I would like to outline the contemporary context of our discussion on the Three Seas areas. They have many common denominators, but the one which is the most important for us today is the fact that they have always been treated by the Soviet or Imperial Russia as zones of Russia’s political influence.
On the other hand, the modern world comes from the logic of global cooperation to the logic of rivalry between two blocks. On one side we have broadly-understood West, European Union and the US, and on the other side we have Russia and China.
The main features of the West are democracy and rule of law. The characteristics of Russia and China are authoritarianism and corruption as logic of political, economic and social life. Corruption is also used by these two powers (Russia and China) as a mechanism for building their influence abroad.
The Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet territories, the post-Soviet states are today the area of confrontation between these blocks.
The state here is, in one hand, the self-determination of nation, democracy and rule of law. And these three elements are inseparable from each other. As an example, in Ukraine for many years after regaining independence, one of the instruments used by Russia to maintain the power in Ukraine was corruption. Hence, the fight against corruption has become the essence of the fight for democracy and sovereignty.
Another example is Hungary. There are other problems which concentrate there as well. The increasing influence of the Kremlin is associated with corruption of Hungarian elites by Kremlin. And this corruption is in parallel with limitations of democracy and civil rights in Hungary.
Today, the clash between freedom and the fight against corruption on the one side and the authoritarian system and lack of rule of law is clearly visible in Belarus. Belarusians fight for democracy and rule of law against the corrupted system of Lukashenko. They are not anti-Russian. However, Russia treats the fights for democracy and rule of law in Belarus as the fight against its influence and power in Belarus.
Here is the most important conclusion for us: we can only obtain sovereignty in the Eastern Europe by strengthening democracy and rule of law. And the fronts of this fight are not only located in the Eastern Ukraine, where there is the hot war. But these fronts are located in each of our countries, where Russia tries to corrupt the elites, tries to undermine the rule of law and democracy.
And referring to history, it’s very clearly visible that reconciliation and truth in history are only possible in the democratic state ruled by values and rule of law. On the contrary Russia uses its propaganda creating new history, the false history as the instrument in its hybrid war against us, democracy and our values.
So, these are just some thoughts for you to discuss. And I believe that talking about history, talking about reconciliation and about the fights which divided us in history, in honest way is only possible when we do it according to our values, having civil rights, democracy and rule of law as principles.
Thank you and wish you a good discussion.