Updated at 14:45,09-03-2021

Biden And Belarus: Atlantic Council Presents Strategy For New Administration

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Biden And Belarus: Atlantic Council Presents Strategy For New Administration
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The Atlantic Council made recommendations for the 46th U.S. President in its report “Biden and Belarus: A Strategy for the New Administration.” According to the authors of the report, Biden has as “a historic opportunity to bring Europe together and reverse the tide of dictatorship by building an international coalition to support democracy in Belarus.”

The authors of the report are journalist and diplomat Andres Aslund, deputy director of the Atlantic Council Eurasian Center Melinda Haring, former US Ambassador to Uzbekistan and Ukraine John Herbst and former US Ambassador to Russia, former Deputy Secretary-General of NATO Alexander Vershbow.

The report contains a number of recommendations for Biden to “to promote the growth of the democratic movement in Belarus, strengthen the current opposition leader, and weaken support for Lukashenko”. The authors believe that Biden should meet Svetlana Tikhanovskaya within his first 100 days as President of the United States.

The president is recommended to appoint a senior official to coordinate sanctions with the EU, the UK, and Canada, as well as to sign a decree on sanctions against “hundreds of Belarusian officials who violate human rights to serve as a deterrent against further escalation of repression”. The authors note that they are ready to submit the list for consideration.

“The United States should refer to Lukashenko as the former president of Belarus. US Ambassador to Belarus Julie Fisher should take up her post in Minsk and visit Vilnius as appropriate but not present her credentials to Lukashenko,” reads the report.



The Atlantic Council made recommendations for the 46th U.S. President in its report “Biden and Belarus: A Strategy for the New Administration.” According to the authors of the report, Biden has as “a historic opportunity to bring Europe together and reverse the tide of dictatorship by building an international coalition to support democracy in Belarus.”

The authors of the report are journalist and diplomat Andres Aslund, deputy director of the Atlantic Council Eurasian Center Melinda Haring, former US Ambassador to Uzbekistan and Ukraine John Herbst and former US Ambassador to Russia, former Deputy Secretary-General of NATO Alexander Vershbow.

The report contains a number of recommendations for Biden to “to promote the growth of the democratic movement in Belarus, strengthen the current opposition leader, and weaken support for Lukashenko”. The authors believe that Biden should meet Svetlana Tikhanovskaya within his first 100 days as President of the United States.

The president is recommended to appoint a senior official to coordinate sanctions with the EU, the UK, and Canada, as well as to sign a decree on sanctions against “hundreds of Belarusian officials who violate human rights to serve as a deterrent against further escalation of repression”. The authors note that they are ready to submit the list for consideration.

“The United States should refer to Lukashenko as the former president of Belarus. US Ambassador to Belarus Julie Fisher should take up her post in Minsk and visit Vilnius as appropriate but not present her credentials to Lukashenko,” reads the report.

Other recommendations include sanctions against companies that handle Lukashenko’s private finances, sanctions against Russian companies and businessmen in case they take over Belarusian companies or support Lukashenko’s regime financially or politically, as well as imposing sanctions on Russian media and journalists participating in propaganda campaigns against the Belarus protest movement.

The Atlantic Council also recommends Congress to “give specific guidance to the State Department that it spend no less than $200 million annually on civil society and media support for Belarus”. Among other key findings and ideas for the Biden administration are:

The secretary of state should designate a senior official to oversee all assistance to Belarus and report on it quarterly to Congress.
The United States (along with the EU) should send humanitarian assistance to the opposition by channels that actually reach them in Belarus.
The secretary of state should facilitate and encourage the unconditional release of and amnesty for all political prisoners, urge the cessation of violence, and insist on an inclusive national dialogue to solve the political crisis in Belarus and then hold free and fair elections.
In addition, the United States is encouraged to use its influence in international organizations such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the UN to ensure their active participation in solving the Belarus crisis by mediating the dialogue, creating additional pressure on the regime, and collecting evidence of crimes to eventually bring the perpetrators to justice.

The document also contains recommendations for managing “Russia’s response to events in Belarus in order to prevent a Kremlin crackdown.” They can be found here.

Founded in 1961, the Atlantic Council was founded to encourage the continuation of cooperation between North America and Europe. It provides a forum for international political, business, and intellectual leaders. The organisation manages ten regional centres and functional programs related to international security and global economic prosperity.

The council is not legally linked with the US government or NATO. The organization’s events are often attended by American politicians and officials, including ex-presidents, as well as NATO staff. In 2019, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office called the Atlantic Council an undesirable organization.