Tsikhanouskaya's advisor explains why EU is hesitant about sanctions against Lukashenka

The first package of EU sanctions against Lukashenka’s entourage was adopted on October 2, 2020, the second — on November 6, and the third — on December 17. Since then, the fourth package is also expected to be adopted. However, five months later, there are no new EU sanctions. Why?

According to Franak Vyachorka, international affairs advisor to Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, there are countries where Belarus is first on the agenda. But, then, there are those with other priorities: the coronavirus pandemic, peace in the Balkans, or security in North Africa.

Some countries, especially in Southwest Europe, he says, “believe that the Belarusian issue has calmed down: the crisis is not solved, but there is no escalation. Therefore, the issues in Belarus are being solved more slowly.

“Of course, for foreigners, for the European Union, it’s important to see the picture,” explains Franak Vyacorka. “If there are protests, it means that the people have not come to terms with the situation; the people are struggling. That is a symptom that the country is in crisis. If there are no protests, then it begs the question: is the situation really bad, or has the situation normalized?”

He adds that Tsikhanouskaya’s office responds by explaining that “under a fascist dictatorship, protests are impossible to organize.” People, he says, are now building structures, communicating, but not taking to the streets because it leads to arrests. Vyachorka adds: “We don’t want to set people up – the most valuable thing we have is people.”

That said, this “inconspicuous” protest is also a protest, says Franak Vyacorka, and does not indicate that “people have come to terms with it.” He adds that Tsikhanouskaya calls for building a policy towards Belarus “not based on photos and pictures, but based on values” because the Belarusians “have already shown the whole world they stand for new elections and freedom.”