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April 25 – May 1, 2022
Belarus-West relations

The Belarusian regime is rapidly losing relevance in the eyes of the West

The situation has gotten better
The Belarusian regime is rapidly losing relevance in the eyes of the West
Блинкен и Тихановская

In response to the Belarusian regime’s calls for resumption of dialogue, the EU and the United States are preparing to impose new sanctions. Lukashenka continues to be perceived as a puppet by Western countries, while the Belarusian democratic opposition seizes the initiative.

Minsk’s attempt to resume communication with Western capitals via Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei’s letter, warning of reduced European influence on Belarus if sanctions pressure continues, was unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Belarusian democratic opposition are seizing the initiative. Belarusian democratic leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya met with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and discussed the Lukashenka regime’ support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and political repression in Belarus.

Tikhanovskaya’s office has also begun to establish practical cooperation with the Council of Europe, consulting with the Secretariat, the Parliamentary Assembly, and the Committee of Ministers regarding matters that correspond to the needs of Belarus and the experience of the Council. On March 17th, the Council resolved to terminate relations with Minsk regime.

As a result of aggression against Ukraine, the EU has begun preparations for a sixth package of sanctions against Russia and Belarus. It is assumed that even more banks from Russia and Belarus will be disconnected from the SWIFT international payment system, including PJSC “Sberbank”. Belarus will be targeted due to its role in facilitating the Russian invasion by acting as a springboard for troops at the beginning of the offensive.

The United States will also impose new sanctions in the near future. A plan from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, developed by a group led by the head of the office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak and former American diplomat Michael McFall, was presented to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin in Kyiv. The plan provides for restrictions against Belarus. , including the expansion of sanctions against the financial sector.

Anticipating further deterioration of the socio-economic situation in the country, the Belarusian regime is amending criminal legislation, which in the future may allow bargaining with the West using “political hostages”. The European Union condemned the amendment to the criminal code introducing the death penalty for “attempting to commit terrorist acts.” Brussels believes the amendment enables further serious abuses, as many political prisoners have been accused of “terrorism” offences, and many democratic representatives and political activists are wanted on charges of “terrorism”.

Having failed to secure the attention of the West, the Belarusian regime is escalating repressive practices. However, this approach will not only further delegitimize the regime, but will also lead to a complete loss of integrity in the eyes of the world community.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of leading Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries to the most topical and relevant issues, including on behind the scenes processes ongoing in Belarus, in Russian and English.
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