Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Putin Puts Russia’s Business Before Human Rights In Belarus

Posted by Info on 17/03/2011

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin tactfully avoided discussion of recent human rights abuses in Belarus during his visit to Minsk this week, choosing instead to strengthen Russia’s ties with its authoritarian neighbor.

Russia is in a strong position to exert influence over the Belarusian authorities
, who have found themselves isolated by a travel ban from the European Union and economic sanctions from the United States over human rights abuses.

The EU is currently in talks on extending its sanctions to include prosecutors, judges and officers from the country’s secret service connected with the trials of those detained in December’s protests.
The Belarusian secret service is investigating more than 46 individuals on riot charges and 30, including two former presidential candidates, remain in prison. Four people have already been sentenced to up to four years in jail.

Now Russia no longer has a direct interest in the detainees. At the moment Russia’s approach to Belarus is entirely pragmatic. They are caught between a policy of wanting to pressurize Belarus in order to maximize income on gas sales and also of trying to get access to the privatization assets being made available.

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