The EU and Belarus: Carrot and stick

Society
Corruption in Belarusian: 124th place in the world rankings. Riddles petition: whether the disqualification after the mass finish. Carrot and stick: the European Union continues to freeze sanctions, but intends to cooperate. These topics — in the next "Week of Radio Liberty," which is the director of the Belarusian service of Radio. Analysts involved in the transfer of Yuri Drakakhrust, Jan Maksimyuk and Vitaly Tsigankov.

Lukashuk: Facts and elections — 124. It is a place of Belarus in the current corruption perception index, which is promulgated by the international organization Transparency International. Last year Belarus was 139th. Ian — which means this place — improving the situation?

Maksimyuk: Belarus divides 124-130 seats together with Ecuador, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Syria, East Timor and Uganda, with the index of 2.5. Just a list of 178 countries. Last year Belarus was on the 139-m site and had a 2.4 index. Thus, the improvement index is one-tenth of one percent. The situation in Ukraine and Russia recognized even worse — the index of Ukraine — Russia and 2.4 — 2.1. The best of all post-Soviet countries is as Estonia, which at index 6.5 is ranked 26th after France. For general orientation, as is the situation with corruption in the world, this index is certainly useful. However, do not make too distant terminals.

The Corruption Perceptions Index, to determine which organization Transparency International began in 1995, has been repeatedly criticized. There were calls to stop all his attention on the determination that it is very subjective. And it is easy to see why. Corruption — is generally something well hidden from the public eye, and there is no objective and understandable to all measurements to measure corruption. Transparency International uses surveys of experts in individual countries as to how they assess the level of corruption. I must say that there are countries in which bribing officials is an integral part of the culture of political and social life, and therefore there is the corruption look very differently than in countries where you can get a bribe to prison for several years. By the way, corruption, as a legal concept in the codes of the Arab countries was introduced only in 1990.

LukashukVitaly, and how it is low — a shameful place in the ranking of perceived corruption corresponds to the Belarusian reality — corruption is perceived as an absolute evil?

Tsigankov: I think the key word here is "perception of corruption." It seems to me that corruption in the broad sense for ordinary Belarusians not a mortal sin. Helping to move your relative or friend to gain privileges in order distribution business, to appease public -then checking gifts or going to the restaurant — all this is quite ordinary phenomena of life, which is not perceived by many as a sign of corruption. Without this, the entrepreneur can not solve the problem. I'm not talking about gifts to doctors or teachers, or pay off the traffic policemen without documents . All this is taken for granted in fact.

In the public mind, I think, Belarus is seen as srednekorrumpirovannaya country. On the one hand, people know the facts of corruption, and realize that it is. On the other hand, our people tend to believe that the Belarusians — more honest people, more equitable, so it is generally considered that the level of corruption just a priori can not be too high.

Lukashuk: I quote from The Wall Street Journal: "Corruption occurs when the company closed, no power control, there is no penalty for giving and receiving bribes."

Yuri — a description of Russia, which for the year dropped from 146 th to 154 th place, making it the most corrupt country in Europe. What is the difference from Belarus?

Drakakhrust: This is the correct explanation, in general, the average free and open societies are less corrupt. But in the current Transparency International rating of Belarus on 127-m site, and 134m, the worst location — Ukraine, a state where competitive elections are held, where the press is free, and society is much more open. 134th divides Azerbaijan and Ukraine — authoritarian, closed society.

As for Russia, its propensity is due, in my opinion, it is also the oil curse. Almost all the countries that have oil and gas resources — quite low in the ranking of perceived corruption. If the state is living mainly from resource rents, its division generates corruption phenomena unknown to countries that lack of resource wealth.

Returning to the formulation of WSJ, it should be added that Belarus is quite common punishment for corruption — we constantly hear about the arrests of government officials and business executives. In Russia it happens much less frequently, which affects the perception of corruption. And I remind you that it is perception, not corruption per se index measures the Transparency International.

Lukashuk: Out of one of the most exciting stages of the election campaign — collecting signatures for candidates. It lasted a month longer, by the way, what time that will be allocated for the election campaign.

This step has brought some surprises. In the beginning of the campaign, many experts predicted that in addition to the incumbent cherished gather 100,000 signatures 2-3 candidate. In the middle of the week that they overcome this barrier, said more than 10 candidates.

Yuri, the difference between the current phase of the signature collection campaign at the appropriate step of previous campaigns?

Drakakhrust: It differs significantly. I recall in 2001, the team collected signatures of 18 candidates, but only four were able to overcome the barrier of 100,000 — Gajdukevich, Hancharyk settings, Home and Lukashenko. Then, by the way, the results of collecting signatures for Lukashenko was modest — about 400,000. According to the CEC, while 100,000 signatures were able to gather such well-known politicians in the country, as Zenon Pozniak, Sergei Kalyakin Leonid Sinitsyn. Member of the campaign Viktor Tereshchenko then gathered only 62,000 signatures.

