On June, 10 the U.S. President signed the decree on continuation of American sanctions against Belarusan authorities for another year.
On June 16, 2006 Barack Obama declared a national emergency pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Belarus and other persons to undermine Belarus’s democratic processes or institutions, manifested in the fundamentally undemocratic March 2006 elections, to commit human rights abuses related to political repression, including detentions and disappearances, and to engage in public corruption, including by diverting or misusing Belarusian public assets or by misusing public authority.
‘The actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Belarus and other persons continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, the national emergency declared on June 16, 2006, and the measures adopted on that date to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond June 16, 2014,’ the notice to the Congress says.
The list of persons in it is annually renewed, though Belarus President Aliaksandr Lukashenka, the secretary of Security Council, Chair of the KGB, and the head of the Central Election Committee are permanently in the list.
Apart from Mr Lukashenka, the US sanctions target his eldest son Viktar, presidential aide for national security since 2005; Lidziya Yarmoshyna, chairperson of the central election commission since 1996; Viktar Halavanau, who was minister of justice in 2006; Viktar Sheyman, the then state secretary of the Security Council who is currently special presidential aide; Dzmitry Paulichenka, the then chief of the Special Rapid Response Unit (SOBR) of the interior ministry; Stsiapan Sukharenka, the then chief of the Committee for State Security (KGB); Aliaksandr Zimouski, the then chairperson of the Belarusian State Television and Radio Company; and Natallia Piatkevich, the then first deputy head of the Presidential Administration who is currently presidential aide.
At the same time, Aliaksandr Lukashenka believes that ‘there is no need to be afraid of sanctions of the West because Belarus and Russia can cope with them together’. The West has, in fact, started to escalate the tensions by imposing certain economic and financial sanctions, he said at the informal meeting of five heads of state in Moscow on 8 May.