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" An Iron Hand with Kid Gloves"
A man, who has done much for the international
of new Republic of Belarus.
Dr. Piotr Kravchenko, a well-known Statesman
and public figure, historian and political science expert, was born on
August 13, 1950 in the town of Smolevichi, Minsk region. In 1972 he graduated
with honours from the history faculty of the Belarusian State University.
As a top-list student he was awarded an outstanding Scholarship and got
admitted to the post-graduate department of the University. In 1975 at
the age of 25 he was conferred upon a Candidate's degree in history. The
thesis he defended was dedicated to the analysis of effectiveness of external
political and economic relations of Belarus in the 20-ies and 30-ies.
His subsequent scientific and pedagogical activities
are rather versatile. Dr. Kravchenko is an author of numerous publications
on history, culture, arts and literature. When a post-graduate he had already
started his teaching career and for more than 10 years was engaged in it
at the above-mentioned University.
With the beginning of the Gorbachev's perestroyka and
the policy of reforms he was elected in 1985 the Secretary of the Minsk
City Committee of the Communist Party of Byelarussia. In March 1990, in
the toughest rivalry between six candidates for the election to the Supreme
Council, he became M.P. , moreover as early as in the first round of voting
he got the majority of votes. In July 1990, Dr. Kravchenko resigned from
the Parliament after he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus.
When a member of the Government he did not join or become associated with
any political party of Belarus.
While taking the post of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
at the turning point so crucial for Belarus Dr. Kravchenko took an active
part in the dynamic entrance of the republic into the world community.
He promoted the strengthening of the young state’s international positions
and the formation of its independence and sovereignty. From 1990 till 1994,
he participated, in a most direct way, in the preparation and signing of
130 agreements and protocols, establishing diplomatic relations with foreign
countries and over 960 bilateral treaties and agreements. Over 30 embassies
and consulates of Belarus were opened in 24 countries of the world. Belarus
was recognized by more than 130 countries, diplomatic relations being established
with 102 of them. Thanks to his efforts, the principles of the Belarusian
diplomacy were laid upon and the process of elaboration of the republic’s
foreign policy conception began.
On behalf of the Republic Dr. Kravchenko signed a series
of important international documents, including the Lisbon protocol to
START (together with J. Baker, A. Kozyrev, A. Zlenko), the “Open Sky” Treaty
what gave Belarus within the nuclear security programm 101 mln US dollars.
And it was his merit that the Parliament of Belarus, on February 4, 1993,
was almost unanimous (1 “nay”) in ratifying the START as the main report
on that issue as well as the motion for the ratification were presented
at the session of the Parliament by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Thus
Belarus became the first State in the world to have voluntary refused any
possibility of possessing nuclear weapons, having done it without any preconditions
Dr. Kravchenko, in his activities, paid huge attention
to the unbiased informing of the world community on the scale, depth and
consequences for Belarus and Europe of the greatest technological disaster
of the 20th century - that of Chernobyl - revealing without embellishment
the real causes of the event happened. It was not by chance that in 1990-1991
he headed the joint working group of the USSR, Belarus and Ukraine that
made efforts to adopt a special UN General Assembly resolution admitting
a global character of the Chernobyl catastrophe and calling upon the world
community to render assistance within its powers to the victim peoples
of the three Slavonic States. Owing to the Belarusian diplomats' efforts
more than 130 States of the world became co-sponsors of the above-mentioned
draft resolution which the Foreign Minister of Belarus presented to the
world community at the UN General Assembly plenary session. The Resolution
L145/190 dated December 21, 1990 was adopted by the UN and facilitated
a substantial broadening of non-governmental humanitarian aid to the long-suffering
Dr. Kravchenko was among Belarusian statesmen who established,
in October 1991, official contacts with IMF and IBRD by inviting these
biggest financial organizations’ delegations to visit Belarus for the on-the-spot
assessment of the situation in the economic, financial and monetary system.
Mainly thanks to his efforts, the Republic of Belarus signed, in July 1992,
the relevant agreement, with IMF and IBRD, thus having become the second
after Russia state to have taken a decision in this respect. He was a participant
of three World economic forums in DAVOS.
Dr. Kravchenko participated directly in the events of
legalization of the Republic of Belarus membership in CSCE. Belarus was
the first among the CIS countries to sign in February 1992 the basic Helsinki-1
document and was also the first to sign on March 31, 1992 the Prague Charter
for New Europe. On his initiative, at the Summit of the Ministers for Foreign
Affairs in 1992 in Helsinki, Minsk, the capital of Belarus, was chosen
as the place for the international conference on Nagorno-Karabakh. The
notion of “Minsk group” went down in the history of diplomacy to name the
eleven States authorized by CSCE to deal with that complicated problem.
It is significant that the Belarusian Minister's initiative was welcomed
by J. Baker, H.-D. Genscher and R. Dumas.