And this year the milestone of 100,000 was available not only for him but also for many other candidates, including little-known such as Vitebsk businessman Vladimir Pravalski. However, this is still by their words.

As the old joke about the old man who complained to the doctor that his wife may be once a week, and his neighbor says he can every day. "So you say," — a wise doctor advised.

It is possible that some of the candidates that wisdom and guidance.

But it seems that this year's campaign to collect signatures did go through a more active and lively. Indeed, some of the candidates on the picket lines were even queues. However, the bulk of the signatures provided detour apartments, but the situation on the picket lines — an indicator. Maybe this is more characteristic of Minsk, but the changes in the electoral law abolished the rule according to which the signatures must be collected uniformly across the country. You can collect in a Minsk, where he lives every fifth voter.

< strong>LukashukVitaly, and what features of this phase of the campaign would have you noted? What struck you? In your opinion, what are the reasons that so many candidates is relatively easy, according to them, have collected 100,000 signatures, which was unsupportable for many famous politicians in past campaigns?

Tsigankov: I would not say, by the way, it's so easy. Indeed, in addition Neklyaeva other opposition candidates, who may be recorded, collected signatures, in fact teetering on the brink of cherished numbers.

And the main reason, it's pretty liberal environment campaign. Nobody rides collecting signatures, they can stand in virtually all locations. No traditional election campaign of intimidation of political activists, in fact we do not hear about layoffs from work and landing on the day. Besides, some of the candidates have good financial resources, allowing them to attract new people to the campaign, expanded the range of traditional political activists involved in these companies.

Lukashuk: Quick question — the disqualification. In your opinion, how many presidential candidates have been registered for this time of the CEC?

Tsigankov: The Power of registers Tereshchenko, as he's sparring partner, and Neklyaeva, Romanchuk, Sannikov Kastusiou, Michalevic because, in addition to any other reasons, are unlikely to be grounds for not registering the candidates. On these politicians are working quite experienced and professional team, and I think that the number of errors in the signatures they collected were objectively minimal. In addition, non-registration of any of these is now fairly well-known politicians will be perceived as a significant scandal, which, it seems, the authorities do not really need. So seven with Lukashenko. Regarding the suspension — possible that the Lukashenko remove Neklyaeva, but it will conflict scenario elections. While the power to choose another, the so-called liberal, but it can happen, that he would go to another scenario

Maksimyuk: On this question I had to answer recently in an article for the Bialystok "Journal", who asked me to make an analysis of the pre-election situation in Belarus. I replied that I register a 6-7 candidates. So here we have to repeat the same prediction.

Drakakhrust: It seems to me that all the eleventh Yet Yarmoshina nothing to say, "For your ears will pull." This corresponds to a government plan to turn the election into a circus to outsiders created the impression of a meaningless fuss and stoked favorites. And also for Europe and the picture with her plans — which won the rampant democracy in Belarus, candidates for every taste.

Lukashuk: Earlier this week, the EU Council decided to issue a visa sanctions against Belarusian government officials. The third time was extended for the status quo: the sanctions against 41 individuals extended for another year, at the same time on the same 12 months, they are frozen with respect to 36-year ones, including with respect to the Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko. The sanctions are effective for 5 persons: Chairman of the CEC Lidziya Yarmoshyna and former government officials, which the European Union suspected of involvement in the abduction of political opponents — Vladimir Naumov, Yuri Sivakov, Dmitry Pavlicenco and Viktor Sheiman.
What does this decision, which sends a signal to the European Union of Belarus? Yang

Maksimyuk: In the matter of visa sanctions against Belarusian government officials for several years a tendency EU to maintain a balance between the two signals from Brussels. The first signal is: if in Minsk will be real progress towards democracy, the sanctions will be lifted at all and you can return to normal relations. This signal is encrypted in the decision to freeze sanctions on 36-year government officials. A second signal is: sooner or later, Minsk still have some things to pull up to European standards, and there is no compromise. This signal is encoded in the decision to extend sanctions against Ms. Yarmoshyna, which is a symbol of non-democratic electoral system in the country, and against persons suspected of involvement in the kidnapping of political opponents of the government. In general, the EU decision to impose sanctions was expected. Anyone interested in the situation in Belarus is now waiting to see how elections will be held.

LukashukVitaly, and how the decision was taken in the European Union of Belarus, as it responded to the government and the opposition, in whose hands is the trump card of the current election campaign?

Tsigankov: Surprisingly, in contrast to previous years, this time the reaction was rather sluggish. Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh expressed a standard set of the Belarusian authorities, saying that Belarus' attitude to this dual decision, the decision is wrong, but the official Minsk welcomes the intention to continue the development of cooperation with Belarus, including at the highest level.

