Belarus Protest- Will Proposed Sanctions Collapse Lithuanian Economy?

  • Lukashenko threatened to impose economic sanctions against Lithuania
  • Russia recognized Belarus election as valid and Lukashenko as a legitimate president.
  • EU is contemplating sanctions against Belarus.

The Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has made a statement pertaining imposing sanctions against Lithuania.  Lithuania has been on the forefront of the Belarusian tumultuous situation. The leader of the opposition  Svetlana Tichanovskaya has fled Belarus shortly after the election. At present, she continues to reside in Lithuania.

Alexander Lukashenko is a Belarusian politician serving as President of Belarus since the office was created on 20 July 1994. Western opponents of Lukashenko have described Belarus as ‘Europe’s last dictatorship.’

The presidential election held earlier this month was flawed, as  the results were not accurate. It should be noted, that Russia accepted the election as valid and Lukashnko to be a legitimately elected president. It is a polar opposite view in comparison to the EU and the West.

The leader of the opposition  Svetlana Tichanovskaya has fled Belarus shortly after the election. At present, she continues to reside in Lithuania. Her husband is in Belarusian prison on the tax evasion charges.

Suddenly, she became a politician and now very active in the creation fo the Opposition Coalition Counsel. There is also a Lublin triangle that was formed, due to the volatile situation in the Belarus.

Nevertheless, Ukraine halted its involvement in Belarus, after this week announcement of the Lukashenko request from Putin to create a law enforcement unit to help Belarus.

Furthermore, Lithuania responded  to Alexander Lukashenko’s threats to impose economic sanctions against Lithuania. The Belarusian President said earlier that he would refuse the services of the port of Klaipeda, if Lithuania interfered in the Affairs of Minsk.

The official response came from the  Mindaugas Sinkevicius. The official expressed hope that the Belarusian government will convince the head of state of the economic harm of such a decision:

“The statements themselves are threatening, they force us to start analyzing the situation. Perhaps the government of Belarus can convince the President to count the losses and I think common sense should win, ” Sinkevicius said.

According to him, the Balts believe that the Belarusian authorities will harm not only Lithuanian companies, but also their own businesses with economic sanctions. He added that he had not received official documents from Minsk. Sinkevicius learned about the plans to reorient the cargo from the media.

The Port of Klaipėda is a seaport located in Klaipėda, Lithuania. It is one of the few ice-free ports in northernmost Europe, and the largest in Lithuania.

The fishing and trading ports in Klaipeda were built during the Soviet era. Thanks to them, the city has become the most important economic center of the Baltic States.

Unfortunately, for Lithuania, that is not how it works. You can’t have it both ways, you can’t claim one direction, yet want to rely on the Soviet Era infrastructure.

Yes, election was illegitimate.  Considering the size of the Lithuanian economy and quasi dependence on such port access, it was not wise to host Tichanovskaya. She is not a politician and did not win the election. Lukashenko did not conduct an honest election. However, she was never a winner in it.

Moreover, the  cargo from Belarus last year accounted for 30.2% of the annual cargo traffic of the port of Klaipeda. If Lukashenko carries out the threat, Lithuania will face a serious economic blow.

The Kremlin does not like NATO activities in the Baltic states, so for Russia it will be very convenient to cripple the Lithuanian economy. It is highly likely, Lukashenko will carry out that threat.

Additionally, Lukashenko will impose retaliatory sanctions against the EU. EU has been contemplating imposing sanctions agains Belarus this month.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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