“Ukraine” worst word in Belarus now – opposition in Vilnius
“Ukraine” is now the worst word in Belarus, representatives of the Belarusian opposition said in Vilnius on Monday, also stating that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has found himself in a standstill in terms of the country’s relations with Russia.
“Today in Belarus “Ukraine” is the worst word (…). Questions are being asked “Are you going to create a Ukraine for us in here?” Vladimir Neklyayev said, speaking about the mood of people in Belarus.
Sergey Kalyakin, leader of the Belarusian leftists, said during the consultations of Lithuanian and Belarusian parties at the Lithuanian parliament on Monday that once opposition representatives start talking about changes in Belarus, they immediately spark questions whether there’s going to be a war.
Kalyakin and Anatoly Lebedko, leader of the United Civil Party of Belarus, believe Lukashenko, dubbed the last dictator in Europe, will try to improve relations with Europe ahead of the 2015 presidential elections in Belarus. He did the same in 2010, which was later followed by a crackdown on and repressions against his opponents.
“Lukashenko always sells a thaw in relations with Europe to the Kremlin. He asks for a credit and gets its. Europeans can expect that in 2015,” Pavel Severinets of the party “Belarusian Christian Democracy” said.
He called on Europe to take advantage of that and demand release of all political prisoners in Belarus. According to Severinets, it would relax the atmosphere of fear in the country and would allow to breather freely for at least several months.
Meanwhile, Lebedko said Russia would seek to weaken the Belarusian army at the same time preserving good infrastructure to be able to use it later.
The guest also gave Benediktas Juodka, chairman of the parliamentary Committee of Foreign Affairs, a T-shirt with a call to release political prisoners written on it.
Andrius Kubilius, leader of the Lithuanian opposition, called on representatives of the Belarusian opposition to take advantage of the upcoming presidential elections not to secure a victory, which is unreal, but to build public trust.
“These elections are very important for building people’s trust, not only for the election results. An election victory would be rather difficult, being aware of all circumstances. But you need to try to win more trust,” he said, reminding of the history of the Lithuanian reform movement Sąjūdis, which, he said, won elections in Lithuania after earning public trust.
Vilnius is hosting the third Lithuanian-Belarusian political consultations on Monday. Participants include representatives of Lithuania’s opposition Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, the ruling Social Democratic Party of Lithuania as well as leaders of Belarusian democratic opposition parties, including Anatoly Lebedko, Vladimir Neklyayev, Pavel Severinec and Sergey Kalyakin.