Who are the Belarusians that the European Union puts on the sanctions list?

The EU summit on Thursday evening confirmed that sanctions against Belarus were further tightened this week, with the aim of “tightening the screws” of President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime. The country is being punished for the ‘hijacking’ of a Ryanair plane in May, in which Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevic and his girlfriend were taken down and imprisoned – it was announced yesterday that they are under house arrest in Minsk.

In addition to the other 78 individuals (total: 166), there are now also eight additional (state) companies (total: 15) on the Brussels sanctions list. Notable names among them.

Victor Krinin

Defense Minister Viktor Tishrin.AP . image

Viktor Kerinin is a scriptural example of a soldier of the old Soviet character: golden nests on a dark green uniform, chest covered with sparkling medallions, a look that he always says is serious. Since January 2020, he has been serving as Minister of Defense in Lukashenko’s government. In this position, he was partly responsible for suppressing protests after last August’s presidential election. Also in the forced diversion of a Ryanair flight that Roman Protacevic was on, Chrenin had a role in sending a fighter jet to the plane.

Michael Gutserigev

Michael Gutseriev.  Environmental Protection Agency's photo
Michael Gutserigev.Environmental Protection Agency’s photo

Mikhail Gutserigev is the stranger on the Brussels sanctions list, mainly because he’s not Belarusian but Russian. In addition to his intimate personal relationship with Lukashenko, the 63-year-old Russian has built a business empire in recent decades, which, according to the most conservative estimates, means that it is now worth $2.5 billion. Since 2002, he has been a regular member of Forbes’ annual list of the 200 richest Russians.

His main source of income is companies in the potassium and fertilizer sectors, but Gutsergeev is also active in the energy sector and owns business centers, gas stations, oil depots, hotels and an airport terminal in Minsk. It seems that one of his companies, Slavkali, which is currently building a potassium chloride mine near Lyuban, is so important to the Minsk government that Lukashenko wants to name the city in the south of the country after Gutseriev.

Dmitriy Lukaszenko

Dmitriy Lukashenko.  Statue of Maxim Gocek / BELTA / TASS
Dmitriy Lukaszenko.Statue of Maxim Gocek / BELTA / TASS

Dmitriy Lukashenko, among the three sons of President Lukashenko, became a successful businessman and head of the Presidential Sports Club. According to Brussels, the 41-year-old “knows how to do business through this agency and controls a number of other businesses”. In addition, he “attended the secret swearing-in ceremony of Alexander Lukashenko in September 2020.” Until recently, Dmitry was the only one of the three sons of Lukashenko who had not yet been included in the sanctions list.

Lilia Lukashenko

Statue of Lilia Lukashenko
Lilia Lukashenko

Another family member. This time the daughter-in-law of President Lukashenko, married to the eldest son Victor, who had already put the European Union on the sanctions list. Lilia deals mainly with real estate. Through the company Dana Astra, it is involved in the development of Minsk World, a commercial real estate complex in the capital at a cost of $ 3.5 billion.

jazz alexin

Xingoxin.  Build
Xingoxin.

An oligarch with interests in countless sectors, ranging from oil, real estate, retail, tobacco, and energy to the financial sector. He is said to be a close friend of the president himself and his eldest son Victor. Alexin is also said to be the mastermind behind Belarus’ first state-backed private military company: GardServis.

Business:

The list of companies to be banned by the EU mainly includes large state-owned companies with direct links to the system. Among those companies is BelAZ, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of waste collection vehicles and large trucks. In 2018, the company’s turnover was about $1 billion and has nearly 10,000 employees. Lukashenko recently called BelAZ a “real Belarusian brand” and “part of the national heritage”.

The Governor also has the same warm feeling from MAZ, one of the largest car factories in the country. According to Lukashenko, the company is “one of the most important industrial companies in the country.” The company employs approximately 17,000 people and uses city buses that leave factories in Russia, Estonia, Ukraine, Serbia and Poland. During the protests last August, several workers were locked up at MAZ headquarters to prevent them from participating in the demonstrations against Lukashenko.

Novaya Naftavaja Kampanja is the only private company allowed to export petroleum products from Belarus abroad. This is unique to a country where companies in important economic sectors are always state-owned. Thus, NNK is owned by Mikalaj Farabig, the ruling oligarch with whom Lukashenko has close ties. Refined oil products are the main source of income for the Belarusian system: in 2019, Minsk earned more than 6.5 billion dollars from its exports. Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands are the largest customers in this field.

Read also:

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Belarusian dissident and journalist Roman Protasevich appeared on his country’s state television on Thursday with an “admission of guilt”. A propaganda gimmick was standard practice for the KGB in the Soviet Union.

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Megan Vasquez

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