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Belarusians under sanctions or Ukrainians under bombs. Who is worse off?

Until February 2022, the EU and USА sanctions against Lukashenko’s regime were mostly synchronized. The potash and petrochemical sectors of the economy were equally restricted, but there were loopholes in the sanctions adopted. The regime circumvented them through European firms, controlled or corrupted by the Lukashenko regime.

The situation changed fundamentally after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, supported by the Lukashenko regime. The EU and the USА are unable to fully synchronize their approaches to sanctions pressure against the aggressors, as they began to act independently, faster and more decisively.

The EU promptly eliminated most of the loopholes, but imposed only minor restrictions on the financial sector that could not seriously affect the regime. Moreover, the regime adapted quickly enough to circumvent them. The USA, in its turn, quickly included several Belarusian banks into its sanctions lists, but did not deprive the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus of the possibility to use its reserves.

So far, the sanctions have not achieved their goals: neither in terms of depriving the Lukashenko regime of the financial means to retain power, nor in terms of meeting the demands of the Belarusian people, because the regime does not consider them a significant threat to its chances for survival.

Sanctions against the two aggressors must be synchronized. All the measures taken against Russia are important to apply against the Lukashenko regime as well, because any difference allows him to smuggle, which for a long time was the main source of income for the closest entourage of the main smuggler of the 21st century — Lukashenko.


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