Sous: 31 January the EU imposed sanctions against the Belarusian leadership for the deployment of the country's wave of mass arrests. Simultaneously, the U.S. imposed visa bans and economic sanctions against the "Belneftekhim". In your opinion, what distinguishes these sanctions on those who had been introduced earlier in relation to Belarus? Will have the effect of these sanctions?
Sheremet: The current sanctions in contrast to all previous European action distinguished by the fact that the adopted fast enough, they are accompanied by a rather tough rhetoric and, most likely, will be continued. As to the U.S., they are more consistent, more drastic, it is absolutely clear that European politicians and policy makers in the U.S. have a feeling that the Belarusian the president is no longer running the country as much as it was five years ago. In his hands the fate of Europe in Belarus, because it is through economic sanctions, Europe can dramatically change the situation in the country. And already understand that gratuitous financial aid from Russia will not save the Lukashenko regime in the case of economic sanctions.
Europeans are more cautious than Americans. European bureaucrats in the policy such as immoral as Russian bureaucrats. They are very pragmatic and think only about money. But it is inadequate behavior of the Belarusian authorities, this wave of repression that can not stop, will push Europe towards unity against Lukashenko and to further tough action.
Sous: U.S. Senators John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman in a joint article called on Russia to join the joint targeted sanctions against the United States and European Union representatives of the Belarusian regime. Today, however, the Russian Foreign Ministry called the "counter-productive" decision of the EU and the U.S. to impose new sanctions against Belarus. In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the sanctions are "politically motivated" and aimed at undermining the "socio-economic stability in the country." On your experience, how Russia will use to its advantage the sanctions against Belarus?
Sheremet: Of course, Russia will not impose any sanctions against Belarus, especially when it comes to political sanctions. It is impossible to deny entry to the Russian Belarusian citizens Belarusian officials, because there is no border at all. With regard to economic sanctions, it is difficult to demand something from Russia, even if Europe does not introduce economic restrictions against Lukashenko.
But whether Russia will be able to use the current situation to their advantage? Certainly, will seek to do it. But not through the purchase of loyalty Lukashenko, not through huge loans and cheap oil. In Moscow, there is a clear understanding that Lukashenko impossible to deal with what happened to him, too, need to lead a tough dialogue. And so now Russia will pull out some islands feet Lukashenko, but this process is very difficult. There is also a feeling that Lukashenko starts political counterattack. He is clearly working against Putin, because he does not want his return to senior posts in 2012. He is clearly working on the weaker Medvedev and actively playing to the active Russian opposition. The situation is quite complicated, but interesting.
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