The Biden administration issued an executive order Monday blocking the property of individuals contributing to the authoritarian regime in Belarus.
The order expands on a prior executive order from June of 2006. It draws its legitimacy from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, National Emergency Act the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 and Section 301 title 3 of the United States Code.
The order blocks the transfer of property by individuals involved in the Belarusian government, as well as associated companies and industries. It also prevents individuals from “the making of any contribution or provision of funds . . . for the benefit of any person whose property . . . [is] blocked.” The administration also bars the entry of non-citizens to the United States who are involved in the government of Belarus and individuals whose property is blocked based on government affiliations.
The order was issued because the administration determined that “oppressive activities” from the “fraudulent Belarusian presidential election and its aftermath . . . constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”
The Belarusian regime has come under fire after two high profile events over the past year. The first was the contentious presidential election in August of 2020. The election was widely regarded as fraudulent, and the aftermath included government crackdowns on civil society. The second event happened in May when the Belarus government forced a plane to ground within their borders to detain an activist on board.
The administration hopes to place pressure on the antidemocratic actions of the Belarusian government. The country is widely viewed as the most oppressive government remaining in Europe and the Biden administration has been keen to highlight its actions. Questions remain if the Biden administration will enact further policies to punish the regime.