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20 Aug, 2020 12:14

‘We want to be a bridge between East & West’: Belarus opposition does NOT plan to end country’s ‘deep’ relationship with Russia

‘We want to be a bridge between East & West’: Belarus opposition does NOT plan to end country’s ‘deep’ relationship with Russia

The Belarusian opposition wants to maintain close ties with Russia and has no plans to break the strong relations between the two countries. However, it does want to maintain a close partnership with the European Union.

That’s according to Pavel Latushko, an influential figure in the movement and the former Belarusian minister of culture. Latushko is a member of the Presidium of the Coordinating Council, a body formed by opposition presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya to help encourage the transfer of power away from the president, Alexander Lukashenko. Authorities in Minsk have opened a criminal case against the group for ‘seizure of power.’

“People have accused us of having a program that aims to destroy relations with Russia,” he said. “This is absolute stupidity, there is no such program.”

The former minister also noted that the Coordinating Council has no intention of changing the relationship between Russia and Belarus, which he called “nice and deep.”

The willingness to keep friendly relations between the two Eastern European neighbors has also been expressed by Maria Kolesnikova, the campaign manager for former presidential candidate Viktor Babariko.

Despite what some have seen as attempts by the West to pull Belarus into its sphere of influence, the country’s opposition leaders are refusing to take sides, with Latushko also stressing his intention to cooperate with the European Union.

“Belarus has historically been a part of European civilization,” he explained. “We are interested in building a strong and stable bridge between the East and the West.”

The Presidium of the Coordination Council is made up of seven Belarusians, including Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, and Sergey Dylevsky, leader of the Minsk Tractor Works strike committee. The council was formed following mass protests in response to the country’s election, widely thought to have been rigged.

Also on rt.com Key Belarusian opposition leaders say they want friendly ties with Russia and promise not to dump ‘union state’ or defense pacts

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