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Bringing Lukashenko to justice will improve security in Europe

Pavel Latushka participated in the “Faces of the New Europe” discussion panel at the 10th International European Conference in Gdansk. The event took place at the European Solidarity Centre, a location imbued with the history of European transformation.

“There is a well-known expression, ‘elephant in the room,’” Latushka noted during the discussion. “Well, this elephant isn’t going anywhere if we ignore it. It will destroy everything and everyone around it. This elephant is Russia. And it’s already here, in our European home. We might be scared, all of Europe might be, but there’s another saying: “Eat an elephant one bite at a time”. The Lukashenko regime in Belarus, Russia’s closest ally, is exactly the bite we need to take if we want to get rid of the elephant for good. And it’s a bite that Europe can definitely chew.”

The discussion panel included Basil Kerski, director of the European Solidarity Center in Gdansk; David Gregosz, a political scientist and director of the Polish office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation; Mykola Kniazhitsky, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament and co-chair of the parliamentary group on relations with Poland; and Iwona Reichardt, deputy editor-in-chief of "New Eastern Europe" magazine.

While participating in the discussion panel, Pavel Latushka noted: “If democracy had won in Belarus in 2020, then there might not have been a war. The lack of a clear strategy towards Belarus, both in 2020 and today, is a crucial issue that will determine the future of Belarus and Belarusians in the European Union. Solidarity is incredibly important to us, and it is deeply meaningful that we are discussing this in Gdansk, the birthplace of the Solidarity movement.

At the same time, we know that the future of Belarus ultimately depends on us, Belarusians. Our priority right now is preventing a new Berlin Wall from dividing Belarus and Europe. We understand the importance of national security for all EU members, and we ask our European partners to keep the doors open for Belarusians – making it easier to obtain visas, including digital visas. This would demonstrate Europe’s commitment to Belarusians, as well as its effectiveness in supporting those who still believe in democracy. I’m talking about the matter of the Lukashenko regime’s responsibility.

On my personal channel, I recently conducted a poll asking Belarusians which of our coalition's working priorities they consider to be most important. Seventy-five percent of Belarusians who responded said that holding the Lukashenko regime and its collaborators accountable for their crimes is paramount.

It is also important to talk about formally recognizing the institutions that are building democratic power. Belarusians today are fighting for democracy, which means they are fighting for their future in Europe. They have faced horrific repression and torture in their own country. It is crucial to understand this and to respond with a clear action plan that supports their struggle.”

The main takeaway from the Polish and Ukrainian participants in the discussion was the importance of “unconditional support for Ukraine, which is fighting for its territorial integrity against the aggressor, and democratic Belarus, whose people are fighting and also suffering from violence and repression.”

During his visit to Gdansk, Latushka also had a brief meeting with the city’s mayor, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz. Mayor Dulkiewicz invited Latushka to a more in-depth meeting to discuss the concerns of Belarusians living in Gdansk. They agreed to compile a list of questions in advance to ensure a productive meeting. Latushka also met with Jacek Karnowski, a member of the Polish parliament’s group on cooperation with democratic Belarus, and they agreed to a follow-up meeting in Warsaw with other members of the group.



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