Andrei Sannikov: It’s treachery of Solidarity movements’ ideals

“There isn’t much new in the position of Polish diplomacy. For a long time a line to recognition of the Lukashenka’s regime has been pursued confidentially, but today it was likely to be decided to avow it. If information about new Poland’s approaches towards the situation in Belarus is true, it can’t be named other than treachery of the Solidarity movement’s ideals,” Andrei Sannikov, international coordinator of Charter’97, one of the leaders of the “European Belarus” civil campaign, said.

“Polish people know well how efficient was a system of international solidarity in Poland’s hard times, and we remember that this country wouldn’t have returned to Europe and become a full EU member if it hadn’t been for support of freedom fighters and international pressure upon the Polish communist regime. The fact that Poland will use its membership in the EU for weakening the support of the democratic forces in Belarus evokes just perplexity and regret. I’m afraid business interests of the Polish authorities can overrule considerations of morality and solidarity,” Sannikov noted.

In addition, the politician showed his surprise of the fact the Polish authorities saw some signals of the Belarusian regime demonstrating readiness to move towards Europe in the issue of human rights.

“How is it possible to speak about positive signals of the Belarusian authorities, if the situation with human rights in Belarus is getting worse day by day? Political prisoners are still in prisons, cases of kidnapped opposition leaders are not investigated, repressions against the civil society are strengthening, and the Belarusian authorities have made a list of democratic movement activists, restricted to leave the country. How is it possible to see positive signs in adoption the Law on Mass Media in the second reading by the “house of representatives”, the law, which is targeted at complete elimination of free speech in Belarus?” one of the leaders of the “European Belarus” wonders.

Sannikov notes that sanctions against the Belarusian officials can be lifted if the officials fulfil some simple conditions.

“Did Poland indeed chose the time to declare its new approaches in the moment, when the Belarusian authorities are stirring up a conflict with the United States, the reason of which is US sanctions for violations of human rights? The European Union didn’t impose serious sanctions on Belarus. Opportunities for improving the relations with Europe are open for Belarus. Personal sanctions against some Belarusian officials can easily be lifted if they fulfil some very simple conditions, namely release of political prisoners and stopping of political repressions. It would be the signals, the democratic countries should notice. But trusting the representatives of the dictator regime is a height of naivety. Poland shouldn’t forget that the number of killed, kidnapped and imprisoned opponents to the regime amounts by thousands in the countries of the Latin America and Africa, on which no restrictions for violation of human rights have been imposed,” Sannikov noted.

“Such actions of Poland would mean support of the Belarusian regime, not of the independence of Belarus, as some Poland’s official representatives like to state. It makes the position of the democratic forces considerably weaker in pre-election period and opens more opportunities for the authorities to bargain with Europe to the prejudice of human rights in Belarus,” the politician concluded.

It should be reminded that Russian “Novye Izvestiya” newspaper reports yesterday the Polish diplomats working in Brussels tried to persuade their EU colleagues to lift or ease political and economic sanctions against Lukashenka’s dictatorship. Their main argument is that any restrictions against Minsk are useless, and top priority task is to “rescue Minsk from Moscow”. Polish media write much about signals from Lukashenka’s administration showing the “current Belarusian authorities are ready for concessions and better observing of human rights for the sake of cooperation with the European Union.” As an officer from the Polish Foreign Ministry told to “Novye Izvestiya”, “after Russian increased prices for gas and oil for Belarus, the economic situation has got worse so much that Lukashenka desperately needs western loans to buy Russian energy. He understands well that only restoration of Belarusian export to the EU counties can help him to preserve the power.”