On January 25 the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly adopted a resolution with recommendations to the CE member countries to impose on Belarus the same sanctions, which the EU has already imposed, in case of non-compliance with the requirements of the country's democratization. The resolution went further for consideration to the CE Cabinet of Ministers.
Belarusian politicians evaluate offers of the PACE in different ways. Co-Chairman of Belarusian Christian Democracy party Vital Rymasheuski supported the resolution and noted that "in these conditions it is proper, and probably the only possible solution, and also the signal of what Belarusian authorities can expect from the EU and all the democratic countries in the near future if the situation don't change for better".
Political analyst Ales Lahvinets agrees with the BCD leader: "This is the statement of concern over the deadlock situation, where the Belarusian authorities have set themselves against the organization, which includes all European countries except Belarus itself".
Viktor Ivashkevich, leader of the civil initiative called "Belaruski ruh" don't believe in further adoption of the resolution by the CE Cabinet of Ministers. The politician explained that imposing sanctions against Belarus is not profitable to many members of the Council of Europe (in particular, to Russia which has a large goods turnover with our country and voted against the resolution), and therefore won't be applied. Thus, the resolution has a decorative nature and is rather aimed to meet public expectations. "These MPs are hoping to obtain an indulgence: they allegedly cared about human rights and democracy in Belarus. And never mind, the document won't find a real strength then".
Why then the EU didn't hesitate to impose an embargo on oil supplies from Iran, but at the same time such limited actions are proposed against Belarus?
"Economic sanctions are introduced not at once, even against countries like Iran, because the politics of democratic countries is different from the politics of authoritarian state. There is no undisputed tough ultimatums at once, but there is an understanding, they should provide time and chance to a country, to make a step forward. Therefore, today's resolution from this point of view is not the imposition of severe sanctions, but a serious signal that such sanctions will follow", believes Vital Rymasheuski.
According to Ivashkevich sanctions against Iran are connected with the development of nuclear weapons there.
"If the EU is not worried about its own safety, it wouldn't impose sanctions, even if they hanged half of Tehran. You know, there is a Belarusian proverb: "When you really want to hit a dog, you'll find a stick". Perhaps they don't care at all of the issue of democracy and human rights in Belarus. But they are concerned about public opinion and political struggle for voters", Victor Ivashkevich skeptically concluded.
Latter point of view puts the sharp question of liberation and rehabilitation of political prisoners in Belarus. It should be noted, the adoption of the PACE resolution coincided with the press conference of Andrei Sannikov's wife Irina Khalip, where she stated about a serious threat to the life of former presidential candidate and other political prisoners.