Many similarities between Belarus and Poland of 1980 - Polish diplomat
Poland's permanent representative to the EU, Andrzej Sados, wrote in an article published by Euractive.com that "there are unexpectedly many similarities between what is going on in Belarus now and what was taking place in Poland in 1980."
The diplomat recalled that "exactly 40 years ago, striking shipyard workers and the communist regime signed an agreement. The renowned August Agreement was a political deal. It led to the creation of the Solidarity trade union and initiated a process of defeating Communism in Poland and Eastern Europe."
He also underlined that "systemic modernisation through political and economic reforms allowed for democracy, freedom and economic development to flourish. But not everywhere in Europe."
Referring to the situation in Belarus, Sados wrote that "now in Belarus, peaceful demonstrators are standing up to one of the last remaining regimes in Europe demanding what was also Solidarity's goal."
According to the diplomat, inevitable changes cannot be stopped from happening but only postponed even when a regime rejects dialogue and chooses an open confrontation. He also stated that it was unthinkable in the 21st century for the Belarusian people to wait another decade for free and fair elections.
Sados also wrote that, eventually, the potential of most Central and Eastern Europe nations had been freed, and now they were making the most of the common European market. "There is no reason not to believe that Belarusians could enjoy similar success," he wrote, adding that during its struggle against the communist regime, Poland could count on tangible support from the West.
According to Sados, the Belarusian people, who are now facing similar challenges as Solidarity, deserve the same.
The Polish diplomat also said that the EU should be able to respond to crises in its close neighbourhood if it wanted to remain influential on the global scene. Sados stated that "the international community cannot accept any sort of intervention from the Russian Federation."
"It seems that what we used to refer to as opposition in Belarus is a majority now. The scale of Poland’s backing for Solidarity was also enormous but it only became crystal clear when the first free elections were held," he wrote.
Concluding his article, the official stated that, 40 years ago, Solidarity was a unique Polish answer "which may prove to be a European solution to many challenges we face today. Solidarity is also the right fundament on which to approach the future."