Marius Laurinavičius

The analyst commented on the statement about “dialogue” with the official Minsk.

The statement of the President of Lithuania of Gitanas Nausea about the desire of the dialogue with Belarus is radically different from what had heard from his predecessor Dalia Grybauskaite. The expert of the Vilnius Institute of policy analysis Marius laurinavičius sure that the space for manoeuvre in relations with Belarus at the Lithuanian leadership is extremely limited.

He stated this in an interview

“Improving political relations with the party, which is allied with warring us States is very difficult,” – he said and stressed that so far no grounds to speak about the policy of the Lithuanian leadership towards Belarus is not, since one does not normally explained to, what it is.

“The question is, what is the content of the dialogue. Special services of Lithuania in each report, put in fact equate threats from Russia and Belarus. The lack of independence of Belarus as a player – it’s not just my opinion, it is the evaluation of the Lithuanian security structures. So how can we develop a dialogue, if that’s a threat?”, he Laurinavicius.

– Have we figured out whether the President Nausea its policy and statements in respect of Belarus, wishing to become her friend? It is obvious that in Lithuania, many will not agree and not agree.

First and foremost, I would disagree with the fact that he somehow demonstrated that he wants to be “friend”. The only thing we can tell from his public statements, his advisors, political analysts, who were with him in meetings is that he wants dialogue. This is not equal to being a friend of Belarus and Lukashenko. They have different explanations of such a dialogue, but not everyone is convinced. And then the questions arise: a dialogue in connection with what? The main problem in Lithuania is not in the policy, and that no one knows what it will be.

The dialogue is a change of policy (since Dalia Grybauskaite held the line to maintain a dialogue), but the content is not explained. Therefore, there are interpretations.

Secondly, there are different kind of fears, to the point that the conservatives said about the threat to national security. But there is no clarity whether there is a threat, or really be friends, as you say, was not. We have no reason to say so.

– One gets the feeling that the game is. To the end, as you say, nothing is clear…

The main mistake is that whatever they may be, changes in the sphere of relations with Belarus started them without proper training. There was no discussion with policy makers within the country, the forecast of possible consequences – this is the first mistake of the new President of Lithuania in foreign policy. But we have no reason to talk about the policy, since one does not normally explained to, what it is.

– Why is it that no one clearly says?

– It is highly likely that they do not know, so we can only speculate. One possible explanation is that the changed geopolitical situation in the region, allegedly the US and the EU began to take a different view in relation to Belarus. And supposedly Lithuania in such a situation, not to stay on the sidelines, have to respond to it tightly connects to the dialogue. If it’s one of the reasons, it is unclear what the dialogue should be and what is the final goal in relations with Belarus in General.

The situation suggests the next cycle in the relations with Belarus: from a complete lack of dialogue to its resumption. The last time the dialogue was interrupted after the brutal crackdown in 2010. Why am I repeating this?

Is explained in different ways. One of them is the claim that the policy Grybauskaite on nepodrzani political dialogue have not yielded results, so to achieve these results, you need to find other ways.

– AES can be considered one of such results?

– It is one of the arguments supporters of dialogue: no dialogue and a strict policy has led to the fact that the plant is built, will work, and what are we that we not engage in dialogue? So, say his supporters, we need this dialogue at least in the sense of security.

And these cycles are obvious. Let us remember that Grybauskaite beginning of his presidency – marked the red carpet. Red carpet Nausea before Lukashenko is not yet posted, it will now be harder to do. But after this “carpet”, a year policy Grybauskaite has changed.

I guess one of the reasons for the change in policy towards Belarus could be the inexperience of the President in foreign policy. Again, this is all speculative, but also in the Lithuania is quite possible lobbying of interest groups that are interested for various reasons in the improvement of relations with Belarus in connection with their business interests.

And this is supposedly a favorable geopolitical situation, although there is nothing new here, still in this plan cyclically. Assumptions the US and the EU that Belarus is something that can change, appear for the third time, but nothing has changed.

So interest groups lobby. At least I know that the MFA really is the pressure from lobbyists. At least it was before. Perhaps it spread to the presidential administration. And the main point, of course, is the port of Klaipeda.

Fact is, we are talking about big business?

Is the well – known businessmen from the port of klaipėda. One cannot deny that Lithuania is interested in the preservation of the Belarusian cargo in klaipėda port and in economic cooperation with Belarus. I would say it is a big threat, but the other side says that the interest is in maintaining these relationships. Arguments to the objections that Lithuania is not interested in this, also. Therefore, there is a search of balance between economic interest and security, geopolitical interest.

But there is another point. I repeat that all this can only be assumed. The President of the business environment, though not a businessman. And those who have access to it, it is easier to convey the idea that Belarus is possible and to concede, as Lithuania is interested in Belarusian goods.

Few people in Lithuania consider Belarus as a dependent of the player. We can’t imagine her that way. In fact it is the state, at least under the influence of Russia. And we need to keep in mind during any of our projects. The majority in Lithuania sees Belarus as an independent player who we must help to preserve this independence. Theoretically, it would be in the interests of Lithuania, if it were possible. But this is impossible, because at the moment Belarus is too heavily dependent on Russia, to make decisions for themselves.

