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On the importance of the EU strategy for Belarus

Pavel Latushka, Deputy Head of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus and Head of the National Anti-Crisis Management, held a meeting with young diplomats of the foreign ministries of the European Union member states. The meeting was attended by representatives of more than 20 foreign ministries: Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Portugal, Croatia and other EU member states. The meeting was held in the Free Belarus Museum.

Pavel Latushka informed the diplomats about the internal situation in Belarus, and the repressions carried out by Lukashenka’s regime against the Belarusians.

Pavel Latushka’s presentation abstracts:

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

I am pleased to welcome you to the Free Belarus Museum, the project of the National Anti-Crisis Management, which I am the head of. This is the second time we have organised such a meeting, a year ago I also spoke to your colleagues. It is important for me that I have the opportunity to tell you about the situation in Belarus and to tell you how important it is to win the war for Belarus.

How to win the war for Belarus?

Right now in the center of Europe there is not one, but two imperialist wars going on. Wars unleashed by Russia. The war against free and independent Ukraine. And the war against free and independent Belarus.

In total, in Belarus today there are more than 5000 political prisoners, who are tortured in prisons, more than 60 000 people have been detained for political reasons, about 500 thousand people have been forced to leave Belarus.

The second war was undeclared, quiet and almost invisible against the background of the first. Moreover, the first war could not have happened without the second one in principle. Without the Belarusian bridgehead, obtained by Russia as a result of the hybrid occupation of Belarus, Russia's march on Kiev would in principle be impossible. However, history does not tolerate subjunctive mood.

Therefore, let's talk about how the two wars are connected and what our strategy should be in relation to Belarus. If we want to wrest it from the Russian occupation, and not put a cross on it.

The first thing we must understand is that in both wars, the pro-Russian regime of the Kremlin puppet Lukashenko is on the side of Russia.

Yes, this is a paradox, because the authorities and the army of Ukraine are fighting for Ukraine, and this obvious fact makes it equally obvious to actively help them. At the same time, the illegitimate authorities of Belarus are fighting against Ukraine and Belarus, they are fighting for Russia.

But there are those who fight for Belarus instead of them.

These are the Belarusian democratic forces, The United Transitional Cabinet – our governmental structure in exile, The Office of Belarusian president-elect Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, The National Anti-Crisis Management and other political and civil society organizations. And of course Belarusian volunteer formations in Ukraine.

And just like the authorities and the army of Ukraine, we need pro-active allies with a strategy. I would even say that without such allies, our chances of saving Belarus tend to zero.

Yes, there are no military operations on our territory now, and therefore we are not asking for Himars, Leopards or F-16 fighters.

The capture of Belarus by Russia is carried out differently. This is a hybrid war, а hybrid occupation. On which Russia spends huge resources.

Russia spends billions to keep Lukashenko's puppet regime in power, to ensure its mass repressions, to implement the integration programs of the so-called Union State - Russia's neo-Soviet project to absorb Belarus. On the placement of nuclear weapons and endless military exercises on our territory. It also spends huge resources on the eradication of national consciousness and the ideological reflashing of Belarusians in the spirit of rashism and the «Russian world». It is anti-Belarusian and anti-European reflashing. So the second thing we need to understand if we want to save Belarus is to increase the potential of nationally oriented, pro-European Belarusian democratic forces in the fight against Russia and pro-Russian forces in Belarus at least several times.

Unfortunately, today Russia is the only country that has a strategy for Belarus.

The strategy of the absorption of Belarus within the framework of the project of the Union State and our dissolution in the «Russian world». And the conductor of this strategy, the obedient and faithful instrument of its implementation in Belarus is the puppet regime of Lukashenko.

This is the third thing to understand. Lukashenko is not the one with whom you need to look for points of contact, not the one who wants or will oppose Russia in its silent war for Belarus. Not the one who cares about her national interests.

He proved it by becoming an accomplice in the war against Ukraine in 2022 and continues to prove it today by participating in Russia's war crimes, in the deportation of Ukrainian children from the occupied territories, by placing Russian nuclear weapons and mercenaries of PMC Wagner in Belarus. And at the same time methodically destroying everything Belarusian.

So how can anyone still be so blind and naive to think that it is possible to agree on something with Lukashenko? That «it is not necessary to put too much pressure on him, so as not to push Belarus into the arms of Russia even more»? Well, this is far from a new approach. This card was skillfully played after every political crisis in Belarus.

We can see what this led to, what all the attempts to negotiate with Lukashenko led to. We see Belarus on the verge of complete loss of sovereignty and independence.

And to be honest, they are de facto already largely lost. And it is no longer about their protection — it should be about their restoration. Because all this time, playing the «multi-vector» card, the «balancing between Russia and the West» card, the Lukashenko regime did not just fulfill, but over-fulfilled the plans assigned to it in the Kremlin.

And yet — we, Belarusians, still haven't given up.

The «War of the worlds» in Belarus — the war of the «Russian world» against the democratic one — is not over yet. But by conducting it almost alone and with current resources, we, the democratic forces, risk losing it.

Yes, in this war we have allies — but our allies are passive. And unlike our enemy, our allies have no common strategy.

I know that this may sound unpleasant — but today I am speaking before you not as a diplomat, but as a Belarusian politician.

A politician of a country that is being quietly murdered before everyone's eyes and who clearly reports to himself that diplomacy, and especially silence, cannot save it. It's time to look the truth in the eyes and not let them down, despite the fact that we may not like this truth.

After all, if we are talking about a strategy — a strategy for victory in the battle for Belarus — we must base it on objective reality.

And the reality is that the battle for Belarus today is going on on several fronts. And on each of them, the enemy — Russia and its puppet Lukashenko — has a significant advantage.

Therefore, the strategy I am talking about is the strategy of increasing the potential of Belarusian democratic forces in our battle for Belarus with the «Russian world».

Perhaps, this is a geopolitical front where the fate of Belarus will be decided. Will it become a de facto part of Russia, finally dissolving in the Union State — or will it receive a European perspective of development, the prospect of joining the European Union and NATO.

In fact, everything I talked about above boils down to a simple question:

Which Belarus do our partners want to see tomorrow: Russian «Belarussia» or European Belarus?

And if the answer is a European Belarus, a future member of the EU and NATO, then all the tasks I mentioned above should form the basis of our common strategy.

For now we see a completely different Belarus. Belarus, which is a participant in not European, but Russian integration projects: the Union State, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the Eurasian Economic Union and the CIS.

But without Belarus, all the imperial projects of Russia become impossible.

As the continuation of the war against Ukraine becomes impossible too. Because the war against Ukraine is not waged by Russia alone, but by the Union State of Russia and Belarus. In which Belarus is only because the Lukashenko regime exists. While the Union State exists only because Belarus is part of it.

This situation will not change while the Lukashenko regime exists.

Therefore, if we seriously want to change it, then we need to remember that the most powerful sanction that the West can apply to Russia is to abolish the Lukashenko regime in Belarus.

To abolish Lukashenko's regime means to abolish the Union State — and it means to win both wars much faster: the war for Ukraine and the war for Belarus.

Belarus's place is with Europe, not with Russia. And this opinion is shared by all our partners. However, the time of partners must change to the time of pro-active allies. The time of thoughts and deep concerns must be replaced by the time of decisive actions.

Thank you for your attention.

Жыве вольная еўрапейская Беларусь!

І Слава Украіне!


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