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Vadzim Iasub: Disconnecting From Swift Will Deal a Powerful Blow to the Regime

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Vadzim Iasub: Disconnecting From Swift Will Deal a Powerful Blow to the Regime
VADzIM IaSUB

The only thing the Belarusian authorities do is shoot themselves in the leg or the head.

Now there is a discussion on Western sanctions against Lukashenka's regime - already in force and only being discussed. The most serious proposals are heard, for example, disconnecting our country's banking system from SWIFT.

How realistic is this and whether it is possible at all, answers Vadzim Iasub, senior analyst of the Alpari Eurasia campaign, writes Svobodnye Novosti Plus.

- Many Belarusians know that the SWIFT system helps banks of one country to transfer money to banks of another, but what exactly does its absence mean for us?

- First of all, the impossibility of sending and receiving international payments in foreign currencies - dollars and euros. That is, no one can send money, and no one can receive it. Of course, this is a very strong blow to the regime.

This is a powerful blow to the entire economy. All Belarusian importers who want to buy something abroad will not be able to do this. Exporters will not be able to sell anything to other countries.

I should warn that, most likely, such a ban will not affect payments with Russia if they are made in Russian rubles. If you wish, you can create your own banking settlement system here. If the Russians want to pay in this way, then the ruble can be Belarusian, but I personally doubt it very much.

- Were there precedents in the history of disconnecting countries from SWIFT?

- Yes, they were.

At one time, banks in North Korea and partly banks in Iran were disconnected from the SWIFT system. In both cases, it was a reaction to the creation (or the threat of creation) of weapons of mass destruction and the financing of terrorism.

The issue of the disconnecting came up and was discussed in relation to Russia. After Crimea and Donetsk with Luhansk. But then the Western countries did not dare to do something real.

Based on these precedents, it seems unlikely that this will be applied to Belarus as well.

- The adopted sanctions contain a phrase about the arrest of foreign accounts of specific persons. How real is this threat? Is there something to arrest?

- In general, this is a standard procedure for personal sanctions. Along with the ban on entry, there is always an arrest of accounts if these accounts are found. Most likely, those who are on the sanctions list do not have such accounts. At least if we are talking about some kind of security officials, heads of law enforcement agencies.

Theoretically, businessmen close to the authorities could have them, but, in my opinion, they have not yet come under personal sanctions. I think that the so-called "regime's wallets," fearing these very sanctions (if they had any accounts), have long ago transferred everything and liquidated it. Personally, I have not heard that someone from the Belarusians who fell under the personal sanctions was found and arrested.

- Isn't it a self-inflicted wound that the authorities arrest or write off money from the accounts of those who are helped by various funds? Can this nonsense be somehow justified?

- In my opinion, for the last six months, the Belarusian authorities have been doing nothing but shooting themselves in the leg or the head. This is not the first and, I'm afraid, not the last time. Everyone around is talking about legal default. The authorities not only fail to comply with international law but also ignore Belarusian laws, including ownership.

The money transferred to the account belongs to the owner of this account. In Belarus, only a court can deprive them. In fact, money is not taken as a result of a court verdict, but simply after some instruction.

The banks that seize funds have no choice. Receiving such instructions from law enforcement officers, they cannot verify their legality and validity. They must comply.

Therefore, you probably cannot blame the banks. Those who write these letters and send them to bankers are to blame.