TsigankovFebruary 11, come into force the economic sanctions of the United States of America against the Belarusian enterprises "Lida lyakafarba" and "Polotsk-Glass." These measures the U.S. — a reaction to the dispersal of a peaceful opposition rally in Minsk on December 19 and the mass arrests of its members.
Let's try to assess the economic impact of the introduction (or, more precisely, the recovery) of U.S. sanctions.
Why turnover decreased by 4 times?
Fedorov: For the answer to this question should be reminded of events. In November 2007, sanctions were imposed against "Belneftekhim", a few months later in April 2008, the sanctions were extended to all the companies included in it. Then it caused great indignation of the Belarusian authorities, which led to a reduction in the number of diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Minsk and Belarusian representative in Washington and New York.
But in the fall of that year, after Belarus there have been some changes that have been released Alexander Kozulin and other political prisoners, the United States has imposed a moratorium on sanctions against businesses "Lida lyakafarba" and "Polotsk-Glass." And, as far as we know, the Americans asked the Belarusian side, which businesses Minsk would like to exempt from sanctions, Minsk and showed it to these enterprises. Therefore, until recently, until today, these sanctions have not worked.
There are U.S. data on turnover between Belarus and the United States. In 2007, the sanctions, it was about a billion one hundred million dollars surplus in favor of Belarus amounted to 930 million. In 2008, when sanctions were already operating, the turnover actually increased slightly. And in 2009, when sanctions were lifted, the turnover decreased to $ 700 million, and last year — up to 285 million. It is difficult to say, there is a direct correlation of the sanctions. Perhaps during the moratorium on sanctions these companies, fearing that sanctions are resumed, shifted to other markets.
Tsigankov: I think that there are sanctions on the side, and not just the immediate effect. American business is not going to a country against which the U.S. government to impose sanctions, the investments do not go … On the other hand, if such a small trade turnover between Belarus and the U.S., Belarus had nothing to lose and in relations with Washington?
Lahvinets: It is obvious that the indirect effect of sanctions is. Components of attractiveness in the global economy next — good laws in the country, security of property rights, knowledge of languages, the international authority of the country. Electoral processes in Belarus call abroad unambiguously negative assessment, and this indirectly affects the economic decisions — to develop relations with Belarus or not.
Therefore, these sanctions have a significant impact, they can cause serious adverse effects. Therefore, the Belarusian authorities should seriously think about.
"Belarus is really unlikely to have the list of the top priorities of U.S. foreign policy"
TsigankovQ: Can I say that political relations between Belarus and the United States are now frozen, they are not anything significant. Even the return of sanctions is perceived as something ordinary. With advance President Bush, the U.S. government is often performed on the Belarusian issue. But Barack Obama seems to have never even uttered the word "Belarus". Or not found Minsk, that Washington is not up to it?
Fedorov: This was the situation before December 19. In fact, Belarus is not mentioned in the speeches of U.S. leadership, but we can not say that there is nothing changed. As we know, on December 1 last year in Astana OSCE Summit an agreement was signed between Belarus and the United States. It consisted of two parts — the first for the withdrawal of highly enriched uranium from Belarus, noted the need for a second movement in Belarus towards democracy and human rights. If Minsk was totally not interested in contacts with the United States would not have this second part was on.
Tsigankov: By the way, after the events of December 19 or the said agreement is valid?
Fedorov: As for the second part of democracy and human rights, then there is hardly anything to say. And what about the output of uranium — I believe all the acts. At least there was no information that the agreement is suspended.
Lahvinets: Belarus is really unlikely to have the list of the top priorities of U.S. foreign policy. As at last our entire region of Central Europe. There are other challenges for the Americans, more important and scary.
"Not only mode, but most citizens are separated from the intense relations with Western partners"
Tsigankov: The European Union has decided not to impose economic sanctions, limited only visa. Can it be said that the U.S. and Europe play a role of a good cop, bad cop and conduct a common policy, but in different ways? Or is disagreement between Brussels and Washington in the Belarusian issue still exist?
Lahvinets: Today the Belarusian regime to some extent has its germetychnasts and protection from the elements, as it is able to reallocate resources within the community and close those holes that cause the most problems.
If we talk about the differences in the approaches of the U.S. and Europe, we can not say that much attention to Belarus increased in recent months. Were made very important statements, but the EU really is not ready for the introduction of economic constraints. This is due, on the one hand, and the position of countries such as Lithuania, Latvia, Italy, and the other — the other understanding of the situation and geopolitical factors in our region. I do not think the U.S. can go even further in nakladvanni sanctions on the Belarusian regime. They are now just returned to the decisions that have been taken during the Republican administration, which is more specifically expressed in the protection of human rights and freedom across the world.
Fedorov: Indeed, the European Union, unlike the United States can not take such a drastic solutions, like the U.S., since it exists in this respect great difficulty — 27 countries should speak with one voice. But in the end it turns out that Washington and Brussels do play the role of the evil and the good cop.
LahvinetsThe question still is whether the West is ready today really turn to Belarus and the Belarusian involve civil society more closely. Through increased travel, more Belarusians visiting the West and vice versa. We know that there are problems in the European Union to take a positive decision on the visa issue. There are big problems for Belarusian citizens wishing to visit the United States — it is very difficult to get a visa. It turns out that not only the regime, but most citizens are separated from the intense relations with Western partners.