How does Belarus perceive the appointment of the US Ambassador?

Belarusian experts talk about what they expect from the head of the American diplomatic mission in the republic

Belarusian society took the appointment of Julie Fisher as the US ambassador to the republic with interest, but ambiguously, according to those interviewed by the Russian service of the Voice of America..
Let us remind you that on the eve of the US Senate unanimously approved Fischer’s candidacy for the post of head of the US diplomatic mission in Minsk. Prior to that, she was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Europe and the European Union.
Thus, Julie Fischer will become the first US Ambassador to Belarus, starting in 2008, after recalling the heads of diplomatic missions of the two countries..
Fischer is a professional Russianist, carried out special assignments, being the Charge d’Affaires of the United States at the American Embassy in Moscow, worked at the US Embassies in Ukraine and Georgia, as well as at the US Mission to NATO..
As a reminder, this summer, at a hearing at the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Julie Fisher said that, while establishing contacts with Minsk, it is important not to allow a retreat on the way to the “modest progress” observed in Minsk recently in terms of democratization of the country..

How is the appointment of the US Ambassador perceived in Belarus?

But that was before the presidential elections in the republic, which dashed all modest hopes regarding the regime of Alexander Lukashenko..
Yevgeny Preigerman: Belarusian society is divided in relation to the appointment of the US Ambassador
Director of the Minsk Dialogue Council on Foreign Relations Yevgeny Preigerman noted that there is a division of opinions in the Belarusian society regarding the appointment of the US Ambassador. According to him, some people, especially from among the most active protesters, perceive this event rather negatively. “Because the first question that arises for them is: does the arrival of the American ambassador mean the recognition of Alexander Lukashenko as the current president? – he clarified in an interview with the Russian service of the Voice of America. – After all, in theory, the ambassador should present his credentials (to the head of state). Although in reality it also happens that the head of the diplomatic mission can work for a long time without it “.
There is another widespread opinion, which boils down to the fact that the visit of the ambassador is important for the development of bilateral relations, the political scientist stated: “And this is not surprising. The very fact that the embassy operates at the level of the heads of the diplomatic mission makes it possible to develop dialogue in all areas – economic, cultural and others. Some representatives of the opposition also look at this positively, as they understand that there are more opportunities for them here. “.
Yevgeny Preigerman himself agrees that the appointment of a US ambassador in the current situation is very important for many reasons. Because, in his opinion, no matter how the situation develops, communication at the ambassador’s level gives a better idea of ​​“everyone about everyone”.
“Minsk will understand the US line more clearly, especially taking into account the fact that soon the new presidential administration will take over the reins of power and there will be inevitable changes in the policy of the White House. Americans will also become less guided by all sorts of rumors or narratives that are promoted in Washington by certain opposition representatives, and it is better to know how the situation is developing on the scene, “summed up the director of the Minsk Dialogue Council on Foreign Relations..
Yaroslav Romanchuk: “The head of the American diplomatic mission will become one of the most quoted foreigners in Belarus”

Belarus – Expulsion of diplomats

In turn, the head of the Mises Research Center, Yaroslav Romanchuk, believes that in this case one should not exaggerate the role of the American ambassador. He recalled that in 2020, even before the onset of the political and humanitarian catastrophe in connection with the presidential elections in the republic, the Belarusian authorities submitted an agreement with Washington on the exchange of ambassadors as a sign of improved relations with the United States..
“And also the fact that we seem to have a multi-vector policy, – said the interlocutor of the Voice of America. – Today it is clear that the appointment of an ambassador is another of the external instruments of pressure on Minsk. Because the Biden administration, I think, will quite clearly stand for the position of protecting human rights in Belarus, as, incidentally, did the Trump administration. Therefore, the presence of an ambassador who immediately falls into the cauldron of problems related to political prisoners, repressions and sanctions, we still have to assess. I think, however, that within a month after taking office, the head of the American diplomatic mission will become one of the most quoted foreigners in Belarus ”.
At the same time, the head of the Mises Research Center believes that the historical task of the new ambassador is to somehow either become a mediator, or find one and bring such arguments that, in spite of everything, would convince Lukashenka to stop the behavior “absolutely unworthy of neither a UN member, let alone a US partner “.

  • Victor Vladimirov

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