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Stanislav Shushkevich, First Leader of Post-Soviet Belarus, Dies at 87; he was Oswalds Russian teacher in Minsk.

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Here is the full transcript of the 2013 Shushkevich interview about Oswald in Minsk.


Shuskhevichs conclusion, quote: 

Therefore, it is my absolute conviction that they found a passive, calm, compliant boy, and used him as the guilty one. As for the conclusions of the Warren Commission, I don't believe them one bit. I have studied them and I don't think [the assassination] was the work of my student. (LHO.)
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Paste of NYT Obituary.  Why the hell "they" ordered a nuclear physicist (Shushkevich) to teach Oswald Russian? 


Stanislav Shushkevich, First Leader of Post-Soviet Belarus, Dies at 87

He helped formalize the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, led his country until 1994, then became a vocal critic of his successor, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko.

By Neil Genzlinger
May 4, 2022

Stanislav Shushkevich, the first leader of Belarus when the country became independent upon the Soviet Union’s collapse, and an outspoken critic of the man who succeeded him and has led with an authoritarian hand ever since, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, has died. He was 87 and had recently been hospitalized with Covid-19.

On Wednesday his widow, Irina Shushkevich, told news agencies that he had died overnight at his home in Minsk, the capital.

Mr. Shushkevich, a nuclear physicist before entering politics, led Belarus for less than three years before he was displaced by Mr. Lukashenko, but it was an eventful tenure. It began in December 1991, when Mr. Shushkevich, who was then chairman of the Byelorussian Supreme Soviet, or Parliament, joined with leaders of two other Soviet republics, Boris N. Yeltsin of Russia and Leonid M. Kravchuk of Ukraine, to sign an agreement forming a “Commonwealth of Independent States” — in effect, dissolving the Soviet Union.

The bloc had already been coming apart at the seams — recent events had included a coup attempt that August against the Soviet president, Mikhail S. Gorbachev — but the agreement, signed at a forest retreat in western Belarus, formalized the dissolution. Mr. Shushkevich became the head of state of Belarus, though that role became more and more ceremonial as his tenure went along.

He faced difficult issues, including stabilizing the economy and determining how dependent Belarus should be, economically and militarily, on Russia, its much larger neighbor to the east. Mr. Shushkevich soon faced opposition at home, but he was well regarded by the United States, particularly for his commitment to ridding Belarus of the nuclear weapons from the Soviet era that remained on its soil. 

On a visit to Minsk in October 1993, Warren M. Christopher, then the secretary of state under President Bill Clinton, praised the country as “a shining example to states around the region,” hoping that others, especially Ukraine, its neighbor to the south, would follow suit.

Mr. Clinton himself visited Minsk the following January, meeting with Mr. Shushkevich and pledging American financial help with denuclearization.

By then, though, Mr. Shushkevich was in political trouble. Parliament was dominated by hard-line Communists who often objected to his centrist policies and his resistance to aligning Belarus with Russia. But some of his liberal supporters, too, had become disenchanted with compromises he had pursued on such issues. Less than two weeks after Mr. Clinton’s visit, Parliament repudiated him with an overwhelming no-confidence vote.

Mr. Shushkevich defended his policies, especially his efforts at economic reform.

“The only way forward is democracy, not socialism, and democracy means market economics,” he said at the time. “We live in a poor, polarized society with many extremes. Communists are in the majority, and they are not aware that the economy is the very basis of what we do, not ideology.”

Complicating matters was a recent corruption investigation that had accused Mr. Shushkevich of using state funds for personal benefit, including work on his apartment, though his supporters dismissed those allegations as an attempt to smear him politically.

The investigation had been led by Mr. Lukashenko, and before 1994 was over, he had been elected president. Mr. Shushkevich, who was also a candidate, finished well back in a crowded field.

Stanislav Stanislavovich Shushkevich was born in Minsk on Dec. 15, 1934. His father, Stanislav Petrovich Shushkevich, worked at newspapers and was twice exiled to work camps during Joseph Stalin’s regime. His mother, Romanovskaya Elena Ludvikova, was a teacher and writer.

Mr. Shushkevich graduated from Byelorussian State University in 1956, earned a postgraduate degree in 1959 at the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences, and went on to become one of the republic’s leading nuclear physicists, holding top posts at several laboratories. He was also a professor at the state university in Minsk and, from 1986 to 1990, its provost.

After the nuclear accident at the Chernobyl power plant in what is now Ukraine in 1986, Mr. Shushkevich was among those expressing concern about the effects of the fallout on the people of Belarus (then called Byelorussia).

“Chernobyl polluted 20 percent of Byelorussia’s territory,” he told The New York Times in 1991, and he thought the Soviet government did not do enough to help Byelorussia.

His concerns about Chernobyl were one reason he sought a seat in the Congress of People’s Deputies, a body Mr. Gorbachev created in 1989; he was elected to Parliament the following year. After the August 1991 coup attempt, some parliamentary leaders were forced out, and Mr. Shushkevich was named the body’s chairman.

After he was ousted by Mr. Lukashenko in 1994, Mr. Shushkevich became a vocal critic of his successor, and of Mr. Lukashenko’s penchant for making pie-in-the-sky promises.

“If he can do it all, he is Moses,” Mr. Shushkevich told The Times in July 1994. “But he is not. Solzhenitsyn said that Vladimir Zhirinovsky” — a firebrand ultranationalist in Russia — “was the caricature of a Russian patriot. Well, Lukashenko is the caricature of Zhirinovsky.”

Mr. Lukashenko, though, may have exacted a measure of revenge. The Times reported in 2002 that in 1997, he issued an executive decree setting new rates and cost-of-living conditions for pensions of state officials — except for former chairmen of the Supreme Soviet, a club that consisted of Mr. Shushkevich and one other man. In hyperinflation-prone Belarus, that hit Mr. Shushkevich hard in the pocketbook.

His monthly payment “used to be around $200,” Mr. Shushkevich told The Times, “which is a good pension by our standards.”

“Now,” he said, “it is 3,196 rubles. That equals $1.80.”

In addition to his wife, his survivors include a son, Stanislau, and a daughter, Alena.

Mr. Shushkevich continued to fire away at his successor to the end. In one of his last interviews, in December, he linked Mr. Lukashenko and Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin.

“Putin and Lukashenko are still unhappy with the fall of the U.S.S.R.,” he was quoted as saying. “They want to rule forever. This is not the way to create a democracy.”

Milana Mazaeva contributed reporting.



Edited by Karl Kinaski
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