A quarter of a century, the main insights from the “Great conversation” of President Lukashenko

Alexander Lukashenko seven hours spent at the microphone during the so-called “Big conversation” by repeating the record in 2017. Important: in the near future will change the Constitution, Russia is the eternal ally and brother, but better to live in separate apartments, extra Belarusization is not necessary, the economy is still difficult, but reform is even more difficult.

The event, which was attended by more than 200 journalists, political scientists, economists, businessmen, representatives of public associations and religious denominations, began with a conversation about Belarus and Russia. The fate of the General and forever, but 98% of Belarusians prefer to live in, not a unified country — the result of the reasoning of Alexander Lukashenko.

Note that were invited to the meeting, and several representatives of the opposition. Before the meeting, one of the leaders of the civil campaign “Tell the truth” Syarhei Vaznyak told RFI that he, like many wondering if there was a guide a political decision about its own way of the country, that Russia is an ally, but Belarus will not be a satellite. According to the politician, Lukashenko gave the answer.

Sergei Wozniak: “If you ignore sport and culture, specific topics, then Yes, I heard two main messages, which pleased me. The first message is that there is no longer the situation when the West is our enemy, and Russia — each. I heard that we now can not tilt nor from the West nor from the East, and I understand that it is at the level of already adopted political decisions. This is a positive moment. If before multi-vector policy — it was just a figure of speech, which in no way confirmed, but now, I think it moves in the plane adopted a conscious political decision. That’s good. And second — he talked a lot about the national identity of the Belarusians, that we need a national identity we are Belarusians, sovereignty, independence… these are two good messages that I heard. That made me very disappointed, that is a departure of the President from the themes of social ills. He could talk about skiing, about the culture, a lot about hockey, but if only about pensions to the elderly or grants to children is immediately in passing was outputvalues. Apparently, on the subject of good solutions there.”

This year marks a quarter of a century since Lukashenko became President. Naturally, society is interested in the question of new elections in particular and transit authorities generally. The head of state literally announced the beginning of a new campaign, but made clear that in the next cycle still take part — the elections expected in 2020. After the election, as can be understood from the words of Lukashenko, the Constitution will be changed — most likely will be corrected powers of the branches of government. Lukashenko also promised that “the light on me with the presidency will not suffer” and that “for the sake of their children I’m not going to hold on to power and pass it by inheritance”.

Alexander Lukashenko: “I swear to you that this Constitution will not distort, it will not be accepted unceremoniously, with my interest — I swear to you that this will not happen, it would be honest, because the most interested person in the fact that it was then good, and that sticks in me not throwing stones — I’m most interested person to have the Constitution conform to reality, which will develop in our country.”

Sergei Wozniak: “the fact of the invitation of a number of questionable from the point of view of state ideology individuals suggests that there is a mild liberalization. From OMON batons transition into some soft practice — Yes, of course. The fact of the conversation and that they gave the opposition to ask questions, the fact that the invitation is good that it is at the national level. To the regions it goes through many five-year plans, but by itself this fact is correct”.

Director of the Center for strategic and foreign policy studies Arseniy sivitsky comments on the RFI main applications of Alyaksandr Lukashenka of Belarus interaction with the world and neighbors.

Arseny sivitsky: “I think the main thing is that, in General, the position of Belarus as a donor of regional stability and security confirmed including confirmed guarantees to neighboring countries that it is impossible for third countries to use the territory of Belarus for aggression against our neighbors. Belarus has the ambition to act as a global mediator in the settlement of regional conflicts, for example, Russian-Ukrainian and global contradictions between Russia and the West. But with this comes the realization that while these large scale initiatives of the “Helsinki 2.0” or “integration of integrations” in the current geopolitical conditions are not implemented, and, in General, Minsk is using these initiatives to simply define its position as a place where possible negotiations. It is obvious that the trend of reconciliation in foreign policy is preserved. This is due to uncertainty of development of relations with the Russian Federation. Problems were discussed, such as the presence of barriers, and exemptions in trade, the uncertainty of the solution of a question with compensation in the Belarusian economy, the Russian tax maneuver. In this context Alexander Lukashenko essentially repeated the position on the unacceptability of any integration of the ultimatum. Again stated that the main priority in foreign policy in relations with Russia is primarily the preservation of the sovereignty and independence, and the incorporation of Belarus into Russia speech can not be.”

At the meeting Alexander Lukashenko has made some sharp statements in the address of the neighboring Poland, although relations of countries have recently intensified. Minsk is often visited by Polish officials of high rank is on official visit in Warsaw was visited by the head of the Council of the Republic Mikhail Myasnikovich, and the official reports have been positive. “Belarus considers Poland as a friendly country and reliable partner. We build our relations on the principles of good-neighbourliness and mutual respect”, — said during the visit, Myasnikovich. Why the sudden negativity? On this issue RFI meets Pavel Usov, Director of the Warsaw Centre for political analysis and forecasting.

Pavel Usov: “the Polish side quite strongly warned that it is not necessary to make any overtures toward Belarus because Lukashenka’s regime has never considered Poland neither as an ally nor as a country need to focus or where to build a smooth political relations. It’s already in the mind, in the culture of Lukashenko is rooted. Nevertheless, the Polish side, motivating the actions by necessity of the separation of Belarus from Russia, etc., decided to jump into the arms of Lukashenko — was many visits to Belarus, including the last Myasnikovich’s visit to Poland. However, these are all beautiful gestures don’t actually affect the perception of Poland and Polish policy on the part of today’s Belarus. For Lukashenka, Poland is the enemy, is the enemy, especially considering the possible deployment of American bases, with the placement of missile defense systems. And here Lukashenko emphasized showed that he is on the side of Russia. I think there were two reasons. The first reason is its shared political culture and the General perception of Poland and the West as the enemy. February 23, he recalled during a speech to cadets that Belarus will never be “arabcom of the Commonwealth” (laborer RFI), that is, for him, everything that is not connected with the Soviet Union, a mystery, a historical fog. Second, this underlined the confrontation of their rhetoric against Poland as a satellite of America he wanted to sell Russia. And then he repeatedly stressed that in the case if somewhere some will be missiles in Romania, Poland and especially in Ukraine, Belarus, of course, there is nothing left, how to act together with Russia. He said that on the territory of Belarus suddenly will be Russian missiles, but it was implied. That’s such a broad gesture he wanted to show that he remains a staunch ally of Russia. Of course, the fact that the Polish side received such a slap in the face, it is the fault primarily of Poland. Poland should as soon as possible to revise its strategy towards Belarus, otherwise there are still the same slap in the face”.

Lukashenka recalled about France: relatively speaking, not teach us how to live, look at yourself — it’s about the “yellow jackets”, “once touched not even the fundamental pillars of the state, and the power of the same Makron, whose resignation demanded by tear gas, water cannons in the winter, not batons, and rubber bullets. Here you have democracy”.

According to Lukashenka, “the talk” will be the basis for the preparation of the annual message of the President to the people and Parliament.
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