sergeevich, as was his custom, began to lecture me with a mentor tone and said, stretching words, something like this: “Did you ever think about how the international community would take your actions?” - “Dear Mikhail Sergeevich, in this respect everything in order. Boris Nikolayevich talks about the upcoming signing with Bush, and he reacts normally to everything.”
Further, there was silence in the receiver until the “hang up” signal. At about 4 p.m. the agreement was signed in a solemn atmosphere in front of journalists and television cameras. I consider the signing of the Bialowieza Agreement to be the second most important event both for Belarus and in my life. Dozens of times those who blamed me for his signature did not read it and did not know it either, but by inertia, as was customary in the Soviet Union, reproached. There was nothing to blame for in it. The document was recognized by serious analysts to be “a masterpiece of legitimate diplomacy of the end of the second millennium.”
In 1993 famous American writer Norman Mailer (center), through the US ambassador, asked me for a meeting. From my adviser Siarhei Pankouski (first left), I learned that only one Mailer’s book about the Korean war “The Naked and the Dead” was translated into Russian. Not wanting to look unenlightened, I read this book overnight. I thought that the author probably knows the world-famous V. Bykau and K. Simonov, asked what he thought about them. It turned out that he knew nothing about them or about their work. Mailer managed to see Lee Harvey Oswald’s personal file in the KGB of Belarus, so he asked me to answer a number of questions, and soon published the book Oswald’s Tale, another work of art about Oswald. He wrote in it that I told the things I never actually told him. However, the Oswaldiada continues, and many cite Mailer, regarding Oswald’s Tale as historical truth.
LEE HARVEY OSWALD. WHO KILLED KENNEDY?
- What did the sensation lovers not write about me! The most common legend, which even nowadays some people remember, is as follows. Shushkevich is a snout.. On the instructions of the KGB, he quit his job at the Academy of Sciences, where he had already ratted out everyone he needed. He was specially hired at a radio plant to make an American deserter, who fled to the USSR, a KGB agent who is ready to carry out any task of the Soviet special services.
On October 2011 In Sweden, Gothenburg with a member of the European Parliament from Lithuania, Professor Landsbergis, where we were invited to a forum on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the USSR, we remembered a funny incident in Viskuli 19 years ago. In July 1992, at the request of Chairman of the Seimas of Lithuania Vytautas Landsbergis, we chose Viskuli as the venue for negotiations and sat down at the table at which the Agreement on the creation of the CIS was signed. Conscious that around the forest, our guards played billiards in the next room. I asked them to look after my seven-year-old son, since my wife at that time showed the residence to Mrs. Grazhina Landsbergis to the residence. The billiard room door was closed, the key was sticking out of the door. The son tried to run out into the hall, but he was immediately returned. Having correctly assessed the situation, my Stas took out the key from the keyhole and locked the door from the outside. The professionals of the special services of Lithuania and Belarus, who were isolated from the protected ones, had to get out through the window and for a long time to find the culprit of their detention in the spaces of the former residence of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
In reality, everything was completely wrong. What can I say about “our student” Lee Harvey Oswald conclusively? Nothing! The only thing I can say is that he is not mine and not Sasha’s, but our common student, mine and Sasha Rubenchyk’s. We had to work with him only together. Aliaksandr Rubenchyk and I were strictly forbidden to ask who he was, from where, where he grew up, studied, how he got to Minsk. Oswald himself did not really tell much about himself, like, where and who he was. The topics also did not encourage talkativeness: weather, city, country, workshop, factory, sport, shop, market, theater, cinema, etc. However, a dozen lessons of communication still forms an impression about a person. Moreover, I knew him a little in the shop where he was listed as a mechanic. Most of all, he was afraid that his supervisor, a true professional fitter, like most of the workers in the experimental workshop, would task him with making the parts on my order. He would spoil everything.
So all this does not allow me to believe the conclusion of the commission headed by the Chief Justice of the United States of America Earl Warren. The commission investigated the crime for ten months and came to the conclusion that a loner Lee Harvey Oswald plotted and mortally wounded United States President John Kennedy, when he and his wife, Jacqueline, rode in a motorcade along Elm Street in Dallas, with a rifle shot on November 22, 1963. I'm not alone, more than 70% of Americans do not believe in the official version of the murder. Having been in 2008 in Dallas at the crime scene, I, like most Americans, reject the official version.