Valery Belsky. An archive photo
MINSK, 4 December (BelTA) – EU economic sanctions, in whatever form they are adopted, will harm Belarus in a short-term perspective. Whatever the scenario, no one in Belarus is going to panic, Doctor of Economics Valery Belsky, Assistant to the President of the Republic of Belarus, said in an interview with BelTA.
According to him, the “Belarusian issue” is still trending. It is still a matter of concern for the EU political elite which finds nothing better than to drag the yellowish book with sanctions recipes from the old chest. Again we hear bellicose rhetorics against the Belarusian state authorities. Again they promise us big problems. “Nothing new is happening for our country. Cyclical changes in the mood and rhetoric of Western officials from elections to elections have become familiar: from non-recognition to deepening cooperation – two steps forward, one step back. A kind of political seasonal allergic reaction, against which no means of prevention and treatment have been found yet. Yesterday we were going to build together a branch of the gas pipeline from European LNG terminals, discussed projects within the framework of the Eastern Partnership, reduced the cost of Schengen visas and suddenly bang – everything has gone down a hole,” Valery Belsky noted.
“The country is beautiful and clean, and its people are kind, educated and hospitable. However, it is not good enough for someone, as they keep finding ‘flaws’ with it saying that the country is too independent and proud, ‘undemocratic’, ‘non-European’. Belarus sticks to its traditional values, has its own opinion, takes tough action on murderers and embezzlers. It is not obstinate, but it rejects pressure. The country is easy to understand, but it is also different, not compliant with EU standards. Belarus primarily caters to the interests of the people living here, their culture, spiritual and political traditions. Differences are not a reason to launch an ‘economic Hiroshima’ as malevolent political dissidents want calling for the destruction of their own country.
Valery Belsky noted that the opposition representatives who have not found meaningful support in the Belarusian society are looking for support in high foreign offices, relying on sympathy and support for their obsessive desire to overthrow the legitimate government of the country. The pinnacle of ‘political activity’ was the persistent calls by the presidium of the self-appointed coordination council of the opposition to impose economic sanctions on citizens of Belarus and companies that opposed ‘strikes’.
“Franak Vyachorka, Tikhanovskaya’s advisor, echoing the statement of High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, suggested slapping economic sanctions against some 400 Belarusian companies at the request of the team of the former presidential candidate. These sanctions probably target strategically important enterprises – the largest taxpayers of the country. This comes amid a sharp increase in the government spending to compensate for the economic losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prevent the spread of infection, and provide medical care for COVID-19 patients. Additional healthcare costs made up hundreds of millions of Belarusian rubles. Are these people sure they wish well to the country they were born in?” Valery Belsky asked.
In his opinion, European economic sanctions, whatever form they take, will certainly harm Belarus in a short-term perspective, will slow down the country’s economic growth, and will certainly affect people’s living standards.
“The economic impact of the pressure is already considerable (some long-term commercial and investment contracts have been canceled due to the increased risks, loan costs increased as a result of inflation and devaluation expectations). Our country does not need sanctions: neither to demonstrate self-assertion, nor to mobilize the development mechanisms. However, regardless of any scenario, no one in Belarus intends to go into panic. The advocates of economic sanctions should worry that we might resort to seizing their assets and possessions as a compensation for economic losses of the country and companies,” Valery Belsky noted. “Every cloud has a silver lining. The sanctions will put an end not only to the protests but also will disillusion some of our politicians who sought rapprochement with the EU and who thought that the EU treated us badly because we did something wrong. Having drawn conclusions and adjusted our policy, we will be able to act more confidently, without expecting even a fraction of reason and compassion of European bureaucrats,” he added.