Friday, September 25, 2015

Belarusians Must Challenge Totalitarian Regime ‘Because Tanks are Approaching,’ Lithuanian Diplomat Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 25 – Zygimaitas Pavilionis, the Lithuanian diplomat responsible for Vilnius’ relations with the EU Eastern Partnership program, says that Belarusians must not be afraid to challenge the totalitarian regime because “if you have vision and struggle against evil, then you will win.”

            Speaking at a conference on “(Non-)Democratic Belarus: Political Trends and Education” in the Lithuanian capital yesterday, Pavilionis said that “if you try to balance and see only the present while remaining mired in the past, then it is 100 percent certain that you will fail” (

                The diplomat, who until recently was Lithuanian ambassador to the United States, said that countries like his own who had “stood against evil” had become successful and rapidly developing countries and that the same possibility would emerge for Belarus if its people did the same.

            “I understand Belarusians and sometimes Ukrainians who like to balance and who like these dances, but if we are honest, then this balancing act, this ‘game of thrones’ is so 19th century,” Pavilionas said, adding that “you may be able to survive with such a theory if you are big. But if you are a small country, you will die.”

            In the Belarusian context, the Lithuanian diplomat continued, that means there is only one way out, a “dramatic” shift to the side of the West. Otherwise, the future of Belarus will be extremely bleak.

            “Time was stolen from Belarus,” he said. Now, “time is running very quickly because the tanks are approaching.”

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