21 January 2018, Sunday, 23:11

Congressman Smith: Lukashenka and Assad may ask for asylum in any country


The dictator and his henchmen have a chance to avoid the international tribunal.

This opinion was expressed by chairman of the US Helsinki Commission Congressman Christopher Smith in an interview with the Russian service of Voice of America.

He also spoke about the difference between the Magnitsky Act and Russia's response – Dima Yakovlev Bill, the current situation in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

He says Lukashenka will remain in power because he uses force and controls people resembling Nicolae Ceausescu, whose secret police was effective and cruel. He notes that all dictatorships are temporary. They fade and erode from inside unless they are changed by other systems of government. No dictatorships live forever, they all disappear sooner or later, the congressman says. If Lukashenka wanted to leave heritage after him, he should begin to speak about perestroika and glastnost, like Gorbachev did. It's never late to do so whatever terrible crimes he and his henchmen committed. Mr Smith gave an example of South Africa and Salvador, where people unite around the leader, who wants to turn to democracy. The politician says the US, waiting for changes, will impose sanctions on the country within the frames of the Belarus Democracy Act. He is confident the more the US and the EU support Belarusians struggling for freedom, the shorter Lukashenka's days will be.

Christopher Smith compared the Belarusian head of state with Slobodan Milosevic and Ratko Mladic, who stood The Hague Tribunal for war crimes.

He said they had been committing terrible crimes for some period of time torturing people and jailing them without trials, but it ended. As for Lukashenka, the congressman hopes that either people  Lukashenka's circle will start reforms, either they will fly to another country and ask asylum there, like Syrian Assad can do. Lukashenka used to be a close friend of Milosevic, but there's no more Milosevic, Mr Smith noted underlining his confidence that Belarus will enjoy all benefits of the real democracy in the future.