Speech by Member of the European Parliament Gunnar Hökmark at the commemoration of the signing of the Belavezha Accords, 7th of December 2016
It was a start for the Europe of today, with the emergence of a Russia, European of its kind and grand by its true history. This Russia was liberated by the dissolution of The Soviet union as was all the grand nations that could emerge from the decades of communist oppression. The Communist oppression was not only an oppression of citizens but also of national identities, history, culture and plurality given by a strong society.
25 years ago, six leaders from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus signed the accords. Among these where Boris Jeltsin from Russia, but also Mr Gennady Burbulis from Russia and Mr Stanislav Shushkevich from Belarus – the two latter joining us here today for this celebration.
By signing the Belavezha accords Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians freed themselves from a history where dictatorship had hindered economic, social and cultural development, where the weakness of a dictatorship over the borders was replaced with the hopes of the futures of societies and nations. Russia could never develop in to a grand nation in the brutal frames of Soviet rule because no nation can rise to higher levels pressured down and contained by dictatorship and occupation. So in the process following the signing of the accords Europe did not only become more peaceful but also very much richer.
For Russia it was a start of a new history as a nation in the House of Europe. Because even if Russia is a country reaching from the Baltic Sea in the west and to Bering’s sea in the east it is European by heritage, culture, tradition and its history.
The dissolution of Soviet Union paved the way for the Europe of today; the freedom of all our nations in the community of European states provides opportunities for our common future.
There were only winners on the 8th of December 1991 and today we can pave the way for a new start or Europe by honouring the plurality and strength of our national identities and the best of our common heritage and human values. Russia, Belarus and Ukraine can only benefit of their best potentials and opportunities as European nations by committing themselves to take part in the European house where democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for all the other nations are the foundation.
The 8th of December was a visionary day and today, on the eve of the day before the eight of December 2016, 25 years later, the best of our visions still remain to be fulfilled.