28 July 2021, Wednesday, 12:45
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Sanctions Spiral: What Measures Will Bring Lukashenka To His Knees

Sanctions Spiral: What Measures Will Bring Lukashenka To His Knees

A forecast for Belarus.

Following the rigged elections in August 2020 and the crackdown on peaceful protesters, the EU imposed three new sanctions against the Lukashenka regime, including travel bans, and froze the accounts and foreign assets of officials involved in electoral fraud and repression. Today, 88 individuals and seven legal entities from Belarus are on the EU blacklist, according to an article on Deutsche Welle.

Sanctions spiral

Lukashenka himself was again banned from entering the EU since November 6, 2020. But that did not stop his regime on May 23, 2021, from forcing a Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius to land in Minsk to arrest opposition blogger Raman Pratasevich. In response, the EU closed the airspace for aircraft from Belarus.

Further economic sanctions against such important industries as the production of mineral fertilizers may come into force as early as the end of June. On June 21, EU foreign ministers will officially announce the introduction of a broad package of already agreed penalties. These sanctions will cover the oil and gas sector of Belarus, the export of potassium, the production of phosphates and tobacco products. The requirements for dual-use goods that can be used by the Belarusian security forces will become tougher, the last exemption from the embargo on arms supplies to Belarus, which concerns certain types of sports weapons, will be lifted.

The United States also announced new, much tougher restrictions.

An exceptional measure is complex economic and financial sanctions, such as disconnection from the international payment system SWIFT, which affect the entire economy. With regard to Belarus, such a measure is currently being discussed.

Which sanctions are most effective

An analysis of Deutsche Welle's data on sanctions that have been imposed around the world since 1995 shows that the travel ban was effective only 36 percent of the time. That is, in a third of the cases, the sanctioned state met the requirements.

Financial sanctions, targeted and not only, during the same period, were effective in 41% of cases. Broader sanctions were even more effective. This is especially true of canceled or suspended military cooperation (46%).

The best indicator of the effectiveness of sanctions - in 55 percent of cases, was achieved with relatively rarely imposed sanctions, such as flight bans, closure of seaports, severing diplomatic relations or expulsion from international organizations. They are categorized as "Others" on the chart.

This performance indicator calculation is based on an analysis of the Global Sanctions Database, a joint project of the Institute for World Economy in Keele, University of Constance and Drexel University in Philadelphia. In this dossier, the research team has documented more than 1,100 sanctions, as well as their results, based on media reports.

Forecast for Belarus

The experts interviewed emphasize that the unity of the countries imposing sanctions is a decisive factor in efficiency.

The more major countries or state unions support restrictive measures, the more difficult it is for the states affected by the sanctions to mitigate their consequences due to the limited room for maneuver.