Uladzimir Matskevich: Belarus-Ukraine relations need to be re-established

Aliaksei Yurych, EuroBelarus Information Service

“Case of Zhadan” demonstrated that Belarus does not actually have a clear policy — neither domestic nor foreign.

The scandal with the detention, deportation and cancellation of the ban on the entry of Ukrainian poet Serhiy Zhadan revealed a number of problems in the Belarusan-Ukrainian relations.

EuroBelarus Information Service invited Uladzimir Matskevich, philosopher and methodologist to discuss the “Zhadan case”.

— What issues were discovered by this scandal?

— It has clearly showed how inconsistent the actions of the presidential power vertical are. In fact, Belarus does not have a clearly formulated doctrine — neither for domestic for foreign policy.

But it cannot go on forever. Serhiy Zhadan, one of the most famous Ukrainian writers and poets, got into bureaucratic troubles in Minsk. It happened because the officials do not understand what country we live in, what the foreign policy of Belarus is. Therefore, one person can order to do one thing, and another superior officer requires the official to do another.

The whole “Zhadan case” simply requires the state to cease stating directly opposite things.

In addition, it is necessary to revise and possibly denounce a number of Belarusan-Russian treaties and agreements, as the presence of a person who may be persona non-grata in Russia is not only possible in Belarus, but also desirable. Belarus and Russia have very different interests. Therefore, we need clarity to make any official understands the current situation, internal and foreign policy of the country.

— What are the bilateral relations between Ukraine and Belarus today?

— Today there are a lot of misunderstandings between the Belarusan and Ukrainian leaders; the process of coordinating views, normalizing relations at the highest level is, in fact, achievable, but it requires certain time and effort.

The lower levels of political life between countries are different. Ukraine has certain distrust towards the Belarusans: our citizens take part in war on both sides. The Ukrainian side cannot know for sure who is entering Ukraine from the Belarusan side.

In particular, academic relations with the Ukrainian colleagues are already suffering from the situation.

We can understand the forced nature of the actions the Ukrainian authorities take, but the policy of Belarus is determined by chaos and mess. Ukraine has a lot of chaos and disorder as well, but the inconsistency of actions there has a completely different nature, licentiousness of officials and corruption in particular.

— Moreover, Ukraine is gradually losing interest in Minsk as a platform for negotiation...

— Minsk can only supply with space, a place for negotiations. But the content of the talks and their results do not depend the Belarusan side. Why blame the incompetence of the Russian side or insufficient activity of the Ukrainian side on Belarus?

— Let's summarize: how do you see the Belarusan-Ukrainian relations in the future?

— Today Belarus-Ukraine relations need to be re-established.

On the one hand, Belarus is now awaiting aggressive actions from the Kremlin; we can find ourselves exactly in the same position as Ukraine did. After being a subject to the aggression from Russia, Ukraine has received virtually no support from Belarus: neither diplomatic nor political, except social and civic solidarity. If Belarus is subjected to an expansionist or military pressure from Russia, it may turn out that Ukraine will be unable to give us any support.

I think that right now that Belarus and Ukraine have common problems and common interests, it would be the correct choice to follow a common foreign policy line. But it is very difficult because of the different regimes established in Ukraine and Belarus.