Updated at 18:18,16-07-2018

Hans-Georg Wieck: The EU must stop bargaining with the dictator

Deutsche Welle

The EU countries should shorten the amount of purchased oil products from Belarus and boycott the ice hockey World Championship.

Hans-Georg Wieck is one of the oldest German diplomats and functionaries. He headed the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), was the ambassador of Germany to the USSR and the constant representative at NATO. From 1998 to 2001 he headed the consultative and observatrtion mission of the OSCE in Minsk.

Today Hans-Georg Wieck heads the association Human Rights in Belarus based in Berlin. A whole number of recommendations to the European leader regarding Brussels policy towards Minsk is there in the report published by the civic initiative recently. Wieck explained the essence and the meaning of the put forward suggestions in an interview to the Deutsche Welle.

- It is about the ice hockey World Championship, which is supposed to take place in Minsk in 2014. You call for boycotting it. But the championship is also an opportunity for Belarusians to directly meet western hockey supporters, it is arrival of journalists from all over the world to the country…

- Look, Alyaksandr Lukashenka is a huge hockey fan and an active player, who participates in competitions arranged by him. For him a hockey World Chapmionship is an opportunity for self-assertion for him.

History had bright examples of sports festivities used by dictators to demonstrate that the whole world worships them. It is enough to recollect only the Olympic games in Berlin in 1936.

A boycott of the hockey Championship would painfully strike Lukashenka. People would see, that he had deprived them of a festivity. But the International Ice Hockey Federation stands for arranging the championship in the Belarusian capital. The issue is contentious, in is not off the agenda.

- You are also suggesting the European Union to decrease or completely stop purchasing oil products from Belarus. But who would suffer the most from such sanctions: the regime or the population?

- They will all suffer. So far only the companies are under sanctions headed by people from Lukashenka’s close circles. The sanctions impede them doing more or less black market business. But the Lukashenka regime is subsidized from Russia by beneficial oil supplies.