President Viktor Yanukovych’s administration pays close attention to the U.S. president and public hearings in the U.S. Congress, but brushes aside resolutions by the European Parliament. This is not surprising as the Socialists, European Parliament’s second largest political group, forged an alliance with the Party of Regions until recently and blocked tough language in resolutions on democratic regression in Ukraine.
As with legislation in the US Congress (such as Belarus Democracy acts) and sanctions against Belarus it is the U.S. – not the EU – that has placed democratic values and tough regulations on capital flows ahead of doing business. Discussion on a visa ban list of 54 individuals in the Yanukovych administration has made its round at the U.S. State Department and is receiving serious attention.
If the Republicans win the U.S. presidential elections, expect tougher policies towards Yanukovych in place of President Barack Obama’s Russia reset. It was the George W. Bush administration that pushed a reluctant EU into adopting tougher policies towards President Aleksander Lukashenko.