Posted: 20.07.2022 14:24:00

Belarus wants citizens of neighbouring countries to enjoy visa-free travels and see how things really are

Belarus wants to continue co-operation and earn money despite an unfriendly policy conducted by official Vilnius, Warsaw and Riga – as noted by political expert Aleksandr Shpakovsky in his talk with Alfa Radio

Polish citizens are allowed to come to Belarus without visas since July 1st. Earlier, Lithuanians and Latvians received the same opportunity. Mr. Shpakovsky commented on the Belarusian government’s motives for taking these measures.

“The decision on visa-free travels was due to a number of considerations, an ideological and political point was among them. Belarus’ image is deliberately demonised in the media and in the public opinion of the collective West. Openly speaking, in 2020, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Ukraine experienced a surge of negativity towards our country, and the aggression is continuing until now. All news from Belarus is presented abroad exclusively in a negative way. Naturally, not being able to influence the media broadcasting to Lithuanian, Polish and other audiences, we will try to take other measures,” the expert said.

Mr. Shpakovsky stressed that Belarus – unlike its neighbours – has a different way of responding, “This is the introduction of a visa-free regime. As you can see, this is an asymmetric answer. Belarus has responded to evil with good. Our country wants ordinary citizens of neighbouring countries to come here and see how everything really is in Belarus.”

According to the expert, the visa-free regime enables Belarus to break the information blockade and form a positive image of the country. “The economy is another motive for visa-free travels. The visa-free regime existed until 2020, and our country was actively visited by foreigners. Moreover, a certain infrastructure was created for them. Belarus is not going to harm itself, it has never been a country that makes illogical economic decisions. We want to continue to co-operate and earn money despite the fact that official Vilnius, Warsaw and Riga conduct an unfriendly policy towards us,” Mr. Shpakovsky noted.

At the same time, the expert emphasised the accompanying risks for Belarus, “In the context of the hybrid war being waged against Belarus, in the context of the war being waged by the West against Russia on the territory of Ukraine, foreign intelligence agencies route their personnel through this channel to collect intelligence data. This risk exists, and President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko has spoken about it. The whole flow of people coming to Belarus needs to be filtered to identify undesirable persons. It is worth noting that, in case of a threat, our country will be able to live without the visa-free regime for foreign citizens.”