Marek Butska: Belarusian propaganda says a lot of negative things about Poland
"They cover Poland quite extensively in Belarus, though mostly in a negative context. Why this is so is a question the Belarusian propaganda has to be asked. I do not understand at all why this has anything to do with me. While I have spent five years working in Belarus, I have never violated the Belarusian legislation, have never violated the status of a diplomat and have not given any grounds for being treated so brutally", says Marek Butska, the first secretary of the Polish Embassy in Minsk, who was declared a persona non grate in Belarus, in an interview to Radio Polonia. The interview was recorded in Warsaw, because Butska is now on leave in Poland.
- When did you learn that you may not be able to come back to Belarus?
- From a non-official source I came to known that in the morning on Tuesday. At noon my heads in the Foreign Ministry confirmed it. I also learnt that the ambassador was invited to the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a conversation. There they demanded I should leave Belarus within a month.
- Belarus has been talking a lot about Poland. Did you feel this could have such an outcome for you?
--They cover Poland quite extensively in Belarus, though mostly in a negative context. Why this is so is a question the Belarusian propaganda has to be asked. I do not understand at all why this has anything to do with me. While I have spent five years working in Belarus, I have never violated the Belarusian legislation, have never violated the status of a diplomat and have not given any grounds for being treated so brutally.
- The Belarusians accuse you of maintaining too close links with the Belarusian opposition…
- This was part of my work duties. When the Belarusian ambassador in Warsaw wants to arrange a meeting with the opposition, no one prevents him from doing so. I see no reasons why I can't maintain work contacts with the opposition while this is part of my duties. Neither do I know why the Belarusians base their accusation on these contacts.
- Do you think your status as a persona non grata in Belarus may be connected with the statement made by the Foreign Minister of Poland Adam Rotfeld, in which he stated that those behind the scandal around the Union of Poles in Belarus would be included into the black list of Belarusian officials denied entry not only to Poland but also to the other countries of the European Union?
- I find it hard to say what principles the Belarusian authorities based their actions on. But the decision made by our minister, though it is difficult for me to comment it, seems appropriate. An attack on the Union of Poles in Belarus was quite brutal. The special service and KGB used different methods of pressurizing the delegates. They were threatened they would lose their jobs. This was done to ensure that Mr. Kruczkowski would remain the chair, who, as I think, attempted to break up the Union of Poles. And compromise it by his activity. But he failed. Now we have a democratically elected leadership of the Union of Poles in Belarus. I think that further attempts to interfere with the affairs of this independent organization would violate the bilateral relations with respect to the rights of national minorities.
Marek Butska also said that he was planning to come back to Belarus, where his wife and a child are staying though he does not know if he will be allowed to cross the Poland-Belarus border.