NEW YORK, Feb. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Frustrated that after 19 years of rule by Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus finally turned into a dictatorial state, reminiscent of Orwell's dystopia, influential Belarusian politicians call on the EU to take real action against the Lukashenko regime.
In an interview with New York radio 87.7FM, Anatoly Lebedko, a prominent Belarusian politician, head of the United Civil Party, said: "Belarus has already become a copy of the Soviet Union. Lukashenko pulls it back into feudalism." The opposition leader refers to the infamous decree #9, which prohibits workers to switch or quit jobs, a measure dubbed as 'slavery', and to the so-called 'law of organized inaction', which prohibits belarusians to gather in public places, even without any political agenda.
In his interview with the New York radio, organized by Belarusians in Exile, a non-profit group that aims to bring attention to the human rights crisis in the Republic of Belarus, Mr Lebedko said: "Belarus is in need of the Marshall Plan. There must also be an immediate release of all political prisoners and new, free elections."
Lebedko believes that this can be achieved only with strong support from the US and the European Union, in particular, through economic sanctions: "Targeted sanctions against specific government officials and companies linked to «the family» are completely justified." (According to the Belarusian slang, "The Family" is a group of state officials and businessmen closely connected to Alexander Lukashenko).
'Belarusians in Exile' and other pro-democracy organizations have appealed to the European Union requesting to expand sanctions against companies and individuals who support and finance the Lukashenko regime, such as exporters of oil and potash that generate over 70 percent of hard currency for Belarus. According to the Belarusian organizations, sanctions must be in place until the country holds the elections that are up to the OSCE standards.
If the elections are in fact free and unbiased, Lukashenko will not win, according to Anatoly Lebedko: "Today, Lukashenko is not capable of winning any elections in the country, neither presidential nor parliamentary."
Proposals on sanctions against the Lukashenko regime from Belarusians in Exile and other prominent Belarusian groups are being reviewed by the EU.
BiE is a US-based non-profit organization aimed at supporting democratic institutions in Belarus.
SOURCE Belarusians in Exile