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Lukashenko's Double Talk

Pavel Latushka, Deputy Head of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus, Head of the National Anti-Crisis Management, Ambassador

In response to Western sanctions for specific violations of international law, Lukashenko periodically announces the implementation of counter-sanctions against countries that he views as unfriendly to him.

However, the sanctions imposed by Lukashenko on Western countries hold no practical or economic significance for these nations. Yet, the dictator persistently enforces them. But why?

He is well aware that these counter-sanctions, imposed on countries that he considers unfriendly, only exacerbate the situation in the Belarusian economy and fail to generate much-needed budget revenues. Nevertheless, the dictator aims to convince Belarusians that the Western sanctions are directed against the people.

In reality, these sanctions are directed at Lukashenko himself, who illegitimately seized power, his ability to assist in Russian aggression against Ukraine, and his creation of a threat to regional security. They also aim to prevent Lukashenko and his inner circle from plundering the country's resources and wantonly destroying Belarus's natural wealth.

Under such circumstances, it is crucial for Lukashenko to once again convince Belarusians that the sanctions are imposed on them. To achieve this goal, the dictator resorts to cunning and deception. He himself introduces sanctions that adversely impact Belarusians. The mechanics and propagandists take over, emphasizing that what matters is the fact that these are sanctions, regardless of their origin, and that Belarusians should feel their effects.

The easiest way to achieve this is through the scarcity of various goods and services that Belarusians are accustomed to. Here are a few examples:

  • After the adoption of the fifth package of EU sanctions "for ongoing violations of human rights and the instrumentalization of migrants," Lukashenko pledged to respond with "tough, asymmetrical, but proportionate measures." Consequently, a resolution from the Council of Ministers was issued, imposing a ban on the import of several agricultural goods, including meat, sausage, milk and dairy products, vegetables, and fruits.

  • In response to the closure of checkpoints, Lukashenko prohibited the import of specific goods from Lithuania for sale in Belarus. These goods include clothing, vinegar, tires and tubes, as well as used vehicle parts and accessories.

  • The import of other selected goods originating from Lithuania is also prohibited, such as condensed cream, fruits and nuts, coffee, fruit juices, vinegar, hosiery, certain construction products, refrigerators, and freezers.

All these counter-sanctions imposed by Lukashenko will only affect Belarusian consumers by reducing the availability of commonly imported goods or by causing price increases not only for these goods but also for their Belarusian-produced alternatives.

Lukashenko has never shown genuine concern for the well-being and prosperity of the Belarusian people. To the dictator, the people are mere pawns to sustain his usurped power.



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