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Descendant of d'Artagnan, Aymeri de Montesquiou, shares impressions about Belarus

This guest of this edition of the program "Week" on the CTV is better known for his affinity with the musketeer described by Alexander Dumas. Duke Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan visited Belarus this week. Why? Our correspondent Yana Shipko found out.

Mr. de Montesquiou d'Artagnan, thanks for taking the time to talk with us! I am very pleased to pronounce your name, because I've been a fan of Dumas books since childhood. Incredibly, you actually belong to this family tree?

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan, Honorary Senator of France:
Dumas had a big family. But my legal name is Montesquiou d'Artagnan. And D'Artagnan is one of the most popular heroes of French literature, world literature.

Virtually every home library has Dumas books. What is it to live with such a famous name?

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
This helps, because everyone is looking at you with respect. This is a very popular character. And he had a real prototype. Everyone wants to know what connects me with D'Artagnan. I say: only the surname that we have inherited. And I'm the owner of the real sword of Captain de Treville.

You head the Association of Musketeers, where there are members from Belarus, too.

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
Pavel Latushko. Incidentally, he is a very good ambassador, he is very active and positive in respect of Belarus and the development of relations between our countries.

You have taught him fencing?

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
I fenced as a child, but I love rugby more, it's not very well-known sport in Belarus.

Yes, ice hockey is much more popular here and of course football. On the eve, there was a UEFA Euro final...

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
...Unfortunately, we lost.

Still, congratulations! France is already a winner! Because you hosted the championship at the highest level.

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
Yes, the organization was very good.

Tomorrow you are going to visit a Champions League match in Borisov. How did you decide to discover Belarus from its sports side?

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
Football is popular here. And I'm interested in the development of relations between our countries, so I want to learn as much as possible about Belarus. Today, for example, I visited several companies to see how I can help expand exports to countries that are interested in the equipment produced here. And I was impressed by the quality of products and production organization. Just like I was impressed immediately upon arrival by Minsk's large avenues, modern buildings, clean city... The first impression is very important here and it was very positive.

You can compare: 20 years ago and now. Does the world know more about Belarus?

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
Yes, but, unfortunately, still not enough. For example, Belarus is known for your outstanding athletes. But I would really like other countries to know your country thanks to your products. I know that back in the Soviet Union, all the technological production facilities were concentrated in Belarus. Your engineering products would be demanded by African countries and Iran, for example. In countries where one needs to build something anew, rebuild networks, build roads, your engineering production would be very useful. I think your equipment is just what they need. 

In recent years, Belarus has become famous from the peacekeeping side. Contact groups on Ukraine are meeting in Minsk.

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
And before Minsk played a big role in helping in dealing with the complex conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. And now, even more importantly, the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict. Some countries prefer to protect their interests. I hope that the two sides will find a peaceful solution. And the influence of America, for example (if I can express my opinion)... I do not find it positive.

But Minsk is exactly the neutral place where a meeting of Merkel, Putin, Poroshenko and your President Francois Hollande was possible.

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
You can be a bridge between Western and Eastern Europe. NATO and Russia are in bad relations now. I do not understand why. Russia, in my opinion, is not aggressive. There is a Monroe doctrine, adopted in the US in the first half of the 19th century, which prohibits foreign military intervention in the South or North America.  And the United States must understand that Russia does not want their military presence near its borders.

They want to place the military in Poland, it's close to the Belarusian border.

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
Yes, but I do not understand why. I take it very negatively. It's risky, besides. I understand that Poland and the Baltic, historically, had bad memories of Russia. But now there is a different period, and one must regard Russia as a partner, not an enemy.

Unfortunately, talking about musketeers, not all problems can be solved today in duels with swords.

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
Yes, but musketeers were always involved in international affairs. I myself was in Afghanistan, in the house of Masud. A lot of times I went to Iraq and Syria. I'm trying to be a modern musketeer.

Now the EU has a lot of problems, such as the migration crisis. It seems to me that the idea of ​​a union without borders is under threat...

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
All European countries must now unite to protect our borders. And, perhaps, we should be more diplomatic and invite Arab countries with the same religion and culture to take these refugees. I like the idea of ​​establishing the Eurasian Economic Union; you could take as a basis the European Union model, when it consisted of only 6 countries in the beginning. The mechanism was good for 6 countries, but not for 15 or more. You see that the EU does not function very well. We have no foreign policy, no budget and many Europeans are disappointed.

There is a saying: "Money likes silence". Do you perceive Belarus as a "quiet", stable place to do business?

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
Absolutely. But you have to work on the image, lobby your interests in countries such as France, Germany, and UK. So that people there know that Belarus is really a safe country, with educated professionals, which is very important. In addition, you can be proud of such great artists as Chagall, Malevich, who were born here.

And will you "promote" our country, when you return to France?

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
With great pleasure! Really. And it is absolutely sincere, because I just express my feelings.

What did you remember in Belarus?

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
Last night we were in a restaurant. We did not choose where to go. We went into a very simple restaurant. But the food there was top. At the level of French restaurants. And this is very important! If you want to attract tourists, this is what you must offer.

Thank you very much for the interview!

Aymeri de Montesquiou d'Artagnan:
It was very nice to talk to you.

Descendant of d'Artagnan, Aymeri de Montesquiou, shares impressions about Belarus