19 July 2024, Friday, 22:02
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“The China Syndrome”

18
“The China Syndrome”

Lifting of the EU sanctions against Alyaksandr Lukashenka has become a sensational event in the life of Belarus. It has happened despite of the fact that the “parliamentary elections” had been recognised as undemocratic and not free by the world community. Over the last week it has become obvious that many people understand the meaning of this event in a polar opposite way. And it is getting rather dangerous now.

“The United Democratic Forces support partial lifting of the sanctions. We are for this formula fundamentally. And today we differ with the decision adopted in Luxemburg on one person only, on Alyaksandr Lukashenka,” said the ever-optimistic chairman of the United Democratic Party Anatol Lyabedzka in an interview to Deutsche Welle.

A well-known German political analyst and lobbyist, director of Russia and CIS Programs for the Foreign Policy Council of Germany, Alexander Rar, is also very pleased.

“One shouldn’t forget that Belarus is opening for privatization not just for Russian investors. Western firms are applying pressure on our governments for them to start a concrete dialogue with your country, and then the business would go there too. Everybody wants to gain money on the Belarusian market which is not so little and which is situated in the centre of Europe”.

Alexander Rar has also noted with unconcealed amusement: “The West sees that there is no organized opposition in Belarus, it is split without one leader”.

“Today most Belarusian citizens support the course of the government and president Lukashenka. The West does not want to wait 5-10 years till something would change in Belarus, the time has come to work with Belarus”, he concluded, meaning by ‘Belarus’ the last Belarusian dictator.

British Lord Timothy Bell who is preparing the visit of Belarusian establishment to the investment forum to London, is also pleased by the prospects.

“Most Belarusians are glad and happy (…).The regime wants to attract inward investment, want Belarusian people to travel freely, they would like the visa sanctions removed from their senior people so they can gain experience of other countries.” Lord Bell said in an interview to Russian TV channel NTV.

The former OSCE Ambassador to Minsk Hans-Georg Wieck, who visited Belarus as well as Lord Bell, evaluates the situation in the country after lifting the elections more shrewdly: “I cannot imagine that Belarusian authorities would make considerably concessions”. He believes that “a so-called Chinese model is being prepared for Belarus, when an authoritarian regime and a liberalizing economy are combined in the country”.

We would like to remind immediately what the Chinese style of the authoritarian regime is. It means massive public executions, dozens thousands of political prisoners, total control of the party over the society, complete “filtering” of political information on the web and so on.

It is clear that the Belarusian authorities are glad to see this scenario in action. On the day the sanctions were lifted, head of the Ministry of Foreign Affaires of Belarus Syarhei Martynau said after a meeting with Javier Solana, EU’s High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy: “The Belarusian government has done a lot to make this day come true. We have appraised the EU’s decision and expected for it to be extended and deepened as our cooperation and ties get closer.”

At the same time, Martynau didn’t say a single word about reforms in the sector of human rights and freedom of speech.

Alyaksandr Milinkevich, leader of the “For Freedom” movement doesn’t see anything dangerous in these events. After a meeting with Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski in Warsaw, he said to Radio Svaboda on behalf the whole delegation of opposition politicians: “Everyone stands for a dialog between Belarus and the European Union that is needed for the people of Belarus first of all.”

“What concerns tempo of the dialog, tempo of softening, steps, which should be made by one of the sides and then by another side, granting or non-granting a visa for Alyaksandr Lukashenka, it is debatable. I don’t think these discussions are principal. Belarus is interested in economic, trading, and political cooperation with Europe, this is principal,” the politician said. In this case, by the word ‘Belarus’ Milinkevich means the same that Alexander Rar understands by the Belarusian regime.

“Not all of the oppositionists understand me. Many of them regard me as a predator. I uphold other views. I continue to think that the European Union should try to talk with the regime,” the former presidential candidate told in an interview to Polskie Radio.

Heads of political parties and Alyaksandr Milinkevich are satisfied with their roles of advisors for Europe. They say proudly that they are preparing a new “road map” for offices of European politicians, forgot that the previous one – 12 proposals of the European Union, hadn’t been fulfilled.

European players, who forgot about their 12 conditions, too, expect just one rather abstract thing from Lukashenka. “One of the new elements of the EU’s resolution on Belarus is connected ... with the hope that the adopted Law on Media will be softened within 6 months,” Polish MEP Janusz Onyszkiewicz told in an interview to Radio Svaboda.

“Softening of the new law on media” - what a “severe” and “concrete” requirement for the Belarusian dictatorship for the nearest 6 months!..

In this situation, leaders of the “For Freedom” movement and opposition parties are trying to persuade pragmatic and cynic Europeans to let them be at least consultants during negotiations between the EU and Lukashenka. But agreeing to a role of the “weak opposition” in someone else’s game, lost an opportunity of breaking up the electoral farce and demonstrating their power, they can hardly count their plaintive requests to be heard.

This estimation may seem rather harsh, but only a realistic view of the current situation will help us to overcome the crisis.

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