Minsk anticipates to lower sensitivity threshold of Western capitals to repression in Belarus

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March 27, 2017 11:31
Image: RFE/RL

At a meeting with Rapporteur on Belarus of the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Andrea Rigoni, President Lukashenka talked about the need to continue the dialogue with European institutions. Minsk suggested that the EU lowered demand in respect for human rights and democracy in Belarus and limited to moderate criticism. Simultaneously, the authorities have changed tactics in relations with Western capitals; they recognized some problems in the human rights field and talked about their readiness to improve the situation with democracy gradually. Minsk reiterated the issue of the moratorium (or abolition) on the death penalty to cover up tighter repressions and to soften criticism from European officials. Most likely, the Belarusian authorities hope to continue improving the Belarusian-European relations by making medium-term concessions on the death penalty, e.g. not issuing death sentences or not carrying out executions within the next year. In addition, Minsk reckons that the EU would reduce its sensitivity to human rights violations by inertia due to the ongoing dialogue with the Belarusian leadership, the geopolitical factor and the role of Minsk in deterring the Kremlin’s aggressive foreign policy, as well as by stretching the application of severe repressive practices in time.

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