Officials and judges change their names to enter the European Union.
A diplomat from a EU member state's embassy explains how blacklisted officials can receive a Schengen visa if they, for example, change the surname.
Radio Svaboda became interested in the problem after blacklisted judge Zhanna Dubinina from Minsk's Zavadski district court, changed her name to Zhanna Rouda.
The list of the Belarusian officials banned from entering the EU has 231 names, including Alyaksandr Lukashenka. They are involved in human rights abuses and electoral frauds.
“To receive an entry visa, one must submit documents to us,” the council of a EU member state's embassy says. “We sent the information to Brussels. They have a special verification system. Firstly, I am not allowed to say how it works, secondly I know the procedure only in general terms.
In my opinion, the system works rather well. For example, I know two thwarted attempts to get a Schengen visa by the blacklisted people who changed one or two letters in their names. The ban was imposed in Brussels. Therefore if someone says he was denied a visa in the embassy of Lithuania, Estonia, Poland or other country, it's not so. They were barred from entering not in Minsk, but in Brussels."
Is it 100% certain that the people from the list will not enter the EU?
We cannot be 100% certain. It's impossible to foresee absolutely everything. For example, a person from the list may receive a new passport with an absolutely different surname. I don't mean the cases when a person gets married or divorced and changes the surname. They may take an absolutely different name. Theoretically speaking, Sivakou may be turned into Dzyanisau.
Is it at all possible?
It seems to me everything is possible in Belarus.