Expert: America's Policy Towards Belarus is Not Clouded by Oil and Politics

Aug 12, 2013, 08:31 ET from Belarusians in Exile

NEW YORK, Aug. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Andrey Suzdaltsev, Russian political scientist and expert on Belarus, believes that the dictatorial regime enforced in Belarus by president Alexander Lukashenko is a result of the political power play between the EU and Russia, two superpowers that aim to patronize the country. In an interview with 'Belarusians in Exile', a New York-based human rights organization, that aired on New York's 87.7FM radio, Suzdaltsev said that the EU is very careful with Lukashenko as many EU member-states depend on trade with the pariah state: they buy oil, potash, and chemical products.

Belarus, a small country in the heart of Europe, is often called "the Europe's last dictatorship" because of its authoritarian ruler, Alexander Lukashenko, who took control of the country nearly 20 years ago, since then dismantled most of the democratic institutions, such as free elections, independent media, and political competiveness. Both the US and the EU consider Belarus as dictatorship that violates human rights.

Suzdaltsev, who lives in Russia since he was banned from visiting Belarus, says: "Europe sees Belarus as a giant pipeline that transports oil from Russia to the EU. Therefore, it has to treat it very carefully. The US, on the other hand, is not dependent on trade with Belarus and therefore its policy towards Lukashenko is unbiased. The US believes that the regime is corrupt and violent, and that it should be sanctioned." 

'Belarusians in Exile' and other human rights organizations that aim to restore democratic institutions in the country, have repeatedly called on the EU and the US government to expand sanctions against the Lukashenko regime until all political prisoners are released and new democratic elections are held. Andrey Suzdaltsev says: "All companies that are currently under sanctions are personally controlled by president Lukashenko, and the revenue from these companies is used to finance his regime. Sanctions are effective and should be extended."

Andrey Suzdaltsev joins other political experts, politicians, and celebrities, including Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans, actor Jude Law and human rights lawyer Jamison Firestone, who believe that the EU and the US should expand targeted sanctions against the Lukashenko regime while basic human rights are systematically violated in the country.

Ilya Lushnikov, 'Belarusians in Exile' spokesperson, says: "Experts agree that economic pressure on the regime is the most effective way to force Belarus to respect human rights. We will continue working with international institutions and politicians to ensure that they are aware of the situation in Belarus and support banning trade with the dictatorial regime."

Ilya Lushnikov
Belarusians in Exile 
+1 (646) 583-2525

SOURCE Belarusians in Exile