Kramer - Pressure Should Be Exerted on the Dictator”Belarus 2010: Presidential Elections, Political Stability and Foreign Relations” was the title of the discussion presented by the School of Advanced Studies (SAIS) at the Johns Hopkins UNiversity in Washington, D.C. Different aspects of te subject were presented by Orest Deycakiwsky (see his preceding article), historian Taras Kuzio and David Kramer, with Mitchell Orenstein of SAIS, as the chair and discussant.
David Kramer, executive director of Freedom House, formerly Assistant Secretary of State in the Bush administration was a strong proponent of the U.S. and EU imposed sanctions against Lukashenka’s regime. The sanctions’ objective was to make Minsk adequately investigate murders of oppositional politicians and journalists, and to release political prisoners.
Lukashenka and a number of his retinue members were banned from visiting Western Europe and the U.S. Besides, sanctions were imposed on a number of Belarusian enterprises in which “Lukashenka and his retinuehad a personal interest”, According to Kramer, The sanctions did finally fulfill one goal. After long talks Minsk released the political prisoners.
However, EU chose to temporarily lift the sanctions, expecting to persuade Lukashenka not to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the breakaway Georgian provinces
As a result, Lukashenka started to visit the EU countries, and recently a number of European politicians visited Minsk on official visits. That, according to David Kramer “creates an impression that EU stakes its hope on his help in maintaining independence of Belarus from Russia”
He believes that to be a wrong practice:
“Lukashenka uses the West against Russia and vice versa expertly, sometimes he even throws together the EU and the US.” Kramer does not expect that the upcoming election would meet international standards and finds it necessary to continue exerting pressure on Alexander Lukashenka’s regime.
This article appeared in
Belarusian Review, Vol. 22, No. 4
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