Chavusau: The regime knows Europeans’ “sore spots” very well

between the EU and Belarusian authorities.

Euroradio: Another group of political prisoners were released yesterday. The other political prisoners are expected to be set free by October. How do you think, can the release of these activists and politicians affect the democratic movement?

Yury Chavusau: “We should be wary of the future. If the opposition did not unite in a situation of total repressions, it is unlikely to unite when the repressions are relaxed. I suspect that the release of political prisoners may be used by the regime for some sort of manipulation. However, political prisoners must be released – this is an unambiguous requirement for the stabilization of the situation in the country.

I do not agree with the forecast that Lukashenka will immediately release all political prisoners. I think that he will be taking his time until the end. The practice of releasing them in small groups will be protracted and will continue after October too”.

Euroradio: How do you think, will the West start playing Lukashenka’s game again or will it wait for the release of all political prisoners? 

Chavusau: “Human rights and the release of certain people are a humanitarian problem for the EU – it is more important than a general change of the situation in the country. I think that there is no alternative to Belarus-Europe dialogue. Lukashenka will use political prisoners to involve the West in this dialogue. There have always been a lot of people wishing to start a dialogue in the West and the tactics of mutual involvement and concessions will continue”.

Euroradio: Belarus does not lack active people that can be “imprisoned” and “released”. It seems to be a long-term process…

Chavusau: “Mr. Byalyatski’s situation demonstrates that the regime knows how to touch European’s sore spots very well. The problem of the release of political prisoners has been combined with the prosecution of human rights defenders. Concessions in this sphere are more important to the West than any moral damage connected with the allocation of credits”.

Euroradio: Can Belarus get credits from the West?

Chavusau: “It is unlikely at the moment. Belarus does not fulfill any terms neither in politics not in the economy. The EU’s ideas about reforming the economy have not been used by Belarus. There is no sense fulfilling political demands if the economic terms have not been fulfilled. The IMF will not give any credits anyway.

Gradually, after the release of political prisoners and the involvement in a dialogue, Belarusian lobbyists will appear in Europe. They will lobby Belarus’ crediting because there is a great threat of our country being swallowed up by Russia. It is a rhetorical threat but Europe thinks that it is is real. I suspect that if the situation in Belarus reaches a state of collapse, credits and investments will be allocated on political terms. It is inevitable”.