MOSCOW, September 17./TASS/. Former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and other members of the Belarusian opposition must realize that they are being manipulated, set against Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with RTVI television on Thursday.
"It would be good if those who are rabidly setting the Belarusian opposition against the Russian Federation realized their share of responsibility, while the opposition figures themselves - Tikhanovskaya and others - found the strength to act against this rude and open manipulation," he stressed.
In reply to the question about Tikhanovskaya’s statements ahead of the Sochi talks of the Russian and Belarusian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, that ‘any agreements are illegitimate’ and would be reviewed by the new regime, Lavrov noted that it was not the first time that such statements were being made. "She said similar things when Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin went to Belarus and met with President Alexander Lukashenko and Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko. She said it then," he said.
"Back then, the opposition expressed concerns about any more or less close relations between our countries. "This is despite the fact that at the initial stage of the crisis, they declared that they were in no way engaged in anti-Russian activities, that they wanted to live in friendship with the Russian people," Lavrov said.
The top diplomat mentioned the opposition policy document that remained uploaded to the website of Tikhanovskaya for several hours. "Then opposition leaders removed it, realizing that they had made a mistake when they presented their aims and tasks to the public. The withdrawal from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, EAEU and all integration agencies in which Russia is a part, a drift towards the EU and NATO were among these aims and tasks, along with a gradual ousting of the Russian language, Belarusization of all sides of life," he noted.
"We are not against the Belarusian language, but when Ukraine is taken as an example, when the state language is used to ouster the language spoken by the overwhelming majority of the population, then it is a hostile act, and in the case of Ukraine violating its constitution. If the same proposal gets into the Belarusian legal environment, this will be violating the Belarusian constitution, to say nothing about numerous conventions about the rights of national minorities and language minorities among others," Lavrov pointed out.