"Act on Democracy in Belarus" provides support to foreign broadcasts to Belarus and financial assistance to support democracy in Belarus. On the importance and influence of the "Act on Democracy in Belarus" — columnist Freedom Yuri Drakakhrust.
Reporter: The new "Act on democracy in Belarus" has not yet received, we have not seen the draft of the law. But from what we know, can you say what the purpose of adoption, meaning that it will have?
Yuri Drakakhrust: First of all it is an expression of a moral position. What is happening in Belarus — it is bad, and the United States will contribute to making this change. In the application level, this definition of the political line, the strategy of relations with Belarus. Foreign policy is the president, but the parliament — the Congress and the Senate — is determined to some extent, its conceptual framework. They do not propose to the president, what specific steps to take, but offer a course of action. This in particular means that some steps towards official Minsk administration can only do in response to the noticeable improvement of the situation in Belarus.
In a sense, this limit the room for maneuver for the U.S. government. I believe that, as in the previous version of the law, there will be sections of recommendation, but also mandatory.
For example, the thesis of the previous law, the U.S. can not vote for the loans to the Belarusian government in international financial institutions — it is a prerequisite for the government, and it was carried out. You can not contain, as was done in 2008, when the issue of credit from the IMF, but you can not vote "yes".
How can to understand, the new law provides for the expansion of support for civil society in Belarus, as well as foreign broadcasting on Belarus.
Certainly it is better if civil society in any country has national resources for the existence and actions better when citizens can obtain information from the national media.
But the fact that the Belarusian authorities are not only directly represses civil society and independent media, whether or not it covers the first opportunity for them to get the resources to exist in their country. And foreign support — is not the only way to make this opposition more or less honest.
Reporter And what was the result of a previous version of the "Act", what results it gave?
Drakakhrust: The results of a long-term strategy is not always possible to specify. We can say that since Lukashenko remains in power, and the situation of human rights and democracy in the country is bad, then nothing. But the fact that the Belarusian authorities in 2008 released prisoners went on a dialogue with Europe and certain liberalization, the result was a definite including "Democracy Act", even if the American policy played the role of "bad cop" in tandem with Europe.
We can say that the constant, consistent American pressure, at least, puts certain limits arbitrarily Belarusian authorities. And that is indisputable — the conditions of survival of civil society in Belarus would be much worse if it were not for the generosity of the American people.
And by the way I believe that the Belarusian authorities to respect the heart of Americans more than Europeans: maybe he hates, but respects. In their words with deeds less. And in the face can be given in which case, not only to express deep concern. And to pay for their principles, even on a bad opinion of the Belarusian authorities are ready. In short, the enemy, but secretly respected.
Reporter And what, in your view, is the need for a new law? In other words, what was bad back?
Drakakhrust: I believe that the motive for the adoption of a new "Democracy Act" became the last election in Belarus, and especially after the events of December 19 last year. This is not a return to some 2006, is a new reality and a new "Act" should be a strategic response to this new challenge.
Americans do not pyarechili policy engagement and dialogue, which practiced the EU from 2008 to December 19 last year, they're just not in a hurry to join it. Under the new conditions, when there were certain crossroads, they take the strategic initiative, articulate vision of the situation and the path that will offer and its allies.