Receiving in Minsk a high-level Yugoslav parliamentary delegation, Belarusan President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Council of the Republic chairman Pavel Shypuk described NATO’s plan for a peacekeeping operation in Kosovo as “absolutely unacceptable.” Obliquely comparing Serb-dominated Yugoslavia to the former USSR, Lukashenka stated that “we have experienced the unity and the collapse of a country. Yugoslavia has also experienced it to some extent. We are categorically against the further disintegration of the friendly and fraternal state.” More directly, Shypuk claimed that “Western policy aims to break up the former Socialist camp, as in the case of the USSR. We will not allow the friendship of fraternal Slavic peoples to falter.” (Belapan, NTV, June 12)
The statements reflect the Lukashenka regime’s hope–shared with Russian nationalist circles–to revive Pan-Slavic and Pan-Orthodox ideology as a foreign policy tool, using it to recoup some of Moscow’s lost influence in Eastern Europe. Although still coated in pro-Soviet rhetoric, the new Panslavism draws on Tsarist era roots, and it targets some areas traditionally coveted by the Russian Empire.
NATO AND UKRAINE MAP OUT COOPERATION PROGRAMS.