Posted: 22.12.2023 13:49:00

Belyaev: Lithuania took advantage of fugitive Belarusians, and now is pushing them back

Lithuania plans to toughen its attitude towards Belarusians who want to stay in the country, with amendments to legislative acts registered in the country’s parliament, expanding the ban on issuing residence permits for Belarusian citizens of Belarus. In his talk with Alfa Radio, Dean of the Journalism Department at the Belarusian State University Aleksei Belyaev discusses why this is happening and what is behind it.

“The point is that citizens crossing the border now will be denied this residence permit. As far as those who received it earlier are concerned, there is no talk of taking it away yet, but most likely at the time of renewal they will simply be given a refusal,” Aleksei Belyaev is convinced.

He noted that the fugitive Belarusian community’ caused an unhealthy stir in Lithuania, “They have been getting too big for their britches: taking to the streets of Vilnius, trying to put forward some demands, not to the Belarusian government, but to the Lithuanian government, so that it continues to impose sanctions against Belarus. We see that most of these political fugitives who left our country for Lithuania are people who could not properly socialise, these are people who are in limbo,” noted Aleksei Belyaev. “It’s one thing when it’s a labour migrant who moves with a clear desire to work, to be useful, to become a citizen of this country, to provide a future for his children. But it’s quite another thing when such marginalised people come who don’t know where to go and want to return to their homeland, but circumstances do not allow this. As a result, they create a criminally unhealthy environment. Their mere presence causes dissatisfaction among local citizens, leading to interethnic conflicts. Lithuania does not have the opportunity to constantly feed this large number of unemployed people who are there.”

The political expert noted that fugitive Belarusians come to Lithuania with their ideas about ‘Great Belarus’.

“From time to time they make claims that it seems like Vilnius is ours, and it seems like part of the Lithuanian lands should be Belarusian, and in general the Lithuanians have appropriated Belarusian 'Litvinism'. This all has caused very great discontent in the circles of the local Lithuanian intelligentsia and political elite. All this is superimposed on one another,” the Dean of the Journalism Department is convinced. “These were willingly received in Lithuania in 2020 and 2021, because they wanted to openly use them both as some source of information about our country and as saboteurs. They tried to make a kind of fighting force out of them, which would then move and punch a hole in Belarus with a battering ram, and then all the pseudo-democratic pro-Western forces would pour in. Now we see that all these revanchist plans have failed. And what should Lithuania do now with this crowd of half-starved, marginalised, restless people? They must be gradually ousted. Therefore, now there is a question of tightening legislation in order to simply push them out of the country.”