Staunton, October 18 – At his press conference yesterday, Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka made so many remarkable statements that it is hard to know where to begin. But perhaps the most significant was that “Smolensk and Bryansk,” two oblasts now within the Russian Federation, are “ours, but Belarus doesn’t need them now.”
While most people will be inclined to dismiss Lukashenka’s remarks as nothing more than the mouthings of someone they have seldom taken seriously, his raising of such issues has the effect of putting on the table ideas that few others are prepared to and that thus are likely to resonate far beyond the room where he issued them.
According to one compilation of his remarks made by a Russian in Khabarovsk and then reposted by Ekho Moskvy (twitter.com/moyasvoboda/status/523340521021136896 and echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/1420860-echo/), the Belarusian leader offered the following “pearls” at his meeting with the press yesterday:
- “In Russia, an anti-constitutional coup has taken place.”
- “Crimea is Ukrainian and must be part of Ukraine.”
- Ukraine should have “fought” to retain Crimea.
- “If it weren’t for Russia, the Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics would long ago have ceased to exist.”
- “Don’t believe that the Ukrainians are fascists. There are degenerates there, but there are also degenerates in Russia.”
- If Mensk were to recognize South Osetia, it would suffer sanctions by the West like those Russia is suffering now but they would be much worse.
- “Medvedev more adequately evaluates the situation in Ukraine than Putin has.”
- “Belarus is not part of Russia.”
- “I am more a Ukrainian than a Belarusian.”
- “Kaliningrad is in Belarus’ zone of responsibility. Soviet leaders wanted to give it to Belarus, and I support this.”