– If Lithuania it is now about the dialogue, in Belarus itself, as can be seen talking about something else, about the integration and other things, not related to dialogue.

For me, one of the arguments in favor of what I’m talking about is the recent statement by Lukashenko, and the Minister of defense of Belarus, who said Belarus will host the border with Lithuania additional forces in connection with arrived in Lithuania with tanks “Abrams”.

If we think that this decision of Lukashenka, let us recall that any move of NATO say Putin and the Russian General staff. In fact, Lukashenko is now message broadcasts of the Russian General staff that the tanks could pose a threat, which in itself is ridiculous – they are no threat I can imagine. But still, I think you need to show willingness to dialogue and the resumption of relations, while on the other hand we are talking about deployment at the border additional forces.

– In the current situation, it seems difficult to expect dramatic change in the relationship. There is a problem nuclear power plants, when Belarus shows no desire to reckon with the requirements of Lithuania. On the other hand, if the dialogue will begin, that in fact from the reports of the state security Department of Lithuania about threats to the national security of Belarus , most likely, will not disappear. It is difficult to tie all these things together in terms of declarations about readiness for dialogue…

– From my point of view, the dialogue itself is not evil, and they can not be in principle. The question is, what is the content of this dialogue. And when we start to think about him, then rested in the things that you’re talking about. Special services of Lithuania in each report, put in fact equate threats from Russia and Belarus. The lack of independence of Belarus as a player – it’s not just my opinion, it is the evaluation of the Lithuanian security structures. So how can we develop a dialogue, if it is a threat?

If we are talking about a business relationship (I admit that a large part of budget revenues, GDP is linked to transit through our port from Belarus), there is no historical reason to say that bad political relations impact on business. Just the opposite. Whatever the relationship in economic terms to pay for it was not necessary. And we have no reason to believe that without better relations and dialogue will stop the transit. While Belarus is more profitable to export goods through the port of Klaipeda – she’s going to do. Lukashenko, whoever he was in politics, very pragmatic leader. And he believes elementary where it is cheaper. But in the context of talking about the dialogue is the question: what is its content in terms of business relations? In the case of increasing the number of goods we are ready to increase the influence of Belarus in the Klaipeda port? This is an extremely important question to which there was no public answer.

– In the Lithuanian media, it is possible to meet thought about the growing influence of Russia in the ranks of the political parties of the coalition. So, in your opinion?

What we call growth? The fact that the Electoral action of poles in Lithuania – the Union of Christian families (APL-SCV) was in a coalition may be a sign that the threat from Russia look condescending. There is a case with MP Irina Pink (member of the “Russian Alliance, which is accused of links with Russian diplomats, is a faction of the ruling, went to the election with IAPL-CXC – ed.) – and this is not the only case when I have questions even about the loyalty of Lithuania members of the party. That IAPL-skhs allowed to be in the ruling coalition, and the President in the allocation of Ministerial portfolios agreed to IAPL-skhs was given two strategic ministries can be a symptom of a more lenient attitude to the Russian threat.

But is it enough to have grounds for claims about the growth of Russian influence? There is no reason. The current coalition is causing me issues in connection with relations with Russia since its creation, but the reason to talk about your sudden change in this plan. If we talk about the President’s position on Russia, it was clearly formulated during his speech at the UN. And we certainly can’t say that politics and installation of the President in relation to Russia in any way change compared to those that were in Grybauskaite. While it had no grounds.

– Why Lithuania can’t join forces in the region in question of the Belarusian NPP?

– Because Europe is dominated by so-called pragmatic view, I call it “money does not smell”. It is possible to formulate it in another way: no matter from whom to buy, it is imperative that it is cheaper. And then it’s not important, neither the security requirements nor the other. What to say about the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets, if there is a “Nord stream – 2”?

The Americans recently pulled back from this issue…

– Americans are not that detached. They are in this matter not much I can do, I would say that it is a question of the EU. The other point is that any activity is not political, and in terms of rhetoric, the allegations against the NPP would be contrary to their current policy of rapprochement with Belarus. So naturally, they avoid such rhetoric.

– When the end in Lithuania the period of the formation of foreign policy?

– I think at least a year will be needed in order to draw conclusions. Again, if you recall the history, politics Grybauskaite clearly beginning to change in a year. It is important to understand that each leader may have their own ideas, but some of the things in connection with the national interests of the state, is simply difficult to change. And when we are in fact in a situation of war with Russia, which is a threat to us, and Belarus directly depends on it, to change something is very difficult, even with any ideas. I would say that I see these threats and talk about them, but I do not see this (the attempt of dialogue – ed.) tragedy. If there will be attempts to change something, then change will not allow Lukashenko himself. Secondly, we understand the President understands that the room for maneuver in this situation is very limited. And not because we are hostile towards Belarus. We are in two different camps and speak about the improvement of political relations difficult, despite the paradoxical nature regardless of the political agenda, intensive economic relations. Improving political relations with the party, which is allied with warring us States is very difficult. I think after some time we will return to the previous position.

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