Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated eight individuals for their roles in the fraudulent August 9, 2020 Belarus presidential election or the subsequent violent crackdown on peaceful protesters. These designations, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13405, target individuals who are responsible for, or have participated in, undermining democratic processes in Belarus. OFAC previously sanctioned 16 Belarusian officials pursuant to E.O. 13405 for their activities in connection with the previous fraudulent 2006 and 2010 elections.
“The Belarusian people’s democratic aspirations to choose their own leaders and peacefully exercise their rights have been met with violence and oppression from Belarusian officials,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States and our international partners stand united in imposing costs on those who have undermined Belarusian democracy for years.”
Today’s action was taken in coordination with our international partners, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union, to demonstrate the international community’s solidarity in standing with the Belarusian people against the fraudulent and violent actions of the Belarusian government.
E.O. 13405 was signed by former President George W. Bush following the fundamentally undemocratic elections of March 2006. Today’s action marks the first time Treasury has used these authorities since 2011, following another clearly undemocratic election.
Treasury Targets Belarusian Interior Ministry and Law Enforcement Officials
Minister of the Interior Yuriy Khadzymuratavich Kareau (Karaeu) and Deputy Minister of the Interior Alyaksandr Pyatrovich Barsukou (Barsukou) direct a law enforcement system that has abused the human rights of Belarusians on streets and in prison cells across the country, at the behest of Belarusian dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who is sanctioned under E.O. 13405. In addition to leading the crackdown on protesters, Karaeu publicly admitted to being responsible for the police actions against bystanders and claimed that the Belarusian police did not use excessive force against protesters. Barsukou leads the public security police, one of the security services responsible for the violent crackdown on protesters.
Karaeu and Barsukou are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13405 for being responsible for, or having participated in, actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Belarus.
Ivan Uladzimiravich Kubrakou (Kubrakou) and Dzmitriy Uladzimiravich Balaba (Balaba) lead organizations that have beaten and detained peaceful protesters, journalists, and others in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Kubrakou, the head of the Minsk branch of the Ministry of the Interior, oversees the city’s policing and prisons, including Akrestsina prison. Kubrakou also made public statements discouraging Belarusians from participating in peaceful, pro-democracy protests and claimed that the protests were trying to destabilize Belarus and cause societal unrest. Balaba commands the Minsk Special Purpose Police Unit, or OMON, whose members have violently suppressed protests and have been responsible for the inhumane treatment of detainees.
Kubrakou and Balaba are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13405 for being responsible for, or having participated in, actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Belarus.
Commander Yuriy Henadzievich Nazaranka (Nazaranka) and Deputy Commander Khazalbek Bakhtsibekavich Atabekau (Atabekau) are leaders of the Ministry of the Interior’s Internal Troops, who have been on the frontlines alongside the OMON, suppressing the right to peacefully protest in Belarus. Nazaranka publicly thanked troops involved in the crackdown on protesters and journalists in Minsk for providing security and stability in the city. Atabekau gained international notoriety for overseeing the violence perpetrated against protesters following Belarus’ December 2010 election, and has continued to play a key role in cracking down on pro-democracy protests in Belarus.
Nazaranka and Atabekau are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13405 for being responsible for, or having participated in, actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Belarus.
Treasury Targets Threats to Democratic Elections in Belarus
Belarus’ Central Election Commission (CEC) Deputy Chairperson Vadzim Dzmitrievich Ipatau (Ipatau) and Secretary Alena Mikalaeuna Dmukhayla (Dmukhayla) are both senior election officials in Belarus. The CEC, led by Chairwoman Lidziya Yarmoshina, who is sanctioned under E.O. 13405, managed the undemocratic August 9 presidential election. The election included a myriad of election irregularities, including barring opposition candidates, denying access to poll observers, and falsifying voting results, robbing the Belarusian people of their right to choose their leaders through free and fair elections. Ipatau was directly involved in attempts to legitimize the August 9 presidential election and falsely claimed that the CEC had not received any information regarding interference with poll observers. Ipatau has also been accused of breaching electoral standards in previous elections, including the 2010 election. Dmukhayla was also instrumental in the implementation of undemocratic Belarusian electoral policies in the August 9 presidential election based on her position as Secretary of the CEC.
Ipatau and Dmukhayla are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13405 for being responsible for, or having participated in, actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Belarus.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the individuals above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by them, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.