Belarus has withstood Western sanctions primarily thanks to a clear action plan and co-operation with Russia and other countries – as noted by Director General of the National Library Vadim Gigin in his talk with Alfa Radio
He noted that even opponents of the Belarusian state now admit that the sanctions did not work, “Look what the fugitives, Westerners, and so on say. They admit that sanctions do not work and will not lead to the results desired by the West. On the eve of the elections in Poland, they are starting writing in the press that sanctions were introduced, but the regime of Aleksandr Lukashenko remained as it was. Moreover, suddenly in the West they began to note – with their mouths open – that, it turns out, Belarus had a plan to counter the sanctions. Naturally, our country had such a plan. Remember the PM’s report to Parliament in spring 2021, saying that we defend our democracy, our model, our choice, our President, our system, our way of life, and we understand that they would put pressure on us. During 2020 and Q1 2021, a corresponding plan was developed. Therefore, when – on a far-fetched pretext – after the situation with the Ryanair flight, sanctions were imposed against us, we were ready for them in almost all sectors. For example, they wanted to strangle Belavia and are still putting pressure on the governments of some countries to abandon our air carrier, very strong pressure is being put on the Georgian government, but the Georgians are holding out.”
The expert added that Belarusian-Russian co-operation and liaisons within the Union State also played a huge role, but that was not the only thing that mattered.
“Diversification... Yes, trade turnover with Europe has fallen, sanctions cannot be underestimated,” continued Vadim Gigin. “However, we began to increase trade turnover with China and other countries. We are establishing connections with potentially new partners: Myanmar, African countries... This will not always work immediately but it definitely will this year or next year. But look at the growth planned, how many states we interact with and what countries they are. Equatorial Guinea is one of the richest countries in Africa, look at its GDP per capita. Zimbabwe is a huge mining site. Our interests are everywhere. Another question is that where we have gained a foothold, we need to increase our efforts. After all, there have been negative experiences in this regard in the past. For example, relations with Iran were essentially frozen for a long time, but now, thank God, they have been unfrozen. Aleksandr Lukashenko made a breakthrough in the Latin American direction in the 2000s, but our production workers and diplomats then actually failed it. Responsibility lies with the heads of concerns and ministers. The President is doing everything possible for our breakthrough into foreign markets in all directions. But we ourselves do not always correspond. We can not only trade goods, but also export educational services, scientific developments, etc. Belarus is a brand. Belarus is Lukashenko, and he represents reliability and results; our President is known all over the world. Well, let’s use this. We still have problems here.”