Minsk protests remarks by director of Russian Institute of Strategic Studies

The Belarusian foreign ministry has protested anti-Belarusian remarks by Leonid Reshetnikov, director of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies.

Leonid Reshetnikov

On December 22, the ministry summoned Vadim Gusev, a counselor at the Russian embassy in Minsk, to express its protest.

According to the ministry’s press office, Mr. Gusev was told that Mr. Reshetnikov’s remarks were unfounded and unacceptable.

“Such remarks totally contradict the strategic nature of Belarusian-Russian relations and the principles of respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity that are laid down in bilateral and multilateral agreements and provide a foundation for cooperation between our brotherly states.”

Earlier this week, a video emerged on the Internet showing Mr. Reshetnikov mocking Belarus’ independence and the Belarusian language.

“Everything is going according to Ukraine’s scenario in Belarus,” Mr. Reshetnikov says in the video. “The situation is very unfavorable for us. There are very similar processes and, unfortunately, we do not see counter-processes. There is a clear intention to separate the Belarusians from the Russians and set up a fence between them in ideological and historic terms and even in spiritual terms in some ways.”

According to Mr. Reshetnikov, the Belarusian language was created by order of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1926.

“It means that the Belarusian language is 90 years old,” he says. “This bomb that was planted back then has now exploded and smaller bombs continue exploding. This is of great concern to all of us and I think to the leadership of our country too. We need to at least discuss this issue openly. Many people are now intoxicated with Syria and Ukraine and [Donald] Trump’s rise to power and are forgetting about Belarus. We must not forget that Belarus is a historic part of great Russia, huge Russia.”

Mr. Reshetnikov says that he cannot understand the thinking behind the Belarusian government’s actions.

“It is unclear whether they are thinking about their own well-being or something else…It looks like they want to distance themselves from Moscow and give themselves to somebody else.”

He dismisses the idea that Belarus is independent from Russia, and that Moscow cannot dictate anything to Minsk.

The Russian Institute of Strategic Studies was established in 1992 by order of the then president of the Russian Federation. The Institute provides information for the Presidential Administration, the Security Council and other government agencies in Russia.