The revival of a dialogue between Minsk and Brussels is possible: Belarus craves for lifting visa sanctions whereas the bloc calls on the Belarusian authorities to release the political prisoners. It is to be recalled that the EU delegation led by Justas Paleckis, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Belarus, arrived in Minsk on March 18.
According to Aliaksandr Milinkevich, leader of movement For Freedom, Paleckis’ visit to Minsk might be determined by the EU’s need to get an uncritical appreciation of the current situation in Belarus. At the same time, the authorities do not show any signs of readiness to free any of the political prisoners. However, lately the scale of repressive measures has been decreasing.
Siarhei Navumchyk, Vice President of the Belarusian National Republic (BNR), the Belarusian government in exile, said that Mr Paleckis was among Lithuanian deputies who took a stand for the country’s independence in the parliament in 1991. Then Belarusian oppositionists (members of the Belarusian People’s Front) headed for Lithuania to support their colleagues and associates. “Nowadays Belarusian democracy needs both Luthuanian and European support. The problem is that the EU does not possess any strategy or concept towards Belarus. The policy is spontaneous; it depends on Lukashenka’s acts. It is him who enforces the initiative,” Mr Navumchyk stressed.
It is not the first time when Brussels has made an attempt to break the ice but the political prisoners are still behind the bars. Siarhei Navumchyk refuted the idea of Lukashenka’s being the only protector of the sovereignty: “As soon as Lukashenka gets [a guarantee for] Monomakh’s Cap in Moscow he will immediately surrender Belarus . Yet I have known him since 1990. All the steps he has already made, i.e. devastating Belarusian culture and language, handing core enterprises over to Russia, his military policy, etc are aimed at Belarus’ delivery to Russia”.
According to Mr Navumchyk, if Europe sells itself the idea of a possible dialogue with the Belarusian leader it will repeat the mistake of 2010.