Sanctions are on the wane but there's a way out, expert believes
Western countries are beginning to rethink sanctions/collage by Ulad Rubanau, Euroradio
Banning the sale of goods to Belarus will hit the regime harder than the lack of sales in the West.
Belarus and Russia should be recognized as state sponsors of terrorism because only that will allow sanctions to be effective. And the issue of sanctions is much more important than plans for reforms because no regime change is expected in Belarus and Russia in the near future.
This opinion was expressed by Vladislav Inozemtsev, Russian economist and director of the Center for Post-Industrial Society Research, during the "Forum of Democratic Forces," which was recently held in Berlin.
Sanctions work, but not well enough
Sanctions against Belarus undermine the regime, but at the same time they are not enough, the expert noted.
"And they are insufficient not in the sense that Europe or the West do not want to buy from Belarus, but in the context that trade with Belarus continues. At the time of sanctions against Russia, Belarus will act as a transit channel for Russian and sanctioned products," says Vladislav Inozemtsev.
The authorities and businesses will still find ways to export or resell European goods to Russia. Lukashenka's regime has been practicing this for a long time. It is much more important to limit imports from Western countries, as happened, for example, with microchips. Exports, which bring profit to the regime, are not so important.
Belarusian economists have already suggested a number of reform projects for the new Belarus, but it is too early to talk about them, Vladislav Inozemtsev is convinced. After all, so far there is no reason to think that the regimes in Belarus and Russia will fall soon.
"The only question is what the future place of Belarus in the economy of the region of Eastern Europe may be. It is not very topical now, but a year ago, positioning Belarus as a state at the crossroads of European transit routes was a realistic and the best option".
In this case, Belarus should have good relations with both Russia and the West.
"Belarus, as a part of the Union State, could become a strong point for the penetration of European capital, European investments and goods to Russia".
Everything has changed now. We don't know what the consequences of the war in Ukraine will be. My guess is that Russia will be defeated. This will lead to an even greater closure of Russia. And in this respect, the advantage of Belarus as a possible transit bridge will be closed.
This will severely limit the development of Belarus, and this situation will be frozen for years, the expert notes. Only the fall of the regime may change it.
Since the reforms can still be regarded only as an intellectual exercise, we need to focus on the sanctions, the expert believes. After all, Western countries have already begun to rethink them and, in some cases, to roll them back.