Makei's "positive" silence

The Belarus foreign minister's European colleagues reminded him about the "political prisoners issue" from the rostrum in Brussels. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius saw positive in the way Uladzimir Makey reacted to that.

"In contrast to what it was before, there were no objections. Maybe he did not say anything at that moment, but it's better than to object, if the majority of those who spoke, recalled the issue of political prisoners, " head of Lithuanian diplomacy commented on Makey’s reaction to the BNS news agency.

International political observer Raman Yakauleuski sees nothing positive about Makey's silence for the political prisoners.

Raman Yakauleuski: "Makey's silence can be considered a positive sign but it doesn't change the consistent position of the official Minsk regarding political prisoners."

The behavior of the Belarusian head of diplomacy look positive only against the background of other Belarusian officials who "invariably react cynically to the words of the political prisoners," explains political scientist of the Vilnius University Vitis Yurkonis.


Vitis Yurkonis: "In this context, Makey’s behavior surprised and pleased the Lithuanian representatives a little, but I do not think it (Uladzimir Makey’s silence - Comm. Euroradio) means any change or a turning point."

Expert of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs Arkadz Moshas agrees with his colleagues.

Arkadz Moshas: "To me, the positive news is absence of political prisoners in Belarus, not the silence of the Minister, who, as a diplomat, understands how to behave in a particular situation. This will be proof that either the EU policies have some effect, or - that Minsk authorities have changed their attitude."

Moshas is convinced that those who want to justify the decision to withdraw the ban from entering the EU from Makey in any way see something positive in the silence of the Belarusian Minister in response to the question about political prisoners.

Even the things that were said "not for the press" will make little difference in the relations between Minsk and Brussels, says Raman Yakauleuski.

Raman Yakauleuski: "Generally, Makey is a supporter of the clandestine diplomacy. Maybe he made some hints in the non-official conversations, but, in my opinion, this is just another game."

The expert sees no improvement in the situation even in the release of Iryna Khalip from the punishment for the square events.

Arkadz Moshas: "Two and a half years have passed since the election, the situation calmed down. The authorities realize to which extent they control all the movements of the existing political opposition. Basing on this, the regime will take decisions on how to behave regarding political prisoners in future."

The fact that political prisoners are beginning to be released by the end of their sentences does not mean that the problem of political prisoners in Belarus is solved, warns Vitis Yurkonis. The human rights situation in the country does not improve, according to the expert, and this creates the risk of new prisoners. Euroradio's interlocutors warn the EU against the credulity of 2009-2010, when Minsk's promises to hold reforms were interpreted as a guarantee of changes in the country.