For a very long time Belarus has been considered a sort of competition field between Rzhech Pospolita (Poland) and Russia. This fact has really left its signs in Belorussians mentality and it forces us to think twice and measure all the consequences before making decisions and taking steps.
The problem of the Republic of Belarus further development and finding its way in security system - that is the issue of civil society development. The Belorussian people are in the process of their identity search. And, frankly speaking, starting from the year of 1990 we have reached a real progress in this. But the character of the process itself does not mean getting rapid results. It does not matter who and how estimates the processes which are currently taking place in the Republic of Belarus. The reality is what it is. In order to rightly estimate the processes, which are going on in Belarus today, one have to find non-standard ways of approach to them. So far, unfortunately, everything is being estimated in ?black-and-white? color.
The Belorussian people are trying to find their place in the world not trying to confront either East or West. We are not only with the East or with the West. We are trying to be both with the East and the West. And just exactly based on this principle we are forming and developing our relations with the Russian Federation.
We are familiar with the expression of Mr. Solzhenitsyn, related to the unification of Eastern-Slavic States. We are also familiar with the attitude of some representatives of the so called Right Forces Union of Russian Federation, the essence of which could be summarized, that the Republic of Belarus shall join the Russian Federation on the rights of its 90-s subject. We are very attentively considering a situation both in Russia and in the West. Developing our relations with Russia we are not forgetting about importance of the relations with the West. Furthermore we are not talking here about loss by the Republic of Belarus of its independence and statehood.
We really have actual threats and problems. These are the problems we should talk about and we are doing that: this is illegal immigration, crime, illegal drugs etc. Unfortunately, its getting hard to cooperate with European bodies and institutions because of some well known reasons and their attitude to us. It is difficult to cooperate with them even in relation to the above mentioned problems, because they simply do not want any contacts with us.
My opinion is that one should not create a man-made threat there, where it does not exist. Firstly, I mean the problem of national minorities both in Belarus and in Poland. Statement that this problem exists is absolutely unsound.
In the nearest future the European Union will expand and the number of members in this organization will grow up to 27-30 states. Our concern in relation to that is minimization of consequences of such the expansion. This is closely connected with the issues of economical cooperation, visas receipt and different customs problems.
It would be reasonable to dedicate one of our future events for discussions of these problems. Little time is left when the Republic of Belarus will be having a borderline with European Union. Discussion of possibilities of European Union expansion consequences minimization could have brought a real advantage.
* Vladimir Makei, Head of the Department of the European Cooperation of Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus.