Andrei Sannikov: Lukashenka is Kremlin’s puppet
12:32, — Politics
Putin will use the Belarusian dictator to serve his interests.
A former deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, former candidate for president, leader of the European Belarus civic campaign Andrei Sannikov answers ZN.UA’s questions.
- In your opinion, how Moscow’s actions in the Crimea go in line with the Budapest memorandum? How should the signatories, who guaranteed Ukraine’s security, react?
- In the Crimea there the Kremlin’s armed intervention. This directly violates the Budapest memorandum, as well as Ukraine and Russia’s ‘great deal’. The latter directly says that the parties “respect each other’s territorial integrity and acknowledge the inviolability of borders between them”.
In its demands addressed to the international community on the protections of Ukraine’s territorial integrity Kyiv should always refer to the Budapest memorandum and demand that all the participants follow their obligations. Even more so that in regards to Ukraine the obligations are of all the permanent Security Council members: France and China did it unilaterally. But the main thing is not to allow for the illegal referendum in the Crimea to happen. For that For that the OSCE and Council of Europe should be promptly involved.
- The events in the Crimea are often compared with the situation with the South Osetia and Abkhazia. Lukashenka, by the way, managed to abstain from directly supporting Russia in its August 2008 war on Georgia. But will he keep neutrality during the Kremlin’s aggression in the Crimea too?
- The situation in the Crimea is actually dangerously explosive. But the Kremlin should understand (or one should make them understand), what damage will be done to Russia’s interest in case the aggression continues. Moscow is obviously testing the West’s ability to react to such situations.
As to Lukashenka’s attitude to the conflict in Georgia, it is high time to stop considering him any kind of an actor in international relations. He is a dictator and he protects his regime. No other considerations matter to him: neither Belarus’ national interests, nor the interests of other states. Lukashenka’s non-recognition of two Russian protectorates in Georgia has nothing to do with supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity. Had he recognized the independence of South Osetia and Abkhazia, he would have immediately levelled down his status in the relations with the Kremlin, having turned into a head of one of the regions.
As to the Crimea he will behave as usual: he will ask money for this or that position. That is why I would not advise Ukraine’s new authorities to bargain with him.
- Lukashenka once spoke ill of Yanukovych and Ukrainian authorities. But unlike Medvedev, who called these authorities spineless, today Lukashenka is silent…
- Lukashenka in this case is the Kremlin’s puppet, and whether he speaks or not, it does not matter. The Kremlin is still trying to use these “spineless authorities” for stirring up the conflict, and Lukashenka will sing alone on that like in 2004 he followed Putin to congratulate Yanukovych on victory.
Both Putin and Lukashenka understand: Maidan’s victory in Ukraine has dealt a serious blow to their regimes, based on theft, corruption, repressions and strangling freedom. That is why they will protect not Yanukovych, but their own regimes. The will be protecting those aggressively. That is why Ukraine desperately needs international solidarity and support today. And not at the level of declarations.
- What is the Maidan for Belarusians? What consequences will there be for them in case Ukraine’s new authorities fail?
- The Maidan is an example of our common fight for freedom and democracy in the European region of the former USSR. Ukrainians are real heroes of this fight in the eyes of Belarusians. We admire them and weep for the innocent victims together with them.
We really hope that the new authorities will not betray us like Yushchenko did after the Orange Revolution. Hundreds of Belarusian were then in the Maidan, fighting together with Ukrainians for Ukraine’s freedom like today. But Viktor Yushchenko and Timoshenko’s government, having come to power, immediately started lobbying for Lukashenka’s interests in Europe and the USA. Not the interests of Belarusian people, but the interests of the dictator. It is a case in point that Lukashenka still calls him a best friend.