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Opinion: No illusions about Western support for democracy in Belarus

There should be no illusions about Western support for Belarusian democracy. At least until the victory of the latter. Almost everything that EU governments do today is either symbolic gestures or the realization of their national interests in the...

There should be no illusions about Western support for Belarusian democracy. At least until the victory of the latter. Almost everything that EU governments do today is either symbolic gestures or the realization of their national interests in the Solidarity with Belarus wrapper.

❗ A month has passed since Aliaksandr Taraikouski’s murder in the center of Minsk and the torture of hundreds of peaceful protesters in the detention center on the Akrestsin street. There are no sanctions. Brussels is still discussing a list of people barred from entering the EU for fear of introducing Lukashenka (who not only refuses to travel to the EU, even if invited but openly accuses the West of plotting against Belarus).

❗ Remember the decision of the EU to allocate 53 million euros to the “Belarusian people”? Of this amount, only three million are going to be sent directly to the victims of the sadism of the security forces. 50 million has to go to fight the coronavirus. What the authorities will do with the money, given that they have long declared their victory in the battle against Covid-19 remains a mystery.

❗ Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine have started a whole competition to attract Belarusian IT companies. Have you heard about the transfer of fired workers there? And I have not. I have heard only about inviting potential investors.

In most cases, any Western support for Belarusian democracy has been limited to the following: to help so that almost all funds remain in their own country. For example, in form of payments of hotels for conferences, the organization of seminars, or educational projects.

Belarusian state propaganda likes to talk about the West showering “the opposition militants” with dollars. This is said by people who have no idea about transparency, control over funds and bureaucracy in the West.

Of course, better this support than no support. But at the moment only two things really matter: what is happening inside Belarus and how much money Belarusians abroad can raise for their compatriots at home.

Dźmitry Hurnievič

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