But it is not very responsive and the opposition, as the solution expected, there is maintenance of the status quo. This is a continuation of the EU policy towards Belarus, which began in 2008. It is the policy of dialogue, Belarus to join the "Eastern Partnership" to criticize the opposition did not want to, but there is nothing to praise. Well Milinkevich on our TV said that the decision is normal, because it supports the continuation of the dialogue of the official Minsk and Europe.

Here at Brussels evident lack even the former level of interest in Belarus. And the elections have not raised interest. Maintaining the status quo suits Brussels.

Lukashuk: As far as the decision of the Council of the European Union has affected the conflict between the official Minsk and the Kremlin, which has dragged on for a few months? Yuri, what do you think?

Drakakhrust: To a certain extent, I think, affected. As he said in an interview with our radio MEP Justas Paleckis this time because of the Belarusian-Russian conflict in the discussion did not have any voices that called to strengthen sanctions, cancel "freeze" is not allowed into Europe not five, and all with a 41-second person involved in the "black list."

Indeed, in the current context, if sanctions tightened, it would mean that Europe gives Lukashenko to the massacre Moscow, or at least the presence of the deal between Moscow and Brussels on Belarus. Conversely, if their is now completely abolished, it would be a signal that Europe is considering the situation in Belarus, as a geopolitical zero-sum game: anything that will lose Russia, the European Union has a win and vice versa.

But the decision that was made, Brussels remains with the policy space: Minsk makes it clear that the doors are open for convergence, but the convergence is not close eye on all the features of the internal policy of Belarus. And Moscow is given a signal that the EU will lead his party in Belarus.

Lukashuk: Decision of the European Council on sanctions was expected. But the unexpected was the information that emerged this week that the European Commission has developed a five-year plan of cooperation with Belarus. For the first time after the accession of Belarus to the Eastern Partnership, the EU stands with the new conceptual initiative on Belarus. What is its essence, and the chance that she appeared
in the midst of an election campaign in Belarus?

DrakakhrustThis is an important document. Its content has not yet made public, the debate in the EU on it in November. In those reports, which are able to obtain, we are talking about a very specific projects in a variety of areas — energy, transport, the legal system, but also political reform. However, prior to the implementation of these proposals is still far, by its nature is not an ultimatum, they say, do what you will get it, and proposals that have yet to be agreed with the official Minsk.

Time of occurrence information about the new terms of cooperation can play a dual role. Although there did not indicate that this cooperation program for the next 5 years, it is with Lukashenko, but according to some in Europe have already resigned to the fact that the acting head of Belarus will retain his post and the case would have to be with him.

But you can look in a different way. And in the document, and the statement of the European Council this week noted that the course of the presidential elections in Belarus will be essential to further cooperation between Belarus and the EU. This may have implications for the elections to be held more or less decently, it is possible that outlaws during the collection of signatures, it is by default a response to the needs of Europe.

Had many different plans, it is possible that the European Commission and the new proposals will suffer the fate of their predecessors, in particular, the Eastern Partnership. But in any case, the appearance of the plan — a specific response in Europe at the Belarusian-Russian conflict, evidence that the EU is trying to improve relations with Belarusian partner uncomfortable.

Lukashuk: Ian, how do you rate the appearance of this document?

Maksimyuk: Of course, judging only by the information that there was a plan in draft form and will be discussed in Brussels, it is difficult to say something clever about its practical value. As they say, to dance tango, you need two people. So it is here. Voice of Minsk about such a plan or "road map" will be, in my opinion, is decisive. And to hear that voice, we must still wait. I am reminded of how many different plans and "road maps" arose in Brussels on Ukraine, when it was headed by Viktor Yushchenko. Many of these documents are signed for execution by both parties. But come Viktor Yanukovych, Yushchenko and all plans to gradually forgotten, and Yanukovych began composing with Brussels plans and the "road map." There may be a similar situation. Brussels write a proposal of cooperation and adopt it, and Alexander G. worships her and say that there is something he does not like or do not like it all. The possibility that he might like, I do not admit.

Lukashuk: And now a question to all three experts — on the outcome of the election week. What event of the election campaign last week seemed particularly important to you?

Maksimyuk: A message that already 11 people have collected more than 100,000 signatures needed to register a presidential candidate in the election. If this proves true, and these people are registered, you can say that in Belarus in the public mood is something really moved.

Drakakhrust: Of course, the parade of hundred-thousanders. Which one is the call Neklyaeva telling the truth and who is not quite who plays the scenario of the authorities, and who is not — could not answer except that octopus Paul, who passed away this week. But it seems that this parade opens the possibility of an entirely new electoral situation, which was not yet in the modern history of Belarus.

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