You are here

Vyacheslav Kebich: The last evening of the Soviet Union

This week, the 24th anniversary of the breakup of the USSR was marked. On December 8, 1991, a verdict of the largest country on the planet was signed in the Bialowieza Forest. The CTV Channel met with a member of the very event in Viskuli - Vyacheslav Kebich, who was Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus in the first years of independence. 

Were afraid at some point of your political and then economic career?

Vyacheslav Kebich, Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus (1991-1994):
If you are talking about, say, the beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union, about the Viskuli agreements, I want to say that I was not scared. It was not scary because I saw no way out other than as a kind divorce. I thought that after the Viskuli agreement, each republic, including above all Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, will strictly follow, as in the Soviet Union, the obligations that they had undertaken. And I could not even think that after we "divorced", everyone would think only about themselves. And then after some time I asked myself: "What did I commit?"

And you could do something else then?

Vyacheslav Kebich:
Yes. If I had told, for example, Nazarbayev about what was going on then in the Bialowieza Forest, I think he would prevent it from happening.  Then, addressing the officers at a meeting, I said that I would not be surprised if I had found myself in prison.

Mr Kebich, this was your obligation to worry about the future of the country.

Vyacheslav Kebich:
Yes. Moreover, because there was a powerful force in the face of the Belarusian Popular Front. We need to remember that. After all, the greatest danger came from those people. And when they started to talk about the need to create an army, arm, this was already very dangerous.  How did they ban the Communist Party? After all, 90% of deputies consisted of communists. And how enthusiastically they voted for preventing their own existence in the party! It's also hard to understand. 

It is written in some books that you were invited to share the gold of the party. Is this true?

Vyacheslav Kebich:
It was already in Russia. Not in Belarus. We did not have any gold of the party.

But you were offered? Is this true?

Vyacheslav Kebich:
Yes. It was the case. I wrote about this. This is an open topic. I have a very interesting document in which you can find how much gold, diamonds, property was taken out. 21 submarine took away the wealth. And they now have address, where this gold is, these diamonds, this money.

Mr Kebich, the breakup of the Soviet Union was a catastrophe. But at what point in time did you realize that this country will live?

Vyacheslav Kebich:
We have never swum in good money, in oil and gold. All we have created, we have created by our own labor. Therefore, I very much believed in the people of Belarus. No one from the West will help us. And good, normal forces begun to take care of the people and they have created a new state.

In the first presidential election, people preferred you to your political rival Alexander Lukashenko, in the second round.

Vyacheslav Kebich:
Let us not forget that we worked with Lukashenko on the same political field. We selected the right path: a strong unity with Russia. And it was the rightest way, elected by the new president.

You still offer with foreign counterparts. What do they say about Belarus now?

Vyacheslav Kebich:
First, they say that Belarus, in this case, the President, has managed to bring the state to the level at which it can be described as a real state. Whatever it is, but Belarus lives better than other republics of the FSU. It is said, and leaders of other countries, including public and political figures.

Some foreigners ask me what is Belarus.   I usually said earlier that it is between Poland and Russia. And some asked me: "Is there anything in between?"

Vyacheslav Kebich:
Today everyone knows. Especially, a very major breakthrough occurred when the Republic of Belarus, thanks to the efforts of our President, became an arena for negotiations to resolve the Ukraine crisis. So now people know that we are a state that has even some political weight.

If we analyze the 24-year history of all these 15 fragments of the large country, USSR, human blood was shed in the majority of them.

Vyacheslav Kebich:
Except for our state.

Except Belarus. 

Vyacheslav Kebich:
Yes. Assistant of President Gorbachev told me: "My dear, Vyacheslav, you have no idea what will happen, how much blood will be shed in what is now left from the former Soviet Union." And he was right. Even Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. And today I am proud of the fact that no blood was shed in Belarus. This suggests the wisdom of the leadership and the people.
The second is the European Union. The future of the European Union is sad: it will collapse. It was created with difficulty, but today the action, especially in Germany, has led to the fact that crowds of young people are willing to storm Europe, which is the death of the European Union. Look, these are mostly young people. These are the people who will sooner or later take up arms. These people are from warring countries. They have already held weapons. And there is a rule of thumb: if a man once took up arms, he will tend to take a weapon again.

It's like a drug? 

Vyacheslav Kebich:
Yes. And what is happening in France is also a very good example. And this will be in other countries of Europe too. And, of course, the United States of America helps break up the European Union. I say as I think.  

Mr Kebich, thank you for the interview.

Vyacheslav Kebich: The last evening of the Soviet Union