Media: Belarus was part of Eastern Partnership for three hours

The European Radio for Belarus has looked through the pages of the Belarusian media for the past week to find out how Belarus entered and withdrew from the Eastern Partnership program within the same day.

News that the European Union accepted Belarus into the Eastern Partnership program broke in the morning of February 24. This news was printed by all the media. The state-owned newspapers quoted the Russian news agency Ria-Novosti; the non-state media like Nasha Niva quoted the Belapan news agency.

But just three hours later, Nasha Niva denounced the report on its web site as a hoax. The ministers of EU countries only “discussed preparations for approving the Eastern Partnership initiative”.

A hurricane of denouncements waved through the internet. summed up the events of that day with one line: “Some rejoiced, some panicked – but all in vain”.

According to the web-newspaper Belorusskiye Novosti, despite the news was a hoax, “it is obvious that all looks like Belarus is soon to be included into the Eastern Partnership initiative of the European Union”.

The printed versions of the Belarusian media failed to either react or denounce the news about Belarus becoming part of the Eastern Partnership. The web sites of the state-owned media did not rush to denounce the hoax.

The pro-presidential newspaper Sovietskaya Belorussia has not done it even by now. Instead, its political commentator Igar Kolchanka produced a huge article, forecasting that Eastern Europe would soon sink the Western Europe through its inability to pay off the loans.

“The press in Vienna writes that in the coming months the country will face a “monetary Stalingrad”: had only one in ten borrowers from the East not paid loan interest fees, “the collapse of the Austrian financial system” would be imminent”.

What about partnership? It is just a small thing. We are ready to enter, but only keeping our head high.

Meanwhile, Javier Solana’s spokesperson warned that Belarus could join the Eastern Partnership “only after Belarus meets EU conditions: respect for human rights, a dialogue between the opposition and the government and the freedom of press”, Belapan wrote.

Europe’s stance bewildered Belarus MP Henadz Davydzka who said in an interview with BelGazeta:

“Why can’t we demand something from them, while they are demanding? They treat us like cripples whom they need to teach how to hold a fork and a knife, as if we are some greenhorns! We can also point to the deficiencies in their state order and their treatment of people! We can once again remind that if we did not save them from fascism, our cities would have not be ruined and our population would have been 100 million instead of 10 million!” offered a comment by Belarus former deputy foreign minister Andrei Sannikov. The expert reckons that the European Union has no grounds to accept Belarus into the Eastern Partnership.

“Currently, EU overlooks the negative changes: new political prisoners and the dispersal of peaceful actions. Europe keeps saying that “there are positive changes”. I can’t see them”.

Whether Belarus is to be accepted into the Eastern Partnership also depends on the non-recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. Europe does not want it very much, yet Russia really wants it. We will see next week how the Belarusian authorities are going to resolve this puzzle.