Belarus: President Alexander Lukashenko’s veiled threat to protesters | Belarus Protests
Latvian and Estonian Foreign Ministries publish extended sanctions lists of Belarusian officials
KIEV – Alexander Lukashenko said in connection with possible sanctions from the West that Minsk and Moscow can jointly meet their needs in the economy. He said this on September 25 during a meeting with the Governor of the Irkutsk Region Igor Kobzev, RIA Novosti reports..
“[…] And we realized that despite the fact that it is not easy for us, Belarus and Russia, in this situation, we can easily do without them (Western countries),” the media quoted him as saying.
As Lukashenka put it, “why do we all the time suffer about these sanctions, as if we do not have a self-sufficient economy?”
“We have a very well developed industry, in Russia and Belarus, agriculture is well developed, we can feed and clothe people…, enough resources, a good scientific and technical base… What are we missing? We need to get together, outline general plans and act, providing our people with everything they need, “he said..
Meanwhile, on September 25, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and Estonia published extended sanctions lists for Belarus..
“The Belarusian authorities have not changed their attitude towards peaceful protests. Demonstrations continue to be discredited, force is disproportionately used, the blocking of websites of independent media is increasing, criminal cases are being opened and data carriers are being seized, ”the Latvian Foreign Ministry said and added that the list contains 101 officials.
The Latvian list includes representatives of the Presidential Administration of Belarus, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and subordinate institutions, the Ministry of Communications and Informatization, the Central Election Commission and other departments.
The Estonian list includes 98 people who played “a key role in falsifying election results in Belarus and in using violence against peaceful demonstrators”.
“We express our attitude to what is happening in Belarus through the sanctions. The presidential elections on August 9 were neither free nor fair, and their results were rigged, ”said Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu.
According to regional media, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which previously agreed to boycott electricity from Belarus after the launch of the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant (BelNPP) there, have developed a common approach to this problem – now the electricity imported into the Baltic market must have proof of its origin. confirming that it was not produced in Belarus.
After the “inauguration” of Alexander Lukashenko, Ukrainian officials spoke about the situation in Belarus.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted on September 24 that Ukraine supports the position of the partner countries and the European Union regarding events in Belarus and calls on the Belarusian authorities to find a dialogue with the people.
“If the authorities do not find an opportunity for dialogue with their relatives, this power will not exist. And here Ukraine will always support our partners, and here we are like-minded people with all European countries, ”President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, according to his press service..
Let us remind you that the inauguration ceremony of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, which the press calls “secret” or “secret”, took place in Minsk on September 23. For the first time, the solemn event was not announced in advance, it was held without television broadcasting and without inviting international delegations..
The Belarusian opposition reacted to this event with another wave of protests that have not stopped since August 9, the date of the presidential elections. The first mass arrests of participants in spontaneous actions after the “inauguration” began at the stele “Minsk – Hero City”, where several thousand people gathered, reports the National News Agency “Ukrinform”.
In the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the inter-factional group “For Democratic Belarus” adopted on September 23 a statement that “the dictator and self-proclaimed President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko held a closed ceremony of” inauguration “at the Palace of Independence in Minsk”.
Sanctions are a death sentence to the regime
Belarus will not withstand the onslaught of sanctions, and the words of Alexander Lukashenko about the potential of the republic are empty bravado and nothing more, says an expert at the Center for Political Science Research Oleg Sahakyan.
“This is more a pose than a demonstration of the strength of the Lukashenka regime. In many ways, its stability was based on the ability to maneuver and balance between the European Union and Russia. These were operations with American oil and trade with Lithuania – “windows” that he had left to balance with Putin, “Oleg Sahakyan tells the correspondent of the Russian service of” Voice of America “.
The political scientist notes that the “Belarusian window” of opportunities for Alexander Lukashenko was based in the triangle of relations between Minsk, Brussels and Moscow, and until recently was also a “window” for Russia during the EU and US sanctions..
“It sounds comical, but Belarus was an economic and commercial window for the Kremlin. Famous Belarusian oysters and shrimps, ham, and other European products allowed Russia to communicate with the West, ”Oleg Sahakyan said..
A new round of tough EU sanctions against Lukashenka, in his words, “this is a death sentence for his regime.”.
Economic resilience is nothing more than words
Leader of the Razam (Together) solidarity movement, Belarusian oppositionist Viacheslav Siuchyk notes that the words of Alexander Lukashenko about the stability of the Belarusian economy do not correspond to reality.
“With the introduction of serious sanctions against Russia and Belarus, it will be clear that the team will have to change its leader. Words about the development of Belarus – only Lukashenka could think of such a thing. One has only to threaten the European Union and not buy Belarusian gasoline, let’s see what remains of the Belarusian economy, ”Vyacheslav Siuchyk says to the correspondent of the Russian service“ Voice of America ”.
He stresses that real sanctions have the same effect on any dictator in the world..
“In relation to Russia, sanctions can have exactly the same effect as against Belarus. After all, the dictatorship in Russia and Belarus was built on the sale of oil and gas to Europe. Real sanctions would have done their job – no Lukashenka, no Putin would remain in power, ”emphasizes Vyacheslav Siuchyk.
When asked about the possibility of negotiations between representatives of the Belarusian civil society and Alyaksandr Lukashenka, he replies that “there will be no negotiations until the complete surrender of the dictator”.
On the benefits of sanctions
Political scientist, expert of the Agency for political consulting “Media Fabrika” Alexey Kurpas notes that the Belarusian economy, all Belarusian exports are 55% dependent on Russia.
“And for energy resources – by 98%. The imposition of sanctions will further drive the Belarusian economy into Russian bondage. Belarus would benefit not from sanctions, but loans and negotiations with the European Union and the opposition. The republic used to maneuver between the European Union and Russia, and now it will try to save its economy at the expense of Russia, ”Aleksey Kurpas tells the Voice of America correspondent.
He recalls that the Belarusian authorities have been criticized by the West more than once, but in the current situation, it is obvious that Russia, through the hands of the West, expects to strengthen even greater integration with the union republic..
“No matter how many rounds of sanctions, protests in Belarus, which we can call democratic and against the dictator, as a result, only Russia wins. At the same time, the West remains a hostage of its actions – it cannot act differently, ”emphasizes Aleksey Kurpas.