MEP Sven Mikser (SDE), said that the reason for different fates of Estonia and Belarus up until now should be looked for in the time between the two world wars.
"The important difference between Estonia and Belarus is that 30 years ago, we already knew which kind of a country we wanted to create or the country we wanted to restore. We did have a somewhat romanticized and embellished picture of what the Republic of Estonia had been like, but we are talking about the principle of legal continuity," Mikser said at the president's reception for the 29th anniversary of Estonia's independence restoration.
Mikser said that differences can be looked for from the first part of the last century, adding that the two countries also behaved differently in 1991, when the Soviet Union fell.
"The Belarusian parliament also declared its sovereignty a year before the Moscow coup d'éttat attempt. But when the day arrived, then the decisions in Estonia came very quickly - those that led to the building of a state and society based on the rule of law, democracy, fundamental freedoms. But they were not done in Belarus at that time, and by the middle of the 1990s, it was too late," Mikser noted.
Current Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko entered office in 1994 and has remained there ever since, redesigning the country's flag to make it essentially the same as that of the old Belarusian SSR, minus the hammer and sickle motif. Lukashenko recently won a sixth term in office in elections widely condemned as rigged, sparking protests in Belarusia and, following a crackdown by that country's security forces, internationally.
Sven Mikser is a former foreign minister.
Editor: Roberta Vaino