The present study analyses the potential impact of the EU targeted sanctions against Belarus imposed in the aftermath of the presidential elections of 19 December 2010, following the Belarusian authorities' crackdown on the political opposition. It reveals that a broader sanction approach to Belarus, implying targeting key state-owned enterprises with high export potential (chemical and petrochemical industry) and contribution to the economy, or imposition of restrictions on capital flows, may potentially cause higher economic damage for the economy as a whole, affecting vulnerable populations in the first instance, but be less efficient in facilitating a regime change. This may lead to further political and economic isolation of Belarus in the international arena and to the intensification of economic ties with Russia. EU sanctions are more likely to have the desired impact in Belarus if they target representatives of Belarusian the business elite actively supporting the regime. These businessmen have a strong lobbying power and their influence could be strengthened as a consequence of adverse effect of sanctions on their welfare status. Sanctions are likely to force them to negotiate their interests in the government and may thus lead the government to make some political concessions.
Dr Julia Korosteleva, Lecturer in Business Economics, Affiliate Tutor, School of Slavonic and East
European Studies, University College London
Directorate-General for External Policies of the Union
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