24 February 2020, Monday, 8:33
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Independence Goes With Democracy, Not Dictatorship

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Independence Goes With Democracy, Not Dictatorship
ANDREI SANNIKOV

To Secretary of State Michael Pompeo for the record.

The postponed visit of U.S. Secretary of State to Belarus will be held on February 1. It will be brief, just a few hours, but nevertheless important.

The Secretary of State has outlined the main goals of the visit in advance: to emphasize the U.S. commitment to the sovereignty, independence, stability and prosperity of Belarus.

I can sign under each word. However, those with whom he will meet at the official level, do the exact opposite.

The current regime threatens the independence and sovereignty of Belarus, seeks to ensure the stability of itself, that is, to maintain power at any cost, and cares only about its own prosperity by robbing people. Those who really advocate the independence of Belarus are persecuted, imprisoned and sentenced to huge fines.

Belarus did a lot to ensure geopolitical stability and international security in cooperation with the US in the early 90s. It was in those years that Belarus made the most important decisions in the field of reducing arms, conventional and nuclear ones. At that time, the Budapest Memorandum stating that the United States supports Belarus' independence was prepared for signing. It was signed by Lukashenka when he came to power, but then he tried to stop the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from the territory of Belarus. In violation of all his obligations, he also suspended the process of conventional arms reduction on the territory of Belarus.

By destroying all democratic institutions, first of all by depriving the citizens of Belarus of the right to elect their own government, the current regime has erased the achievements of our state in maintaining peace in the region and on the continent, turned Belarus from a donor of international security into a serious threat.

Anti-Western military manoeuvres comparable in scale to the Soviet "arms race" exercises have been resumed in Belarus today.

After the EU unreasonably lifted sanctions from Lukashenka and his officials, naively hoping to please the dictator and persuade him to behave decently, the military cooperation with Russia intensified.

The dictator himself admits that previously he used to conceal the scale of the Russian presence in Belarus, but now openly declares that he's achieved that "there's a single customs, common border, common air defense, a single group of armed forces, created by Russia and Belarus in the west."

The Lukashenka regime, which curtailed all Chernobyl programs for recovery and support of residents in the affected areas, allowed Russia to build a nuclear power plant on the territory of Belarus, on the very border with the European Union, whose safety cannot be guaranteed.

All the attempts made by the West to rehabilitate dictators always end sadly, both for the people who suffer from the dictatorship and for the West itself.

The only guarantee of real security in the region, including that of the military one, will be democratic transformation in Belarus and the return of fair elections. Only a democratically legitimate government will be able to protect independence and return Belarus to its role of the donor of regional and European security.

The United States' support of the independence of Belarus during this period of complicated international relations is extremely important for Belarus, for the people of Belarus.

Today, independence goes with democracy, not with dictatorship. These two things cannot exist without each other.

Andrei Sannikov, Facebook