As Minister of Foreign Affairs Piotr Kravchenko went
on dozens of official and state visits to a number of countries of the
world. He repeatedly visited the headquarters of such biggest international
organizations as IAEA, UNESCO, UNCTAD, UNIDO, EEC, OECD, EBRD. He headed
the delegation of the Republic of Belarus at the 45th-48th UN General Assembly
sessions, made statements at its plenaries and meetings of its Committees.
He was a participant of the World Ecological Forum in Rio de Janeiro in
June 1992. Dr. Kravchenko negotiated with such prominent state, political
and social figures of today as G. Bush, Bill Clinton, B. Yeltsin, F. Mitterrand,
H. Kohl, N. Rao, Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, Ro De Ou, V. Havel, L. Walensa,
J. Baker, W. Christopher, H.-D. Genscher, K. Kinkel, R. Dumas, D. Hurd,
S. Berluscogni, Z. Zhelev, I. Iliesku, F.Demirel, S. Perez, I. Rabin, P.
de Cuellar, B. Boutros Ghali, F. Mayor. He often delivered lectures at
well-known universities abroad, e.g. Paduan (Italy), Columbian (USA), London
(Great Britain), Uppsala (Sweden), Krakow (Poland), Prague (Czech Republic),
and at the Council on Foreign Affairs in New-York.
Piotr Kravchenko headed the governmental Commission which
dealt with perpetuation of the Minsk ghetto victims’ memory. In April,
1993, he led the Belarusian delegation which took part in the opening ceremony
at the Catastrophe Museum in Washington.
Belarus at the turning point, Kravchenko's book of
articles and interviews, is going to see the light now. He is a member
of editorial boards of Belaruskaya Entsiklopedia and several big newspapers
and magazines of Belarus. He is a member of the Hard Currency Crediting
Committee at the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus, which
regulates credits distribution and their effectiveness. The head of this
Committee is the Prime-Minister Mr. M. Chigir.
Since 1995, Dr. Piotr Kravchenko has been an Academician
at the International Academy of Administrative and Managerial Sciences.
He has a rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary conferred
to him by the Decree of the USSR President Mr. M. Gorbachev on September
Dr. Kravchenko is known in Central Europe for a number
of his projects on culture aimed at the rapprochement of peoples and return
of Belarus into the cultural bosom of Europe. Member of the Presidium of
the Belarusian Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, Member
of the ruling body of Batskaushchyna (Fatherland) -- a union of Belarusians
of the World. One of the organizers of the first International Pleinair
in Vitebsk devoted to the memory of Marc Chagal, an outstanding modern
Dr. Kravchenko is a National Olympic Committee member.
He is a Honorary Citizen of Smoliany (Bulgaria).
Piotr Kravchenko is an adherent of reinforcing the Belarussian
State system and international positions of sovereign and independent Belarus.
He suggested an idea of creating the East-European Economic Community as
a market model now in the process of initial formation and as a transitional
element to a broad-scale integration of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine into
the European Union not earlier than 2005.
While working at the Belarusian Government, the Foreign
Minister Dr. Kravchenko was positively appreciated by a number of foreign
analysts and journalists for his all-round grounding, professionalism and
high capacity for work. The American researcher Catherine Mikoloshko, in
one of her articles dedicated to Central European politicians, describes
Piotr Kravchenko as a most educated and erudite Minister in the Belarusian
In the open surveys, the CIA annually presents to the
US Congress, Piotr Kravchenko used to be characterized as a moderate nationalist
who reasons out well his steps for future and pursues a super-active external
policy actions aimed at the international recognition of Belarus. The
big press in Germany considers Piotr Kravchenko as "personality possessing,
no doubts, great potentials for prospect.
Former Prime - Minister of Israel Shimon Peres describes
in his book "Batting for peace", London (1995), Foreign Minister
P.Kravchenko as "a particularly pleasant man", "remarkably
well read in Jewish history and Culture".
In 1994, in connection with the resignation of V.Kebich’s
Cabinet, Piotr Kravchenko retired from the Foreign Minister's post and
joined in the severe struggle in order to be elected Deputy of, in fact,
the first democratic Parliament of the Republic of Belarus. Notwithstanding
the counteraction of those in power, in December 1995, he managed to win
the elections, his results being among the highest in the republic. He
stood for the Speaker of the Parliament, but, in compliance with the party
and factional interests, removed his candidature.
In January 1996 Dr. Kravchenko was next to unanimously
elected Head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Supreme Council
of the Republic of Belarus. He is a member of the Parliament opposition.
Since June 1996, in connection with the formation of
Commonwealth of Belarus and Russia , alongside with his work at the Belarusian
Parliament Dr. Kravchenko is Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the
Parliamentary Assembly of Belarus and Russia.
His hobby is collecting rare books and works of arts,
he possesses one of the richest private libraries in Belarus (over 10 000
volumes). He has been keen on soccer and tennis since his youth and recently
added swimming to them.
Married, has two children. A member of the Orthodox Church.
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