Updated at 23:19,25-10-2016

David Kramer: IMF must not give credit to Lukashenko

"Today, there are two possibilities, so that Alexander Lukashenko has been able to avoid a major threat to his 17-year leadership of the country", - this opinion in an interview to Rossiyskaya Gazeta voiced the president of human rights organization Freedom House David Kramer, who during the previous U.S. administration was the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Freedom and Human Rights.

In Department of State he supervised the relations with Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova.

"One of them is associated with a possible credit from the IMF, but, in my opinion, this variant has no chance, and I believe that major donors of the IMF should clearly state that under the present circumstances it is impossible. And the second is a large-scale privatization of Belarusian enterprises and this may help Lukashenko to withstand for some time,"- said Kramer.

As the head of the Freedom House thinks, "economic sanctions against Belarusian state-owned enterprisers do work and it can be illustrated by the example of 2007 when the U.S. imposed sanctions against Belneftekhim. Then, two months after the imposition of sanctions representative of the Belarusian authorities came to the U.S. Embassy in Minsk and offered to release political prisoners in exchange for the cancel of sanctions. This proves that in the past, sanctions had an effect. "
"I would say that the steps recently taken by the EU on sanctions of Belarusian state-owned enterprises will also have the effect, especially considering that now Minsk is in the much worse situation than in 2007,"
- said Kramer.

According to him, "what's going on in Minsk and other Belarusian cities shows that the bottom knocks out of feet of the government."

"Despite the violent methods of Belarusian KGB, people continue to come to the streets and peacefully protest, and, nevertheless, the government cannot tolerate this. They are not able to completely block communications via the Internet, most of which, incidentally, are conducted in Russian through social network Vkontakte. People lose their fear and take the risk of being arrested or injured just because they got tired to endure. Besides, it is clear that Lukashenko is rapidly losing his support: according to public opinion polls, cited by the Belarusian opposition, his rating has fallen below 30 percent and not it stands at around 25 percent. No doubt, the methods used against demonstrators will only intensify this downfall," – said Kramer in the interview.