The community of young diplomats of Warsaw University held a meeting “Who are Belarusians?” at which they made an attempt to define the historic place and roots of the Belarusian nation. Aliaksei Zelyanko, press secretary of the Belarusian Embassy to Poland. was an invited guest at the meeting.
It is noteworthy that Mr Zelyanko was repeatedly noticed filming participants at solidarity actions and events in Warsaw. Once Belsat’s ENG crew tried to interview him: after using broken Polish the press secretary said he happened round to the action.
Viva Belarus, white-red-white and the language issue
When asked about smashing hit Viva Belarus Mr Zelyanko stated he had never watched the film. But he was not slow to add that it is him who was the author of the letter bomb signed by Ambassador Viktar Haysionak. “None of the film’s episodes has anything in common with the reality but does prove its writer’s sick imagination,” the letter says.
According to the representative of the Embassy, the white-red-white flag is not forbidden in Belarus: it is freely used by amateurs of history, he said. Nevertheless, “Belarusians do not like white-red-white flags,” Zelyanko said.
Most questions set touched the issue of the Belarusian language. He understands Belarusian but his level is not good enough to speak the language, Mr Zelyanko pointed out. “Sometimes I hear people speak Belarusian in the street, and nobody cares. Speaking Belarusian is normal although only 3 per cent of people in the country use it permanently,” he said.
In his opinion, citizens are not discriminated in case they receive a response in Russian after addressing an official body in Belarusian. “People come to officials to solve their problems, not to take pride in speaking the language,” Mr Zelyanko stated.
However, “when a Belarusian speaker gets an official reply in Russian – in oral or written form – it is a direct violation of law,” lawyer Harry Pahaniayla comments the words of the press secretary. According to Belarusian law, officials are obliged to know two official languages.