Thursday, May 18, 2006

Belarus: EU Freezes Lukashenko Assets

The European Union on Thursday decided to freeze the assets of president Alyaksandr Lukashenka and those of 35 other leading Belarus politicians, AFP reports. The measure is a reaction against suppression of the opposition during the March presidential elections.

According to the EU, all assets belonging to people responsible for breach of election rules and suppression of the democratic opposition will be affected. In April, the EU imposed travel restrictions for the same 35 people besides the president himself. Opposition allegations of election fraud have been met with stern reactions from the regime, including repeated police crackdowns on demonstrations. OSCE election observers found that the presidential election was severely marred by irregularities and outright fraud. On March 19, Lukashenka was reelected as president with an overwhelming 83 percent of the votes. The results only serve to strengthen the impression of dictactorial ambitions that have been a growing feature of Lukashenka's rule ever since his rise to power in 1994.


Pan Zavalnia said...

Information about a possibility of freezing Lukashenko's assets appeared around a month ago. I think there weren't any problems to transfer the assets of Belarus politicians before the freezing.

Vilhelm Konnander said...

Thank you for the information. No, there was probably no problem of transferring the money elsewhere. This is simply a policy of symbolic measures. Focused sanctions are often ineffective but next to always preferrable to general sanctions hitting the people and not the rulers.