Thursday

3rd Dec 2020

EU blacklists Lukashenko and his eldest son

  • News of EU sanctions comes ahead of rolling mass protests every Sunday since 9 August (Photo: Homoatrox)

The EU has imposed a visa-ban and asset-freeze on president Alexander Lukashenko due to the "gravity of the situation" in Belarus after rigged elections in August.

It accused him of ordering "violent repression" of "peaceful demonstrators" and journalists in its legal gazette on Friday (6 November).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

It also blacklisted his oldest son and national security advisor, Viktor Lukashenko, whom it accused of similar abuses, as well as "torture".

And it designated 13 other officials, including the president's chief-of-staff and the chairman of the KGB, the country's secret police.

Most of these were prosecutors or other security bosses, such as Sergei Zubkov, who leads an elite squad - the Alfa Unit - which is supposed to conduct counter-terrorism special operations.

But the crackdown also covered people responsible for state propaganda, such as Lukashenko's press secretary, the 36-year old Natalia Eismont, and two men responsible for "interrupting connection to telecommunication networks as a tool of repression of civil society".

And it named Pyotr Miklashevich, the president of the Constitutional Court, who rubbed-stamped the outcome of the rigged vote in a verdict on 25 August.

Friday's decision comes on top of earlier sanctions covering 40 officials, imposed on 2 October.

The EU timing, on the eve of the weekend, also meant the fresh news hit the airwaves ahead of mass street protests, which have taken place every Sunday for the past 14 weeks.

A Belarusian opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhanovoskaya, had earlier called for Europe to go after oligarchs who fed money to the regime.

The EU did this in its previous wave of sanctions, following rigged elections in 2010.

But even though it did not heed Tikhanovoskaya's appeal, an EU source previously told EUobserver that there are "literally thousands" of names that could still be added in future, if the situation did not improve.

"This list is under constant review," Swedish foreign minister Ann Linde also said on Friday.

EUobserved

Belarus: Where's the EU when you need it?

It has been 81 days since the first police cosh hit the first skull in Belarus and president Alexander Lukashenko has still not paid any EU price.

Belarus opposition leader urges EU to be 'braver'

The Belarus oppositon leader asked the EU not to support the Belarus authorities financially, and not to recognise Lukashenko as the country's president when his term ends in November.

EU keen to repair damage of Trump years

The EU has set out how to undo the damage caused by four years of US president Donald Trump's rule, by trying to "make multilateralism great again".

News in Brief

  1. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing dies from Covid-19 complications
  2. Belgium expelled 15,000 EU nationals in recent years
  3. Centre-right EU lawmakers want to kick out Fidesz MEP
  4. Slovak journalist's killer gets longer sentence
  5. Egyptian leader embarks on 'execution spree'
  6. Covid-19: UK first to approve Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
  7. Car kills five people in German town's pedestrian zone
  8. UK warns no-deal Brexit still possible

Opinion

The under-reported power struggle at the top of the OSCE

An internal power struggle has undermined the world's leading international security body since the summer. The OSCE is due to finally get new leaders in December but the unprecedented power vacuum has hit at a crunch time for hotspots worldwide.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  3. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  5. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja

Latest News

  1. EU keen to repair damage of Trump years
  2. Szájer 'sex party' coverage shows Orbán's media control
  3. EU commission mulls ways round Hungary-Poland block
  4. Revealed: Hit to EU mental health services during Covid-19
  5. MEPs seek parliament inquiry into Frontex
  6. Erdoğan to face human rights scrutiny next week, EU says
  7. 2020 Prague European Summit: 'Real solutions, acting together'
  8. Nationwide protests reveal awakening of Poland's youth

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us