May 19, 2022

The Belarusian Migrant Crisis: State Terrorism

Belarus has been accused of state terrorism over the migrant crisis, with reports suggesting that the country’s government may be deliberately engineering a rise in immigration to Europe by refusing to register asylum seekers.

This is according to an investigation by German newspaper Die Zeit, which claims that Belarusian officials are instructing migrants not to apply for refugee status and instead use their ID card as identification while travelling through Russia. This allows them to cross into European Union (EU) countries without registering and facing deportation at the border.

This article will explore what we know about this claim and how it could potentially affect our understanding of Belarus’ role in Europe’s migration debate.

Christophe Zapotoczny, Belorus Digest

There are many speculations about the cause of the migrant crisis in Europe. However, no one has ever accused Belarus of being behind it. Now reports have emerged that say that the country’s government might be deliberately engineering a rise in immigration to Europe. The information was reported by German newspaper Die Zeit, and according to the journal’s investigation, Belarusian officials are instructing migrants not to apply for refugee status and instead use their ID card as identification while travelling through Russia. This allows them to cross into European Union (EU) countries without registering and facing deportation at the border. The newspaper says that many are using this tactic to avoid paying fines and being barred from Russia for five years. ┬áIt is believed that the number of these ‘illegal immigrants’ is rising dramatically and it has been estimated that as many as 50,000 Belarusians could already be in Germany. If this is true, these people would be labelled as unregistered by German authorities and they may not have a way to legalize their status in Germany unless they can find a job or marry a local.

It is common knowledge that Belarus has been accused by the EU of implementing harsh measures aimed at preventing illegal immigration from taking place on its soil, especially since it joined the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union last year. The EEU’s rules state that citizens from other member states who commit administrative offences can be deported. In particular, the EU has criticized Belarus for refusing to consider asylum seekers arriving from Ukraine as refugees and detaining them in detention centers where they are treated like criminals. The EU believes that the administration is using this tactic to prevent its fledgeling economy from being overwhelmed by a mass influx of Ukrainians.

The EU has expressed its concerns over the matter to Minsk, but Belarus says that it has done nothing wrong and that it is merely obeying EEU law. A number of human rights bodies have also agreed with this view after visiting Belarusian facilities for asylum seekers and refugees.

Belarus’ representative in Germany Alexander Ulrich said that the situation was similar to how other countries in Europe are handling migration. He added that his country should not be singled out for being cruel, while also saying that Minsk has shown considerable flexibility when it comes to regulating the status of migrants.

The refugee crisis is escalating rapidly across Europe and politicians are scrambling to find a way to solve it. However, there is a severe lack of understanding as to the reasons why people are on the move and what they want from their new homes. If Belarus really is engineering a rise in immigration into Europe then this will be yet another reason for EU member states to impose sanctions on Minsk over its refusal to cooperate with European bodies on the matter of migration. However, the European Commission has been criticized for failing to identify Belarus as a country from where migrants come. It is clear that there is a lot more work to be done on the subject and only time will tell if Minsk’s actions will result in any significant shift towards a different type of relationship with Europe.