Visit of Lithuanian President D. Grybauskaite to Minsk: ambiguous evaluations

On 20 October, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite met with the Belorussian leader A. Lukashenka. Political observers and scientists have different views concerning this visit.

Dalia Grybauskaite (born March 1, 1956) is the current President of the Republic of Lithuania, elected on May 17, 2009.

Some Lithuanian political scientists interpret it as the support to A.Lukashenka. The others say the opposite. Lithuania to take over OSCE chairmanship is for more democratic and transparent elections in Belarus which might change the situation in the country, the attitude of EU toward Belarus, and provide more political, economic and social opportunities. Should this be evaluated as the support to the Belorussian leader?

The Lithuanian President also had meetings with representatives of the opposition saying that today there is a possibility to get rid of the dictatorship in the centre of Europe. However, the opposition is afraid that the regime might simply prevent from democratic elections. In view of this they urge to take all possible actions so as to ensure transparent elections. In response to the question on registration of candidates, A.Lukashenka emphasized that he will do "everything in order to register them". According to him, elections will be organized so as to prevent from any expostulations. Actually, under the A.Lukashenka regime, all elections were not transparent, but, according to him, the elections of 2006 were surely not forged, since he required to reduce the number of votes in his favor in order to present more realistic figures to the society.

According to V.Vileita, a representative of the organization "Belarus Watch", the visit of D.Grybauskaite looks like an indirect support of A.Lukashenka an like the involvement into the information war with Russia. The Belorussian political scientist V.Karbalevich is also of the same opinion. He said that working visit of the Lithuanian president demonstrates her involvement into the re-election campaign. According to him, her visit is related to the visit of Venezuelan President H.Chavez in Belarus, during which the agreement was made concerning oil supply from Venezuela. Therefore both, Ukraine and Lithuania seek Venezuelan oil transit via their territory.

Y.Romanchuk, one of the election candidates, interprets this visit as a victory of A.Lukashenka and the victory of his attitudes toward democracy, but not as an apparent position of Lithuania and the EU. According to him, Russia speaks about violations of human rights, missing journalists, political convicts, whereas Lithuania doesn't raise the above questions. The rhetoric of Y.Romanchuk shows that he is more oriented toward Russia. However, the Belorussian opposition is not unanimous, it doesn't have a clear leader which could become a real competitor to A.Lukashenka; therefore Russia is reluctant to invest to the amorphous opposition. In fact the Kremlin puts pressure on A.Lukashenka. On 10 October the broadcast on Russian TV was surely not shown in Belarus. Then Russian president D.Medvedev said that it is impossible to pursue pre-election campaign by hurling accusations on Russia and asking subsidies at the same time. According to D. Medvedev, A.Lukashenka not only exceeds the limits of diplomatic norms, but also doesn't obey common decency. Belorussian authorities have always been pursuing their ambitions to create the image of an external enemy in the minds of society. Simply earlier the role of the enemy was played by America, Europe and the West in general. Today this role is played by Russia. However, A.Lukashenka himself evaluates relations with Russia more from the economic rather political point of view, and is of the opinion that "if Russia has no will, the others will come, e.g. Lithuania". By the way, the information war between Belarus and Russia is continuing.

Russian political scientist A.Klaskovsky evaluates D.Grybauskaite's visit to Minsk as a desire of the Belorussian authorities to retain the bridge to the West and to further pursue cooperation. In order to achieve this goal, authorities of the country have to ensure transparent and democratic elections. Although the EU doesn't expect a miracle, it wants to at least minimally guarantee (by putting a check mark) the evaluation of elections.

In fact, the visit of D.Grybauskaite as a representative of the EU, and her clear position concerning transparent elections, doesn't imply the support of A.Lukashenka and his regime. This is more the support of the democratic road of the country and human rights. The approaching elections are as if a test-paper for the evaluation of relations between Belarus and European countries, as well as relations between European countries which want to get rid of the dictatorship in Belarus.

There might be various scenarios on possible results of 19 December, but everything will become clear only after elections.

by Liudmila Kazak


Share |

Partners: Social Network