‘Real Stalinism’. Belarus officials may face sanctions, MEP warns

Michael Gahler. Photo: European Parliament / Flickr

In an interview with Deutsche Welle, German MEP Michael Gahler held out a prospect of sanctioning Belarusian authorities on the back of the underway persecution of dissidents.

“The situation has aggravated, it is clear that the regime is in panic. All the hopes and expectations we have had in the run-up to the presidential election are being tested now. And we now need to think of our response, i.e.whether we should change something in the so-called resilience package for Belarus; its adoption is entering its final stage. I would not start with revising the visa facilitation agreement which is to take effect on July 1, because such measure would hit [Belarusian] people. But our hopes that some political changes will take place in Belarus, that the citizens’ wishes will come true, are very slim now,” the MEP said.

According to him, the European Union expects the authorities’ putting an end to intimidation and persecution of political opponents and civil society; they also call on to release political prisoners, including Syarhei Tsikhanouski, Viktar Babaryka, Pavel Sevyarynets, and not to bar potential contenders from taking part in the presidential race.

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The politician called Belarusian officials’ actions ‘real Stalinism’.

“We demand that the regime stop acting like that. If this does not happen, we will have to resort to the measures from the arsenal that we have for such cases. We can start with imposing individual sanctions on those responsible for what is happening. Their visas might be revoked, their accounts might be blocked. But at the moment it is still uncertain, we have not gone so far yet,” Michael Gahler stressed.

If one brings to notice the sanctions slapped on Russia, they can understand in what fields restrictions are possible in relation to Belarus, he added.

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