Minsk: 13,000 Belarusians left for Poland and Ukraine
In the past two months, 13,000 people have left Belarus for Poland and Ukraine, the Belarusian Interior Ministry said. “Poland accounts for the largest number – 10,000 people. Latvia and Lithuania – much less – no more than 500 people have left for these two countries,” said the head of the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Belarusian Interior Ministry Alexey Begun. He also said that during the same period about 3,000 people left for Ukraine.
Begun did not agree that the mass departure of Belarusians abroad was provoked by the political crisis in the country after the presidential elections, marred by reports of large-scale falsification of the voting results. At the same time, he did not rule out that some of those who had left had taken advantage of this crisis in order, according to him, to use the situation to justify their political asylum claims.
The representative of the Interior Ministry also explained that some Belarusians went abroad to seek employment. “Some are leaving due to employment. I think it’s not irreversible, it’s labor migration. It is clear that Ukrainians have given certain preferences to IT workers. Poles still provide preferences for working Belarusians, who are hired using simplified process and go to work,” he explained.
Protests against the results of the August presidential elections continue in Belarus for the third month. The protesters do not recognize the results of the vote, considering them falsified.
On October 13 , one of the leaders of the Belarusian opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya presented Alexander Lukashenko with a “people’s ultimatum” with a demand to announce his resignation no later than October 25, to completely stop the violence in the streets and release all political prisoners. Otherwise, “the whole country will peacefully take to the streets” and on October 26 “the national strike will begin, blocking all roads and causing collapse of sales in government-owned stores,” Tikhanovskaya warned.
After the presidential elections, Tikhanovskaya was forced to leave Belarus and is currently in Lithuania. The Belarus authorities have put her on the interstate wanted list.