28 January 2023, Saturday, 22:41
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The Way Lukashenka Regime Circumvents EU Sanctions

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The Way Lukashenka Regime Circumvents EU Sanctions
PHOTO: ALEXANDRE LALLEMAND

A number of "grey schemes" have been in action.

For the third year in a row, Belarusians are demanding full-scale sanctions against the Lukashenka regime in connection with the most severe repressions in Belarus. The number of political prisoners is growing every day, and the workers are deprived of all rights.

Of course, the imposed sanctions greatly strained the Lukashists, but did not finish off the regime. Previous bypass schemes through Ukraine have now moved through Asia and Africa, allowing the regime to stay afloat. And although the increase in exports to the Russian Federation, the countries of Asia and Africa does not compensate Belarus for the losses from the sanctions, the regime will continue to try to circumvent the bans. To do this, a number of "gray schemes" have been introduced.

Despite all the difficulties of logistics, in 2022 smuggling and "gray schemes" only increased. At the end of the year, the foreign trade turnover of Belarus in September 2022 decreased by only 6.9% compared to September 2021. The most sensitive positions are oil refining and potash. But Belarusian manufacturers continue to appear on the European market, albeit without the "Made in Belarus" brand. Such an example is the Belarusian wood, which, according to false documents and bypassing the sanctions, is supplied to Europe.

You don’t need to dig deep into the documents to understand who is helping Lukashenka to get around the sanctions. In March 2022, the European Union imposed a ban on the import of Belarusian woodworking products under code 44. As soon as the sanctions began to take effect, exports from Kazakhstan to the EU increased by 74 times, and from Kyrgyzstan by about 18 thousand times. And it's time to ask the question — where are the promised secondary sanctions?

One example of a buyer of sanctioned goods is the Polish timber dealer BLK Trading. After the imposition of sanctions, the company continues to pay directly to its parent Belarusian state-owned enterprise. At the same time, the company claims that it will be engaged in the supply of timber from Kazakhstan. At last count, the "gray scheme" brought in about 30 million euros. By the way, BLK Trading did not even remove the Belarusian enterprises from the site, with which they work to this day.

It is important to note that the imposed sanctions do not mean a ban on the export of goods to the EU under agreements concluded before the imposition of sanctions. For this reason, they pay great attention to the analysis of concluded contracts, where they look for loopholes for the supply of Belarusian products to the European market. Special services have been created that study contracts and search for the very "hole" through which it is possible to establish cooperation under one of the contracts. Lawyers providing this kind of services in Belarus have multiplied like worms after rain.

Pseudo-specialists have developed a whole scheme, according to which the regime and lawyers strongly recommend the transfer of business activities from the countries of the European Union to other states. Lawyers advise to pay attention to interaction with the Russian Federation, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia. As a result, the transport route of the goods also changes. Thus, the products cease to be sanctioned. The demand for this kind of service has grown to such an extent that now every second lawyer in the country is doing it.

Another method of "effective solutions" in this situation is a special organization of the business process, which makes it possible to exclude the physical possibility of tracking the chain of successive actions of a transport company which it undertakes to receive certain service from a sanctioned company.

There are also classical schemes for doing business under restrictions: the establishment of intermediate foreign firms, the replacement of the final beneficiary, the change in the place of production of goods. This method has been used by the regime since the introduction of the very first sanctions against the Lukashenka regime.

Now, when thousands of people are in the real captivity of the regime, circumventing sanctions and buying obviously sanctioned goods from Lukashenka is hypocrisy and blasphemy. Especially when, on the one hand, there is support for Ukraine in a defensive war, and on the other hand, currency is thrown to the criminal regime of the dictator, who is torturing the Belarusian people and has made the country a military foothold for attacking Ukraine.

European companies need to accept the fact that, while eliminating the Putin regime, it is impossible to continue any relationship with the Lukashenka regime, which has long ceased to be an independent figure. The immediate increase in sanctions pressure, as well as the blocking of all schemes for circumventing sanctions, can still put an end to the dictatorship in Belarus, and change the situation at the front in Ukraine.

Artsiom Chernikau, exclusively for the Basta!» Telegram channel