Russia’s New Military Doctrine Mentions Belarusian Security
On February 5, 2010 President Dmitri Medvedev approved a new Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation. The document replaces the version adopted in 2000 and will serve as a frame of reference for the Russian military through 2020.
Among other things, the doctrine addresses the security of the so-called Union State of Belarus and Russia. According to the text of the doctrine, Russia “considers an armed attack on the state-participant in the Union State, as well as all other actions involving the use of military force against it, as an act of aggression against the Union State, and it will take measures in response.”
The new doctrine provides that Russia’s main priorities for its military-political cooperation with the Republic of Belarus are the following:
(a) coordinating efforts in developing the national armed forces and using military infrastructure;
(b) developing and coordinating measures toward maintaining the defense capabilities of the Union State in accordance with the Military Doctrine of the Union State.
According to the new doctrine, Russia can use nuclear weapons in response to the use of any types of weapons of mass destruction against itself or its allies. However, the doctrine does not provide for pre-emptive nuclear strikes. In fact, it reduces Moscow’s reliance on nuclear weapons, contrary to the predictions and concerns raised in the Western media throughout 2009.
The doctrine names the expansion of NATO first in a list of major external threats to Russia. Commenting on the reflection of Russia’s threat assessment in the new doctrine NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Reuters that the document “does not reflect the real world” and that “NATO is not an enemy of Russia.”
Legendary Hockey Player Gretzky Meets Belarusian Relatives
Wayne Gretzky, the legendary Belarusian-Canadian ice hockey player, has met his Belarusian relatives during a visit to Belarus, Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarusi reported. Gretzky’s grandfather Anthony Gretzky (Ciarenci Hrecki) was a Belarusian immigrant to Canada. Wayne Gretzky’s Belarusian relatives still live in the Hrodna province of Belarus.
In the early 20th century Ciarenci Hrecki, a peasant from Polesia, together with his wife Hanna and son Zinovi, went to Canada. They fled the war and devastation. Four more of the Hrecki children were born in Canada: Fiodar, Vasil, Kataryna and Voĺha. The family’s history doesn’t mention why, but in the 1930s Hanna and the children had to return to Western Belarus, which was a part of Poland at the time. Ciarenci was supposed to follow his family later on, but he never did.
Ciarenci, without waiting for Hanna, married for a second time. He had more children in the new marriage, including son Walter, the future father of Wayne Gretzky.
Once the Belarusian branch of the Hreckis heard the name Wayne Gretzky, they decided to find out whether they were related. Halina Saldacienkava, Ciarenci’s granddaughter from the Belarusian town of Svislač, recalled that her father Zinovi had for a long time exchanged letters with her grandfather who lived in America. In his letters, the grandfather would often mention Wayne, who he called Vania.
From America came a letter from Albert Gretzky, Wayne’s uncle, and all were convinced that they are relatives. But at the time their relationship didn’t develop into more than an exchange of a few letters. This is the story Halina Saldaciankava told us. It turned out that she and Wayne Gretzky had a common grandfather.