Updated at 17:11,20-07-2018

Western experts: One cannot deal with Lukashenka


Leading western experts released a report "Democratic Change in Belarus: A Framework for Action". The report, prepared by analysts from the Center for European Policy Analysis and Freedom House, represents their views on political and economic future of Belarus.

No one can deal with Lukashenka

The report contains recommendations both for western politicians and Belarusian opposition and civil society regarding the actions that would lead to change of power in Belarus and launching reforms to establish the market economy and democratic rule in the country. The report advances an idea that reforms in Belarus can be carried out only after Alyaksandr Lukashenka is removed from power and rules out a possibility of holding a dialogue with the acting authorities as a way to transition to democracy and market economy.

Economic recommendations

The authors of the report advise the Belarusian opposition and civil society leaders to look at the hands of the government when it sells important entities and make public every case of privatization below the market price. In these cases, privatization should be cancelled after removal of Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

The authors offer the West to apply more pressure on the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka by extending economic sanctions on other Belarusian entities, for example Belaruskali, Beltransgaz, MTS, Minsk Automobile Plant, Mozyr oil refinery. The authors also urge the US and the EU to state unambiguously on financial assistance to Belarus – loans from the IMF and other western financial institutions should be issued only after the release of political prisoners.

Political recommendations

Among political recommendations, the report emphasizes the importance of efforts of the West to release all Belarusian political prisoners, extending financial aid to Belarusian democratic activists and civil society and providing more support to the actions against information blockade of Belarus.

Belarus must be regarded by the West (especially by the United States) as a country belonging to the West’s zone of strategic interests, not as a country that attracts attention only due to human rights violations, the report says.

A carrot for officials

The West should make a more clear message to Belarusian high-ranking officials that today’s travel and economic sanctions will be replaced by generous financing if Belarus chooses the way of democratic and economic reforms.