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Ukrainian expert — Belarusian opposition: come at will with a sack of potatoes

Illustration photo
Illustration photo

In a conversation with Evroradio's editor Dmitry Lukashuk, a Ukrainian expert of the Center for Counteraction to Russian Aggression Dmitry Hromakov carelessly suggested that Svetlana Tikhanovska bring Haimars to Ukraine.

Hromakov wanted to say: let's at least some joint projects of Belarusians and Ukrainians. Belarusian Twitter heard: and let your Tikhonovskaya not come without Haimars.

We talked to Dmitry Gromakov about what Ukraine is expecting from the Belarusian opposition, what "Haimars" Latushko brought, and why Kiev wants to see Belarusian volunteers in the backbone of the future army of Belarus.

"A patchwork quilt of evidence is his Haimars."

Пресс-конференция в Укринформ
Пресс-конференция в Укринформ. Фото: НАУ-медиа

— More than a month ago, the Ukrainian expert community and a representative of the Council met with the Belarusian opposition in Warsaw. Has there been a development of this meeting?

— Not yet. But there are many common topics for cooperation. And we are ready to talk about it. But so far, contacts end with verbal support. Like, "we'll be fine, if you win. The Ukrainian side does not take it seriously.

But if there is a concrete topic, you can go to Ukraine with it. Yes though you can come with a sack of potatoes, not "Hymars," and give that sack to a particular orphanage. That would be dialogue.

A dialogue not about words. A dialogue about what you are doing to win Ukraine beyond what you sympathize with from Warsaw and Prague. Sympathy is good, but let's find something to do together.

This is the second time we've met with [Aleksandr] Azarov, and he says, "Everything is coded and closed. Well, let's figure something out so that you can open something up and we can start doing something together.

I understand: secret people carry out secret plans. Okay. But even this activity must have some public product. Of course, it is impossible to show the people involved in carrying out these activities, but a form of communication must be found. Nevertheless, this activity is already in its third year.

After all, the most important thing in a joint activity is that through it we learn about each other. Let's find out who has what motives and who is striving for what. So far there is no ground for dialogue. While we only discuss how not to begin to hate one another.

But we cannot begin to hate each other in different ways: we can just shut up and forget about each other.

That's what's so special about [Pavel] Latushka? He got the topic right [Latushka gave Ukraine evidence of Ukrainian children being taken to Belarus]. Because it's a common story.

Dmitry Gromakov
Dmitry Gromakov. Photo from his Facebook page

— Does this mean that Ukraine noticed Latushka's move?

— Well, of course I noticed. If we have the resource to develop the story regionally, why give it up? We certainly won't get there now. We don't have that close a diplomatic relationship. If you have those capabilities, of course we want to cooperate.

It's the same with the regiment: they are fighting with us. The question for the rest [of the Belarusian politicians]: what are you doing?

"Do you want to govern us? "No, we want to work with you."

— In our last interview you said that Belarusian volunteers in Ukraine are not "our" people, they are "your" people. Does Ukraine see volunteers as the backbone of a potential new Belarusian army?

— Yes.

The question of replacing the personnel of the Belarusian army is interesting. Who will form the officer staff of your army after victory of the revolution? Will the Belarusian army remain the successor of the Soviet one, or will it have hardened cadres who have been through combat operations, integrated and able to work within the big international system? Will the Belarusians be able to retain this cadre potential and will they appreciate it?

It is beneficial, including for our security. These are the people who fought with us, who know what they fought for. We will certainly never be enemies to them, even with all the domestic political history.

— Dmitry, do you personally have something in common with Belarus, or it's a completely different story?

— It's a different story, but I've been dealing with this subject for a long time, so it becomes close and understandable. And I understand that this history is important. It's important for understanding the future, for understanding how and with whom to build that future.

When everyone begins to accuse us, saying that Ukraine has no policy towards Belarus and the Belarusians, I wonder: are the Belarusians ready to accept our policy towards them?

After the meeting in Warsaw, many [Belarusian politicians] said: why are you coming to us? Do you want to lead us? No, we want to work with you. And to understand what to expect from you tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

What to expect from [Alexander] Lukashenko is unclear, what's in his head is unclear. And you are so dependent on him that you start reproducing his models of management and behavior. And we understand that changing one Lukashenko for another is not our way. We need more. We need a clear and precise system. So that we understand on what principles it works, how the next people will be chosen.

We do not want to get one more Lukashenko, I think, neither do the people of Belarus.

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