The EU introduced the third package of sanctions against the Lukashenko regime
The penalty list includes 29 individuals and seven companies and organizations. Since October, the European Union has already imposed sanctions against 88 Belarusian officials.
The European Union has officially introduced the third package of sanctions against the entourage of the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko. The penalty list has been replenished with 29 people and seven companies and organizations from Belarus, according to information published on Thursday, December 17.
The sanctions list included, among others, the speaker of the upper house of the parliament of Belarus Natalya Kochanova, Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Sivak, and the country’s prosecutor general Andrei Shved. The list also mentions the head of Belteleradiocompany Ivan Eismont, whose wife, Lukashenko’s press secretary Natalya Eismont was included in the previous EU sanctions list.
The European Union also imposed sanctions on seven legal entities, mainly defense enterprises. These are the 140th Repair Plant, which repairs tanks, Agat - Electromechanical Plant, where automated control systems and electronics are developed, MZKT, which produces wheelbases for various weapon systems, and Beltechexport, which sells military equipment to other countries.
The list of legal entities subject to sanctions includes the Administrative Department of the President of the Republic of Belarus, a large private developer Dana Holdings and the Sinezis LLC IT company.
The foreign ministers of the EU countries agreed to impose sanctions against companies financing Lukashenko’s regime at the end of November. In general, the EU has imposed sanctions on 88 Belarusians since October 2020 due to the falsification of the results of the presidential elections in Belarus and the harsh dispersal of protests. Sanctions were also imposed on Lukashenko and the heads of the country’s security agencies. The persons involved in the sanctions list are banned from entering the EU, their accounts in European banks, if any, are subject to freezing.
Tikhanovskaya’s headquarters revealed the plan of economic pressure on the Belarusian leadership
The team of ex-presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya presented seven areas of economic pressure on the current leadership of Belarus during an online conference on December 15.
The opposition calls for an investigation into corruption schemes in the supply of goods from Belarus by companies close to the authorities; to stop international cooperation and financing for Belarusian state banks, to freeze international cooperation with the public sector (through the EBRD, IMF, EIB, World Bank); to close international financial markets for the issue of new government bonds, to stop the inflow of investments and to restrict the export of key state-owned enterprises, such as Belaruskali.
The proposed measures also include restricting purchases of goods and services from companies that support the current government by residents of Belarus.
The head of the National Anti-Crisis Administration, ex-Minister of Culture Pavel Latushko said that all agreements with creditors signed by the current government after November 5, 2020 will be revised by the democratic leadership of Belarus. The new government will not consider itself obligated to pay Lukashenko’s debts.
If the proposed mechanisms do not work, the message says, the most radical measure can be applied, which is disconnecting Belarusian state-owned banks from the SWIFT system. 406,000 people took part in voting on this issue on the independent Golos platform, 64.1% were in favor of disabling SWIFT.
EPAM is not going to leave Belarus, but the country will face a massive exodus
In connection with the political instability in Belarus after the presidential elections, an increasing number of IT industry employees want to leave Belarus. Arkady Dobkin, the founder and head of a large software developer, EPAM, spoke about this in an interview with the “Russian Are Norm!”
Any large company has a relocation program. Such a program has existed at EPAM for many years, Dobkin noted. Under this program, employees can declare their desire to move to an office if there are open positions there. In the same way, hundreds of employees came to Belarus, the businessman said.
According to Dobkin, EPAM is not going to leave Belarus, but the number of employees wishing to leave due to the unstable situation in the country has grown. More people want to leave because of the protests.
“We are definitely not going to leave Belarus,” he said. - We will continue to work here. At the same time, if people want to move, we will create all the conditions for them to move. We have open positions in almost all offices around the world,” the businessman said.
“I don’t know what will happen next,” Dobkin said. “I don’t understand how everything that is happening can happen. Where it leads? This may indeed be the biggest exodus in 30 years.”
Lukashenko named a confusing budget for the development of Belarusian vaccine against coronavirus
The creation of a Belarusian vaccine against coronavirus will require about 5 million rubles ($1.9 million) from the state budget. Lukashenko made this information public at a meeting with the staff of the Mogilev regional hospital.
According to Lukashenko’s estimates, the country needs little money to implement this project, “somewhat around five million rubles, which will quickly pay off.” Lukashenko is convinced that Belarusian scientists can handle the project of creating a vaccine.
Lukashenko’s statement about the modest budget required to create a coronavirus vaccine caused bewilderment among specialists. According to information leaked to the media, the cost of developing a vaccine is on average $2.8 billion, and the most difficult thing in such projects is to find the money. The EU has raised €7.5 billion to create a vaccine against coronavirus.
Belarusian beauty Olga Khizhinkova was released after 42 days of arrest
Miss Belarus 2008 and former press secretary of Brest Dynamo Olga Khizhinkova was released in Zhodino on December 20. She served 42 days of arrest. She was detained on November 8 and tried on three episodes of participation in unsanctioned mass events.
Khizhinkova was detained during a protest, and three days later she was sentenced to 12 days of arrest. The witness to her arrest was not accurate in the testimony, and the case was eventually sent back for revision.
A day later, she was tried under violation of the procedure for organizing or holding mass events in the second episode and added another 15 days of arrest.
Soon, a third trial was held over Khizhinkova, and the term of her arrest increased to 42 days. Initially, Olga was expected to be released 15 days after the third trial, that is, on December 11. Dozens of friends came to meet her, but people in uniform announced to them that Khizhinkova would not be released yet.
During all the time in custody, Khizhinkova received huge support from Belarusians on social networks, since everyone knows her as a kind person with a big heart who does not deserve such treatment. Olga Khizhinkova was kept in terrible conditions, as told by the journalist of the TUT.BY portal Aleksandra Kvitkevich, who spent 10 days with her in the same cell.
Khizhinkova is the winner of the Miss Belarus-2008 competition, a participant in the international Miss World competition in 2008 in South Africa. She was a model and a teacher in the fashion show of the National School of Beauty in Minsk. For about 10 years she was the trademark of the Belarusian brand Conte Elegant.
The company plans to continue using the image of Khizhinkova on the packaging of their classic tights. Conte Spa commented to Office Life reports that it allegedly changed the headliner of the company Olga Khizhinkova to the Russian Leysan Utyasheva. They separately emphasized that Utyasheva is not the new trademark of the brand. She is simply involved as an influencer on social networks and in a media campaign on the Internet.
Last Sunday, December 20, regular protests were held in Belarus. The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported more than 100 detainees; there are already more than 140 people on the lists of human rights defenders.