Vital Rymasheuski on international economic sanctions on Belarus
Тhe Council of the European Union made several decisions concerning the sanctions directed at the Belarusian authorities. This is part of the EU reaction to the presidential election fraud in Belarus and the following brutal violations of human rights in the country. The reaction of the U.S. was also very strong and included economic sanctions. Vital Rymasheuski, ex-presidential candidate from the BCD gives his comments about the idea of using economic sanctions against the Belarusian regime:
“We need to understand well that sanctions against Belarus, particularly economic, if applied unilaterally by the EU and the U.S., will inevitably lead to a greater dependence on Russia; and we see that it partially happens already.
The speedy growth of Russian presence in Belarus threatens the country’s independence; it is a mortal danger for us. Russia may become a monopolist investor in Belarus. The loss of economic independence in today’s world is the worst scenario; it can lead to the loss of sovereignty, or simply turn the country into an appendage of a stronger state.
At the same time after 19 December 2010 in Belarus the majority of the independent leaders of the democratic forces of Belarus are under investigation and in prison; repressions against independent democratic organizations and mass media continue. Economic pressure is the only effective means of influence the Belarusian authorities for the release of political prisoners. It is a very painful blow to the government.
Thus, we face a choice: to sacrifice independence or the freedom, possibly health and life of only a few people.
For me personally, actually there is no choice here. I know that by sacrificing at least one person it is impossible to reach happiness for all people. Nobody has the right to sacrifice another person, someone else’s life, health, freedom, even in the name of higher goals. One has the right to sacrifice only his/her own freedom, prosperity, and life.
Therefore, as long as at least one person remains in prison, the international community supported by the Belarusian democratic opposition should be ready to use economic sanctions. The nation or its democratic elite in our case, must be an alternative to the existing regime, and therefore cannot be guided by the same values as the current authorities. Otherwise, Belarus will not have even a slightest chance of change for the better. And it does not matter whether the leaders in prison are our associates or opponents. If we really want their release, we need to agree to economic sanctions.”
The BCD leader Paval Sieviarynets is still in the KGB pre-trial prison. Vital Rymasheuski, the BCD ex-presidential candidate, is under recognizance not to leave Minsk. They are both being accused of organising mass riots in Minsk on 19 December 2010.