EU interested in Belarusians’ new mobilization model


Anaïs Marin is a French researcher of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. She is studying the programmes of European Union’s cooperation with its Eastern neighbours and is known for her research on Belarus. Anaïs Marin published her article “Time for the EU to speak with one voice to Belarus” in June 2011. Euroradio interviewed Anaïs Marin during her visit to Belarus at the beginning of July.

Euroradio: How big is Belarus’ change to restore relations with the European Union and which of the sides is more interested in it?

Anaïs Marin: "It is difficult to say who is more interested in it. Lukashenka may come to the European Union’s terms if the economic situation deteriorates quickly…

Poland is presiding in the Council of the European Union and Lithuania – in the OSCE, and they bear great responsibility. There is a great chance of restoring the relations within the next 6 months. The majority of the Old European states would like Russia “to deal” with Belarus. That is why they may hinder the process of restoration of the relations. France, the Netherlands and Great Britain are not accustomed to accepting Belarus as a sovereign state. It is more convenient for them to treat the whole region as the former Soviet Union.

The French often perceive the USSR as the continuation of the Russian Empire. It is worth mentioning that the majority of experts of the French Foreign Office in your region are the third generation of descendants of “white émigrés” of 1917.

Euroradio: The so-called silent actions have become the biggest anti-governmental manifestations since the last election. Have they attracted the attention of European mass media and experts?

Anaïs Marin: "European mass media know very little about Belarus and are not interested in it much. They woke up on June 29 and were naïve enough to think that an Arab-like revolution was being prepared. Of course, the actions interest the experts who are watching the situation in Belarus. I am using the adjective I have heard many times in Minsk this week: “It is interesting to know what is going on here!” Everyone is interested to know how it is going to end".

Euroradio: What is ordinary Europeans’ attitude to these protest actions?

Anaïs Marin: "They think that it is interesting because the Belarusians have invented a new model of mobilization. It is not just social networks as everyone is aware of the global phenomenon. The so-called silent revolutions, outings and clapping hands – I have never heard about it before and it will remain in history books regardless of the outcome”.