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Belarusian Review

Thoughts and Observations

At Yanukovych’s Inauguration: Lukashenka Agreed To be Sidelined

Ukrainian diplomacy with direct participation of the Belarusian side managed to avoid countless unpleasant moments which could have occurred during the ceremony of inauguration of Ukraine's President-elect Viktor Yanukovych because of simultaneous participation of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and European presidents in the event, AFN reports.

According to Ukrainian mass media, president of Latvia Valdis Zatlers, Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė, Polish President Lech Kaczynski, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, Hungarian President Laszlo Solyom, Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic arrived for the ceremony.

Lukashenka’s presence in this narrow circle is even hard to imagine. A photo of Lukashenka and Kaczynski’s handshake would become number one hit worldwide immediately. But thanks to persuasion or personal initiative of the guest, European presidents were delivered from the threat of immediate contact with the Belarusian dictatorLukashenka has been acting his part in this political play excellently. He was allegedly late for the ceremony, though he arrived to Kyiv the evening before. In his turn, Verkhovna Rada Chairman Volodymyr Lytvyn treated the fact as a natural occurrence. Reading the name of Lukashenka in the list of persons invited for the inauguration, he made it clear to everybody that Lukashenka was absent in the audience at that moment.

The Belarusian guest entered the hall a bit later, and in order not to spoil the pleasure of the visitors from viewing the political blockbuster called “Yanukovych as Ukrainian President”, he didn’t go to his place in the sector for presidents (“Sorry… Excuse me… It turns out that there are traffic jams in Kyiv”). Lukashenka, who had been allowed to take his son Kolya with him, observed the inauguration sitting beside Yanukovych’s wife (who was accompanied by her grandson), who is an important political figure of Ukraine as well. What a children’s corner…

As a gratitude for the gesture of neighbourly political will, Yanukovych promised to find time in his busy schedule of such a significant day for him, and hold bilateral talks with Lukashenka.

“Our relations have entered a new stage. I am ready to consider jointly all strategic cooperation areas, for neighborly economic relations between us to develop dynamically. I haven’t forgotten, and won’t forget the native land of my forefathers, Vitsebsk region,” Yanukovych acted his part at the meeting with Lukashenka.

This article appeared in
Belarusian Review, Vol. 22, No. 1
Copyright 2010 Belarusian Review
All rights reserved.
Source: Charter 97 Press Center, February 28, 2010

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