Zisser: Sanctions gave no result
'Regime lobbyists' get more active along with resumed negotiations between Minsk and Brussels. But what are they lobbying for?
Even “perverted” opposition members, “corrupt” businessmen and representatives of the civil community say that the EU sanctions have yielded no result. But why?
“There is no result!” owner of Reliable software Yury Zisser is very emotional. “The sanctions were imposed to promote democracy in our country, to introduce fair and free elections, to release political prisoners. Do you think that there is a result?!”
The sanctions promote confrontation in the Belarusian society, worsen the conditions for political prisoners and prevent Belarus from going back to the 2008 level of relations with the European Union, the businessman thinks. They are bad for entrepreneurs too. The value of Belarusian business has decreased, Zisser complained. And it does not matter whether the business belongs to the regime or has nothing to do with it financially.
Yury Zisser: “A Canadian company had to pay us 3 thousand dollars. The company did pay, but we did not get the money: the payment was transferred with the help of Bank of America because it was in U.S. dollars. But the bank did not look into the sanctions: it simply blocked all transfers to Belarus. It is easier and more convenient for them. This is the real result of these sanctions!”
Head of Brussels office For Democratic Belarus Volha Stuzhynskaya agrees with Zisser from the civil community’s point of view.
Volha Stuzhynskaya: “The imprisoned people are still in prison. There have been no dramatic changes. On the contrary, the relations with the EU and between people have been narrowed. It has affected the society in a negative way.”
Leader of the Movement For Freedom Alyaksandr Milinkevich thinks that the visa sanctions are a moral punishment for Belarusian officials. He does not mind these sanctions. But economic sanctions do damage. And political prisoners suffer most.
Alyaksandr Milinkevich: “No sanctions have ever released political prisoners in Belarus. And I do not think that this is going to happen now. Sanctions do not release political prisoners, but a dialogue can do it. It will be the third time a dialogue may help release them.”
Political scientist Yury Chavusau agrees that a dialogue can help release political prisoners. But a game cannot be called a dialogue…
Yury Chavusau: “The concessions regime can make under such pressure are simple: this person should be released. However, when it comes to acquittal, the regime can start playing games.”
What has made these people express their opinions about the EU sanctions? Many people have understood that the sanctions are inefficient, Yury Zisser thinks.
Alyaksandr Milinkevich: “Many people thought that saying that economic sanctions are not necessary would sound like a betrayal of political prisoners. It is a mistake. I think that the majority have already understood it.”
The politicians and experts who “did not believe in efficiency” were immediately labelled “regime lobbyists”. “They attacked from all directions,” Yury Zisser complained.
Alyaksandr Milinkevich: “It is unacceptable to be called a betrayer and Lukashenka’s agent. But it was people’s reaction! The current situation is so tense, Belarus’ independence is in danger and we cannot remain silent. It concerns influential people most.”
All “the lobbyists” say: the release of political prisoners is not being discussed and it is the top priority. The EU administration and Stefan Fule agree with it.
Photo: Zmitser Lukashuk, toxaby.livejournal.com