West has not yet figured out what it wants to achieve in Belarus – OpEd – Eurasia Review

The West has not yet decided what it wants to achieve in Belarus, and the sanctions it is now imposing will not be enough to bring about either an economic collapse, an improvement in the Lukashenka regime or the political uprising that is taking place in this country the last year, says Vladislav Inozemtsev.

According to the Russian economist, it appears “that Western countries want an improvement in the Lukashenka regime, which is actually impossible”. The sanctions announced so far will not lead to this, as the situation is now very different from 2010, when this approach seemed to work for a while (thinktanks.by/publication/2021/09/21/vyacheslav-inozemtsev-zapad-ne-gotov -vyzvat-ekonomicheskiy-kollaps-v-belarusi.html).

The Europeans and the Americans have the opportunity to destroy the Belarusian economy “if they want”. Hence, the question arises as to whether they actually do this. But for that, sanctions would have to be “very radical” and their goal, the destruction of the Belarusian economy, would have to be clearly defined and formulated.

But at the moment the West is not ready to take steps that would lead to the economic collapse of Belarus. What the West has done and is doing may weigh on the economy, but “the experience of Russia shows” that zero or even negative growth over a long period “is not a disaster for an authoritarian regime”. It’s something that can easily weather it.

One of the main reasons the West has not taken such draconian measures is the widespread belief that it is forcing Belarus into Russia’s arms. But that is not the case. The Belarusian people do not want to become part of the Russian Federation, and neither does Putin.

A referendum would be required for Belarus to be absorbed; and that would be politically explosive. And for Putin, taking in nine million troubled citizens is not a prospect that he is really looking forward to. Pursuing or threatening this goal is one thing, but wanting to actually live with it is another entirely.

If the West decided to break the Lukashenka regime by destroying the Belarusian economy, it could do so; and the result would not be that the Belarusians would rush to become part of Russia. But for the West to take this step, it would have to decide what it really wants, what it has not yet done, says Inozemzew.

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