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MAZ and BELAZ opposed the Lukashenko regime

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

The Court of the European Union dismissed the claim and maintained the sanctions against OAO Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) and OAO BELAZ. Previously, in February of this year, a similar refusal was issued to Belaeronavigatsiya.

At first glance, it may not seem like a significant development since the sanctions remain in place, and Lukashenko continues to assert that they make Belarus stronger.

However, something unexpected occurred, specifically:

  • Valery Ivankovich, the General Director of MAZ, and Sergey Nikiforovich, the General Director of BELAZ, disregarded Lukashenko's bravado and appealed to the European Union Court to lift the sanctions imposed on their companies.

  • Ivankovich and Nikiforovich, in the lawsuit, acknowledged the existence of a regime in Belarus and officially stated that the EU Council had misjudged the facts related to their alleged financial support of the regime. They emphasized that they do not endorse or finance Lukashenko's regime.

  • The management of MAZ and BELAZ acknowledged the violation of citizens' rights in Belarus and documented this in the European Court, arguing that they are obligated to pay dividends to the state but should not be held responsible for how these funds are subsequently used, even if they contribute to the violation of citizens' rights.

In essence, the management of MAZ and BELAZ are already attempting to prove their non-involvement with the regime, albeit outside of Belarus and within the European legal system.

It is worth noting that in the lawsuit, the management of MAZ and BELAZ claimed that their right to defense and the principle of effective judicial protection had been violated. They invoked their right to defense when seeking recourse through European justice. However, they seemingly disregarded the right to protect enterprise workers when they were subjected to intimidation, threats, terminations, surveillance, detentions, and administrative fines. Numerous individuals were dismissed and repressed at each of the enterprises.

Naturally, the EU Court upheld the sanctions decisions of the EU Council, which the general directors of the two companies sought to overturn. Both claims were rejected, and MAZ and BELAZ were ordered to cover all legal costs. Cooperation with these companies will remain prohibited for European firms, and their assets will remain frozen.

Presenting evidence of non-involvement with the regime and distancing themselves from Lukashenko outside of Belarus is a justifiable approach. However, to be truly heard and recognized, it is crucial to take concrete steps towards removing Lukashenko from power and avoid becoming entangled in his criminal schemes. What are your thoughts, gentlemen Ivankovich and Nikiforovich?



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