Andrey Kazakievich: Minsk will try to act out the scenario of 2008 to establish relations with the EU
Belarus is waiting for "concrete steps" from the West. Official Minsk will not change its position on the question of "releasing political prisoners." Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko declared it in Minsk on Thursday taking a report from the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Siergey Martynov.
We are waiting for concrete
steps from the West, from the European Union. The ball is o their side. I am
firmly convinced in it. So I'm not going to wait for this "playing old
instruments, reading the old notes again" - said Lukashenko.
And this is despite the fact that European politicians are all the time talking
about the fact that they have clearly explained the official Minsk what actions
they have been waiting from it. And, after all, Belarus has the ball on its
side. The political scientist Andrey Kazakievich explained the reporter of www.Euramost.org for how long would the parties pass each other this verbal “ball”.
- Does a new period of relations between Belarus and the European Union start?
Is it the period of verbal games?
- The fact is that these relations are at an impasse. I would not say at all,
that anybody in particular has advantage now. This impasse means that the
Belarusian authorities are convinced that they have already done quite a lot
from their side and now they are waiting for a response from the opposite side.
But the Europeans hold the same position. Obviously, this doesn’t bring us to a
certain stage of relations when we could start some serious negotiations or to
conduct meaningful dialogue. Therefore, I would regard such statements as “testing
the waters” for a possible start of a dialogue, a start in the direction of
progress in bilateral relations.
- What can the Belarusian side call "they have done enough"? The fact
that Sannikov was released?
- Yes. Of course, they mean the fact that they released the most important
political prisoners. As we know, it was Europe’s demand, both formally and
informally. Ad this release of prisoners Belarusian authorities regard as a
step in the right direction which Europe wants. And, accordingly, they expect
some reciprocal steps from the European Union. Although, the requirements of
Europe towards Belarus are not limited just to political prisoners.
After all, the problems in the relationship began after December 19, 2010. Ad
these problems were caused by repressions of opposition leaders, repression of people
who have participated in rallies and so on. Today, this question is practically
removed. Most of those convicted people were released, there are almost no
repressions in this segment. Apparently, Belarusian authorities proceed from
this point of view.
- And what is the possible reaction of Europe? Maybe they would think it over
and decide that the ball is really on their side, that they somehow failed to
notice it, and so they would make steps towards the regime?
- I think that they would wait for parliamentary elections. And they would take
any serious decisions only in the case if the election campaign would be held
more or less peacefully.
- No matter how peaceful it would be, it is unlikely that this “peace” would
meet OSCE standards. We can predict the results of these elections even today. The
same way we can predict the fact that opposition will have no chance. Moreover,
is not that well with repressions - just look at what is happening to the members
of “Malady Front”...
- Simply, everyone understands that it is impossible to expect that the
Belarusian regime will completely abandon the repressive approach. The
deterioration in 2010 and 2011 was caused rather by the fact that Belarusian
authorities haven’t agreed to compromise even I some symbolic cases. But if
they make some symbolic concessions during the election campaign, a significant
number of European officials will assume that this is enough. They will consider
it a kind of a sign of a certain progress, or the beginning of this progress
from the European side. It will not be a "fast recovery" progress,
when they propose to abolish all sanctions and include Belarus in some programs
and so on. But, enough progress to start talking about some specific aspects. The
same way as it was after the parliamentary elections in 2008. Those elections
were fairly calm, although there were some repressive moments. But this made
the warming of relations, end to isolation and the dialogue possible. That old
script may be acted out again.