Piotra Murzionak: Editorial to “Culture. Nation”, issue#25, April 2020 (web-journal “Culture. Nation”, No. 25, April 2020, pp.4-10, www.sakavik.net)

The pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus is spreading throughout the world and throughout Belarus. A lot of information about this viral infection is available online and in other media. Much is still unknown about this infectious disease, but it is clear that basically defenseless elderly people die, sometimes weakened by other chronic diseases. It seems the peak of the infection have passed in the countries where it started, in China, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam. In Europe, America, Africa – the cases are still registered more and more. The number of irreversible victims worldwide as of April 29, 2020, four months after the epidemic began, exceeded 219,000 deaths, mainly from pneumonia, and more than 3.2 million infected people.

There are no vaccines, no specific drugs to fight this virus. I would very much like to see as few victims of this viral disease as possible in the world and in Belarus. Therefore, I want to thank all the medical workers – doctors, nurses, epidemiologists who are at the forefront are fighting to save sick people. I especially want to express my solidarity with fellow students and graduates of the Minsk State Medical Institute – do not get sick, be healthy, and take care of your loved ones.  Behind the background of infections and health problems, various local wars in the world, including the economic skirmishes that were observed between Belarus and Russia last year and early this year, receded into the background (as it seems). They seemed to find a way out in a different direction. Given the tensions caused by the adoption of 33 roadmaps and the creation of supranational bodies of the Union of Belarus and Russia, this somehow transformed into a change in the Constitution of the Russian Federation (although this procedure has not yet been completed) and half-clear agreements on oil and gas supplies from Russia to Belarus. However, both the nationally conscious and the ruling elites of Belarus are aware that this respite is temporary.
The appetites of the Kremlin boyars are always greedy and with a high probability their further behavior can be fairly easily predicted – the course of “soft economic colonization” of Belarus will continue. It is hard to believe they start a second war with the Eastern Slavs?!

It is unlikely that the eternal aggressor will be able to stop by the statements of Mr. Pompeo, the US Secretary of State that the Americans are ready to support the Belarusian government in some way – well, at least saing that Belarusians can buy as much oil in the USA as they want (at world prices). But that oil still needs to be brought. Attempts by the Lukashenko government to find reliable ways to deliver oil from other sources now and earlier (Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Norway) have never ended yet with the creation of the Baltic-Black Sea collector or, at least, the laying of a pipe from the Baltic ports to Belarusian oil refineries. Nevertheless, there is something to be said here as positive – at least in recent years, as a result of many disputes with Russia, algorithms for alternative oil supplies have been developed (procurement, Odessa-Brody pipeline, tankers, etc.).

However, this is not only about oil. Belarus has long landed in the sphere of geopolitical interests of Russia and, moreover, in 1999 signed an agreement on the creation of the Union of the two countries. By the way, no one asked the consent of the Belarusian people. Obviously, the Union of Russia and Belarus is a political union, and in the referendum of 1995, initiated by the First President of Belarus, Mr. Lukashenko, the Belarusian people supported his course only on economic integration with Russia.
And now what can Belarus do? How to get out of the trap? Ukraine already tried, it seems to be working out. Yes, through sacrifices, but it turns out! Although in return she received a chronic war in the Donbass and lost the Crimea, from which Russia forms an unsinkable aircraft carrier. For Belarus, there are no answers to these questions today, primarily due to the fact that “who is stronger is right.”

Unfortunately, there is another reason for this – a new redivision of the world is taking place. 30 years after the collapse of the USSR, Russia is again trying to restore its former dominant role in the world. Ukraine, Belarus, other neighbors are only victims of this revenge. The role played by the UN as a collective security body after World War II is now leveled. The creation of such bodies (the Westphalian Peace Treaty, the League of Nations) usually occurred after bloody wars, when the predatory powers shared what, in their opinion, should now belong to them for a long time. But the story repeats itself. Can the modern world stop a new slaughter? Do world leaders have the mind and desire to come up with other ways to spend unreasonable energy, for example, defeating COVID-19, stop climate change, feed the hungry? I would really like to wait for such a time.

Meanwhile, the Belarusian ruling elite is unknowingly participating in dangerous games with Russia. The cost of this game is the future of the Belarusian nation.

Enjoy reading the new issue of the magazine.

Piotra Murzionak, editor-in-chief of the magazine

April 30, 2020, Ottawa

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