#19 - JRL 8340 - JRL Home
August 23, 2004
USA prepared to crack down on Belarus president
Democratic challenger John Kerry has already supported the above-mentioned draft project about democracy in Belarus
The USA intends to take more efforts to remove Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko from his post. US Senator John McCain stated last week that the American government would fight to free Belarus from tyranny. John McCain is one of the senators and congressmen, who offered to expel Russia from the Group of Eight.
According to the Kommersant, the senator is one of the politicians, who initiated the draft project about democracy in Belarus. The document has been recently submitted to the House of Representatives and to the US Senate. According to the document, the American government is to assign considerable funds to the Belarus opposition. Certain Belarussian officials will not be allowed to enter the USA, the strategic export and state investments to Belarus will be banned. The document also stipulates there will be efforts taken to cut the financial help to Belarus on the part of international financial institutes. In addition, Belarus will have to expose the export of weapons to terrorist-supporting states and publish the data about the property of Lukashenko and the people from his team.
Sen. McCain specified that the liberation from tyranny does not imply a military incursion in Belarus, albeit it does stipulate the 'international pressure.'
A spokesman for the Belarussian opposition, deputy Vitaly Frolov (who is currently staying in Riga too), could not conceal his happiness talking about the USA's intention to interfere in the internal affairs of Belarus. According to Frolov, the power will change in Belarus within the forthcoming two years. Frolov said it would probably happen already in autumn, but not later than 2006.
In 2006, Belarus will hold the presidential election. Alexander Lukashenko will most likely participate in the election, although the government will have to arrange a referendum, at which voters will express their opinion regarding the possible change of the national constitution. According to the amendment, the head of state will not be allowed to take the position of president for more than two terms. If Lukashenko runs in 2006, it will be his third attempt to take the office.
The Belarussian government has had a successful experience in changing the national law. In 1996 Belarus held the recall vote to change the Constitution, which let Lukashenko extend his authorities until 2001. According to the amended constitution, Alexander Lukashenko remained the head of state for the second term. Western politicians expressed their concern about the changes in the Constitution of Belarus, but Lukashenko stayed at power anyway.
It will be a lot more difficult for Lukashenko to stay at power under current conditions, the Kommersant wrote. Russia is not likely to support the Belarussian president after a series of notorious scandals. Needless to say, Lukashenko will have to face huge problems and difficulties in an attempt to cope with Washington's pressure.
Nevertheless, it would be too early to forget about Lukashenko just because of the fact the USA is willing to make him step down. The Belarussian opposition is dissociated: it will be very hard to find a worthy opponent to struggle with Lukashenko. The US administration has already tried to unite the opposition in 2001, when Lukashenko was elected for the second term. American officials managed to make the opposition nominate their own candidacy, Vladimir Goncharik, who ignominiously failed at the election. It is not ruled out the situation has changed now, in three years, although there is not much evidence to prove it. However, it wouldn't be hard to unite the Belarussian opposition with the help of money and anti-Lukashenko sentiments.
Democratic challenger John Kerry has already supported the above-mentioned draft project about democracy in Belarus. The new US administration will definitely be interested in Belarus's internal affairs. In addition, one may say Belarussians are tired of Lukashenko after his ten years in the office. It does not mean, however, that the people are ready to appreciate Americans" care for democracy in their country.