In the European Parliament held a debate about pre-election situation in Belarus, which was extremely inconvenient for Lukashenka’s regime evaluate. Despite nalazhivatsya in the relations of Minsk with the West, after the elections, Belarus will likely wait for the European sanctions. Multi-vector policy of Lukashenka, which was directed against Russia, put “Europe’s last dictator” in an extremely vulnerable position.
Prior to the debate, MEPs had before it the report of the EU high representative for foreign Affairs and Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell. He outlined the main themes of the debate: the persecution and arrests of civil society activists and opposition candidates for the presidency, a violation of human rights in Belarus and the relations of Minsk with the EU.
“We call for respect of human rights. We insist in contacts with the Belarusian side that the recent developments (and hurdles journalists and the harassment of opposition) should be discontinued,” said Borrell, promising that the European Union will closely monitor the election because they “will be very important in planning further actions and define our relationship”.
On the other hand, the head of European diplomacy quite complementary spoke about how the European-Belarusian relations have developed in recent years. He recalled their rapid development, in particular the recent visa agreement, as well as the active participation of Belarus in the “Eastern partnership”.
“We must remain open to further development of our relations with Belarus and to continue to podderjivat Belarusian identity and independence,” said Borrell.
Borrell did not make any individual assessments of and attacks on personality. However, the deputies of the European Parliament in this respect was less restrained.
Speakers at the debate were not shy to talk about the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko as a person who bears personal responsibility for the events in the country. There were a lot of calls to tighten sanctions against his regime. The deputies insisted on the need to develop a clear European strategy for cooperation with Belarus.
The only unusual these debates the opinion was expressed by the Spanish MEP Manu Pineda, who described the situation as an attempt to influence the election in a country that is considered an ally of Russia. “Such actions were dangerous in the past: for example, when we strive at any cost to change the government in another country, it sometimes leads to the fact that it appears Ministers-Nazis, as in the case of Ukraine,” said Pineda.
However, the popularity of his point of view is not used. “It seems that this was said in support of Mr. Lukashenko. — replied the Deputy from Germany Michael Gallery. Just be prepared that after 26 years people of Belarus are tired of this regime. They want changes. Don’t we call for change, do the people in the country.”
The debate in the European Parliament have demonstrated that the position of the West towards Belarus is at least twofold.
As explained in conversation with “Газетой.Ru” the Deputy Dean of the faculty of world economy and world politics HSE Andrew Suzdaltsev, this is due to the difference of approaches of European and American establishment and Western society.
Lukashenka and his entourage, spending quite a difficult election campaign, are trying to exert influence on the position of the establishment. According to the expert, this campaign is largely focused on the West, and its closest analogue from the presidential campaign of the former head of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.
Lukashenko announces Russian intervention in the elections, to announce the individual candidates Russian agents of influence, holds a raider seizures of property “BGB”, the conflict continues the discussion of gas prices. Thus, according to Suzdaltsev, Lukashenka counts on the support of their actions from the West.
“The Belarusian foreign Minister Vladimir Makei meeting with the ambassadors, explains that
they don’t simply grab opponents of Lukashenko in the elections, and catch the “Russian agents”. This is done in order to loosen Lukashenko’s hands. They are trying to obstruct Russia”,
— says Suzdaltsev.
Anti-Russian policy of Lukashenka have become apparent long before the current presidential campaign. Over the past 20 years, the Russian ally did not make a single step in the direction of Russia on a point of principle for Moscow issues: there is consistency in the framework of the Union state, there is no recognition of Crimea as part of Russia, there is no recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, there is a fuel supply and dual-use goods to the Ukrainian military.
“The foreign policy of Minsk is completely different from Russian and is directed against Moscow. Therefore, for the West, Lukashenka is very beneficial, especially given the constant scandals, constant attempts of Minsk to destroy all the integration associations — from the Union state and the EEU.
This is a unique weapon against Russia, which Russia itself pays”
— says Suzdaltsev foreign policy orientation of Minsk.
While Alexander Lukashenko is successfully managed to continue to impose Russia’s image as an ally. The truth about allied relations with Moscow for the whole of the current campaign, he is remembered only once, the day before the trip to Rzhev, apparently hoping that Moscow will speak in support of it.
Thus Lukashenko is ideal for the West figure. But Western policy determines not only the establishment. There are members of the national parliaments and the European Parliament, representing the views of the public. And the public, as shown by the last debate today, several different views on the situation in Belarus. They believe Lukashenko is the leader of an authoritarian regime, undemocratic and unable to hold fair elections.
It is because of this position in the last month and there is a heated discussion of possible responses to events in Belarus, including the imposition of sanctions.
“On the one hand, the ruling circles are absolutely satisfied with the figure of Lukashenko’s anti-Russian weapons paid for by Russia. And a few European public does not understand this nuance and looks on Lukashenko as a dictator fascist who does not fit into the design of Europe”, describes the situation Suzdaltsev.
The expert does not doubt that under pressure of public opinion, the establishment will be forced to respond to the political situation in Belarus:
“The sanctions will be. There’s no doubt about it. They will be introduced immediately after the election.”
At the same time to expect that on the background of the loss of support from the West, Lukashenko will again turn to Russia, is not necessary. Proclaimed a few years ago multi-vector policy, in which Lukashenko has tried to balance between Russia and the West has led to the frustration of Moscow.
“The radius of the balancing in a natural way reduced. And Lukashenko is not able to balance. He ruined relations with Russia, but was unable to win the unequivocal support of the West,” — says Suzdaltsev.
To the election of the head of Belarus fit in very poor condition. He not only lacks support from the outside, but inside the country, where despite the detentions and the banning of candidates there is a serious willingness to protest vote. “Lukashenko — it is the most difficult of his career the situation” — sums up the expert.