Radzina: Italians cried when I told them about political prisoners

Its participants discussed the situation in Belarus and the state relations between Italy and Belarus. Natallya Radzina has told it to Euroradio on air.

Euroradio: You described the last European dictatorship, repressions exercised against the Belarusian opposition, missing politicians and journalists at the recent conference. Who represented Italy there and what was Italians’ reaction to your speech?

Natallya Radzina: The leaders of “Anna Viva” and Matteo Mecacci, Chair of the Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, represented Italy. He had arrived from Rome and described his view of Italy-Belarus relations. I described the real situation in Belarus and political prisoners. I deliberately made the speech brief. I described the formation of the Belarusian dictatorship and the situation in the country in detail. Unfortunately, Italians are hardly aware of the current situation in Belarus even if they are human rights defenders, politicians or journalists. I highlighted the problems of Zmitser Bandarenka, Andrei Sannikau, Zmitser Dashkevich and Mikalai Statkevich. The Italians cried.

Euroradio: You have a negative account of Silvio Berlusconi’s contacts with the Lukashenka regime. What was their reaction to your position? Did any Italians support you point of view?

Natallya Radzina: Indeed, Berlusconi’s policy is bad now because the Italian PM protects the Belarusian dictatorship. Italy is one of the few countries that are against imposing economic sanctions on the Lukashenka regime. Moreover, Berlusconi visited Belarus two years ago. He interrupted Lukashenka’s international isolation that way. Furthermore, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Berlusconi lobbied Lukashenka’s meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. Moreover, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Syarhei Martynau managed to visit Italy after December 19, 2010 which was against European politicians’ attitude to Belarus.

Matteo Mecacci supported me (I urged to limit contacts of the Italian government with the Belarusian authorities). He said that Italy had to support the economic sanctions targeted against Belarus. Moreover, the European Union has to impose the economic sanctions in practice and to continue exercising pressure on the Lukashenka regime. On the other hand, it should support the Belarusian society.

Euroradio: You position was supported at the conference, but will any real steps be made in the near future?

Natallya Radzina: It is difficult to talk about real steps now. I have given several interviews on TV and in the radio. They have invited me to make a speech at the meeting of Italian radical parties in December. We will see what the reaction will be like.

I only know that we should not be silent, we should speak about the situation in our country all the time. Let me repeat that Italy is one of the countries that know very little about the real situation in Belarus. It was essential to make the speech and describe the home policy conducted by the Belarusian authorities.