Lithuania-Belarus economic forum which will take place in the middle of September in Vilnius and the all at once coming information about Aleksandr Lukashenko possibly visiting it, can be events which will draw the attention of mass media, politicians and observers not only in Lithuania and Belarus. Obviously, the official Minsk will try to build a bridge to the West again, and this time to a very close West. The reporter of euramost.org asked the international observer Roman Yakovlevsky to comment on the forthcoming events.
- How effective is, in your opinion, such form of Lithuanian-Belarusian relations as the forthcoming forum in Vilnius?
- We are glad about these intentions to the development of cooperation and interrelations in every sphere and form. Especially if comes from the neighboring historically close Lithuania. This is treated in a more logic and natural way, than let it say “hectic romances” of Belarus and Venezuela, Iran and some other countries exotic for Belarusians.
And what concerns the effectiveness of such Lithuanian-Belarusian forums, I suppose, that mostly the answer will come from this forthcoming event in Vilnius. I should remind that in 2005 in Klaipeda the first Lithuanian-Belarusian economic forum took place under the egis of Confederation of industrialists of Lithuania with the help of Association of economic cooperation of Lithuanian Republic and Republic of Belarus.
At that point in time Belarus and Lithuania accepted the declaration of cooperation which stated that trade-economic interrelations of the sides are the essential base of development of long-term and stable interrelations.
This year’s forum will take place in the framework of National exhibition of Republic of Belarus. Its main topic will be trade-economic and investment cooperation between neighboring countries.
- Some initiators and organizers of the forthcoming forum in Vilnius promise that in its meaning it will be highly competitive with the London investment forum which was widely advertised and where came huge amount of businessmen and leaders of industrial structures of the still soviet in actual fact economy of Belarus. Do you agree with such views?
- Note that official propaganda which promised flood of investments for Belarus after the London forum, forgot about the forum and its results very quickly. And many independent economists and ordinary observers called this event a tour of “Soviet period” which didn’t get all these promised and lively important investments. In spite of the loud-spoken claims about economic liberalization which came from the very high levels of ruling power, Belarus is still terra incognita for serious investors.
According to the opinions of professional analysts, the soviet inheritance, which is the base of stability and prosperity of nowadays system, the ruling regime and as a result the nowadays Belarusian national identity, is eaten away and exhausted in all spheres from political till infrastructural. And this became obvious for many guests of the investment forum in London.
By the way, according to some facts, under the order of the head of president’s administration, all the participants of London tour are in a hurry preparing reports about the real results of that forum. They say it won’t be a picnic for some of them.
According to the declared cast of the members of Vilnius forum from the Lithuanian side, there must be more concrete facts in solving problems of two-sided trade-economic cooperation. I mean Lithuanian businessmen and bankers who already work in Belarus. Considering Belarusian participants, because of the situated power system, everybody in Belarus in the end are defined by one person – the head of the state. And one must convince him in fruitfulness of this Forum. And the fact that Prime Minister Sergey Sidorsky will come to exhibition to Vilnius shows that the level of contacts between neighbors rises. This is also very important.
- Yes, but then in virtue of the ruling power system in Belarus, the expected visit of Aleksandr Lukashenko can influence the further development of Lithuanian-Belarusian relations sufficiently. Can it?
- Perhaps, it can. But the information of this visit looks strange and undefined. I think that the party and persons concerned can’t define the form and the initiator of the invitation to the head of the neighboring state. Obviously, participation in Vilnius forum can’t be official working visit of the president of Belarus. The same as Prime Minister’s visit to the exhibition. I shall remind you the words of the president of Lithuania who said that she id ready to meet Aleksandr Lukashenko if he comes to the forthcoming economic forum. So it’s hard to say today how it will look like if Aleksandr Lukashenko comes to Vilnius.
- So you don’t expect any intriguing situation in Belarusian-Lithuanian relations?
- Yes, I do expect it. According to the preliminary information, a scientific conference “Scientific researches of the scientists of Baltic region: advances and perspectives of cooperation” is going to take place on September 16-17 in the frame work of this economic forum. Common reports are supposed to be in the work of the conference. The best cadres and academicians, corresponding members, directors of institutes ruled by the head of National academy of science Mikhail Miasnikovich are working over the developing and strengthening of cooperation. He is also part-time head responsible for the development of nuclear energetic in Belarus. As we know Lithuania is very worried about the plans of constructing Belarusian NPS on the Belarusian-Lithuanian border. So the person of the head of Belarusian academicians M. Miasnikovich must draw special attention of Lithuanian audience. And the future participants of the forthcoming humanitarian section at this scientific conference will discuss such problems as “Ancient acts of social-economic history of the Great Duchy of Lithuania (13th – end of the 15th cent.): researches and publications” (director of Institute of history, academician-secretary A. Kavalenia), “Philosophic heritage of the region of the Great Duchy of Lithuania: the problem of synchronization of Belarusian and Lithuanian research strategies” (director of Institute of philosophy A. Lazarevich), “Republic of Belarus: to the prosperity through stability (social analysis)” (director of institute of philosophy I. Kotliarov). These topics are important and needed. But the problems of such huge Belarusian delegation are in the fact that they are not pioneers with their interesting topics in the Lithuanian scientific field. In Vilnius different scientific conferences take place constantly and Belarusian scientists are almost always present there. That’s why Lithuanian historians got used to discuss historical problems of the Great Duchy of Lithuania, philosophical questions of this history, actual questions of Belarusian social reality with other Belarusian scientists, independent politologists and sociologists, not with those who will come now. The intriguing situation of the conference can be the question if these new opponents will be interesting for the Lithuanian scientists. Many of our participants in spite their posts and positions make the first steps in such new for them topics as history of the GDL or, for example, history of Belarusian philosophy. And some of these new opponents have a reputation of scientists with soviet views of the history and sometimes “SMERSH” thinking. Do you agree that it will be very interesting to hear them on September 17, the 70th anniversary of Red Army entering Western Belarus? Maybe some of Belarusian guests in their reports at the academic conference will repeat the “exploit of scout” which was not long ago made by Vladimir Putin when speaking about his view of history in Gdansk, where he was invited as a guest on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the beginning of World War II. I guess that the discussion of scientists at the forthcoming economic forum in Vilnius will be as interesting as the discussion of businessmen.