As Anti-Lukashenko Protests Continue in Belarus, US Lawmakers Put Extra Pressure on His Regime
Experts on the significance of the document for Belarusian citizens
The Belarusian society positively perceived the decision of the US House of Representatives to approve the draft law “On Sovereignty, Human Rights and Democracy in Belarus” and believe that this is a step in the right direction..
This opinion was expressed by experts interviewed by the Russian service of the Voice of America.
Let us remind you that the document expands the powers of the US President on the issue of imposing sanctions in connection with the rigging of the presidential elections in Belarus in August and violations of human rights in this country. Bipartisan backing bill presented by Republican Rep. Christopher Smith.
Among other things, the document adopted by the House of Representatives calls for new elections in Belarus in a free and fair form in accordance with OSCE standards, recognizes the Coordination Council created by the opposition as a legitimate institution for participating in the dialogue on the peaceful transfer of power and does not recognize Alexander Lukashenko as the “legally elected leader of Belarus”.
The document also establishes that the United States does not recognize the inclusion of Belarus in the Union State with Russia, and allows the imposition of sanctions not only against Belarusian, but also against Russian citizens related to repressions in the neighboring republic..
For the bill to enter into force, it must be approved by the Senate and signed by the President..
Anatoly Lebedko: “We have a paramilitary junta”
The Belarusian opposition politician, director of the Center for European Affairs Anatol Lyabedzka believes that it is still necessary to wait a little, since the document has not yet passed the Senate approval procedure. In his opinion, there are situations that you may not be able to catch up to a certain deadline.
“Therefore, Chris Smith may have to revisit this bill in January,” he suggested in an interview with the Voice of America Russian Service. – But, knowing him well personally since 1996 and having some relation to the first act on supporting democracy in Belarus, I remain an optimist. I think eventually the bill will be approved “.
The politician also admitted that he is glad that the US has a legal act to support democracy in Belarus. According to him, the document has been working for changes in the republic for a long time. “It is important to note that its new version did not appear out of the blue,” he said. “This speaks to the systematic approach of American foreign policy in relation to what is happening in Belarus”.
A completely unique situation has developed in Belarus, Anatoly Lebedko stated: “We have a paramilitary junta, a paramilitary situation. In Europe, this has not happened, probably for forty years, when the number of people subject to repression is approaching 30 thousand. And that’s just what is firmly established. More than 900 criminal cases have been initiated in the country against citizens, and most of them are not some kind of activists of political parties. Of course, it is impossible not to react to this “.
The document adopted by the House of Representatives of the US Congress contains a number of very important provisions, Anatoly Lyabedzka stressed. In his opinion, this especially concerns the illegitimacy of Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
“And if proper cooperation between America and the European Union takes place here, it will be a good start for the future. Therefore, no matter what Lukashenka now undertakes, no matter what acts he signs inside the country and does not try to create new state formations, this will not have legal consequences for the civilized world community, ”concluded the Director of the Center for European Affairs.
Yaroslav Romanchuk: “It is necessary that the values of Western civilization prevail in our country as well”
The head of the Mises Research Center, Yaroslav Romanchuk, believes that the document adopted by the House of Representatives of the US Congress can be viewed as moral, psychological and political support for the Belarusians, who have been fighting for more than a hundred days in the regime of the revolution of freedom and dignity. “It would also be desirable to strengthen support for civil society, support for those initiatives within the country that will ultimately win,” added the interlocutor of the Voice of America. – Not everyone knows that during the Trump presidency, support for civil society in Belarus has been noticeably reduced. Therefore, we expect that the new administration, in the light of the decision of the House of Representatives, will resume assistance in this direction at the levels of analytical and civic structures, women’s and youth organizations. It is necessary that the values of Western civilization prevail in our country as well “.
The situation in Belarus is catastrophic, says Yaroslav Romanchuk. It seems to him that the nature of the peaceful protest in the country should be clear to everyone without exception: “Torture, atrocities and humiliation of people by the security forces look so obvious that any unbiased person, regardless of his geopolitical orientation, will say that this is not permissible. This is not 1937, not Stalin’s camps, and the attitude towards a person should be radically different, especially in places of detention. More than 30 thousand people have already suffered from the actions of the security forces in Belarus. Not a single European country knows this kind of mass repressions against civilians “.
At the same time, the head of the Mises Research Center is sure that any negotiations between the opposition and Minsk should be preceded by the release of political prisoners, an end to repression and violence against people and the recognition by the authorities of violations of the rights of Belarusians on a massive scale. Without this, I see no point in sitting down at the negotiating table, he concluded..