If Western politicians intend to defend democratic principles, they should not retract from the policy of isolation of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and invite him to the EU summit in Prague.
It has been stated in a comment to Ukrainian newspaper “Zerkalo Nedeli” by the former chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Belarus Stanislau Shushkevich.
“I met with Czech parliamentarians one of these days. They believe that Belarusian diplomacy is being successful in the issue of organising this visit. But if the West is self-consistent, they won’t allow Lukashenka’s visit to Prague,” Shushkevich stated.
At the same time, he admits that Lukashenka has certain chances for overcoming international isolation without implementing democratic reforms.
“Unfortunately, some politicians in the West do not care whether democracy is present in the country. Sometimes they mistake pseudo-democratic procedures for democracy. In fact, the West enables Lukashenka to do policy with dirty hands. I do not like that,” Shushkevich said.
In the interview to the Ukrainian edition, Stanislau Shushkevich also commented the meeting of Alyaksandr Lukashenka with Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko and relations of Belarus and Russia.
– Mr Shushkevich, don’t you have an impression that Ukraine and Belarus are trying to create a kind of anti-Russian alliance?
– I do not believe in an alliance with Lukashenka. He is constantly pussyfooting. Viktor Yushchenko has a clear position; he does not want to be a vassal of the Russian regime. And Lukashenka is ready to lick feet to Russia in case of any difficulties. But when he feels he cannot do without Western support, he immediately pretends he wants to contact with the civilized world. He starts flirting with the West, so the contact with Yushchenko is very important to him. I understand difficulties the Ukrainian president undergoes, but he remains the idol of the Belarusian intelligentsia. And Lukashenka wants very much the Belarusian intelligentsia to be more tolerant to him. He has one goal, to retain power, nothing else.
– Do you exclude effectiveness of pressure on Lukashenka by Ukraine or the West in order to make him continue democratic reforms of Belarus?
– Lukashenka cannot be trusted. Lukashenka started to feel that he is losing human face. Nobody considers him a cultural man, certainly. That is why he wants to have contacts with people who enjoy respect. Belarus is not becoming more democratic. Only two newspapers can be considered free, “Nasha Niva” and “Narodnaya Volya”. But extra charges for the newspaper by state-run enterprises are so high that people cannot afford buying them. So there are no improvements, there are only improvements in word: the presidential administration is singing that Belarus is the most democratic country in the world.
– Will the meeting of Lukashenka and Yushchenko be considered anti-Russian by Moscow?
– Lukashenka is so devoted to Russia, that Moscow won’t think anything like that. He has nowhere to go. Russian Ambassador to Minsk dictates what Belarus should do. Ad he is listened to. Fortunately, such things do not happen in Ukraine.
– They say, Lukashenka will go any length to get to the EU summit in Prague for his personal isolation to be finished.
– I met with Czech parliamentarians one of these days. They believe that Belarusian diplomacy is being successful in the issue of organising this visit. But if the West is self-consistent, they won’t allow Lukashenka’s visit to Prague. Unfortunately, some politicians in the West do not care whether democracy is present in the country. Sometimes they mistake pseudo-democratic procedures for democracy. In fact, the West enables Lukashenka to do policy with dirty hands. I do not like that.
– Has Lukashenka not recognized independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in order to please the West?
– If he would do that, the entry to the West would be closed for him. Then he would be able to visit nothing but Nicaragua. Recognition is absolute nonsense. However, if Russia presses on Lukashenka heavier, there would be no other way out for him.