Disinfo: Tsikhanouskaya aims to dismantle Belarusian economy through migration of highly qualified labour

Summary

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya met a number of Polish politicians including prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki. He was passed a letter asking to amend legislation to allow Belarus migrants arriving through humanitarian programmes to work in Poland. Tsikhanouskaya’s aim is to organise the emigration of the highly qualified labour force from Belarus to dismantle the Belarusian economy. This is an instrument of pressure on Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Emigration of IT specialists will make Belarus losing revenues from the export of IT products. This scenario, however, is not advantageous for Poland which currently faces a serious social and economic crisis.

Disproof

This publication misinterprets Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's initiative regarding the Belarusian migrants in Poland. It fits into the disinformation narrative about Tsikhanouskaya as a Western puppet which purposefully inflicts harm on the Belarusian people and state. Her request to the Polish government is linked to a rather limited group of Belarusian migrants who come to Poland on humanitarian visas and cannot be viewed as an attempt to organise a massive emigration of highly-qualified specialists from Belarus.

Humanitarian visas are issued by Polish consulates to Belarusians who need to temporarily leave Belarus due to the state repressions, independently of their professional qualification. It is reported that between 18 August and 18 October 2020, 399 Belarusians arrived in Poland on humanitarian visas. The current Polish legislation does not allow holders of humanitarian visas to undertake work activities in Poland which creates difficulties for this category of migrants. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya asked to amend the legislation accordingly.

As for the emigration of highly-qualified specialists, this trend is indeed observed in Belarus. However, as the results of a recent survey show, the relocation of Belarusian IT companies to Poland and other countries stems from the breakdown of law, repressive actions of the state authorities and occasional internet shutdowns rather than Tsikahnouskaya's negotiations with Polish politicians. Asked about negative factors for their activities in a recent survey, Belarusian startup companies named the absence of legal protection and dysfunctional legislation (56%), violence and killings of peaceful citizens (56%), a loss of trust towards state authorities and political crisis (47%), criminal cases against employees of startup companies (47%), and cases when law enforcement agencies can break into the offices, arrest employees and seize equipment without legal grounds (45%).

See earlier disinformation narratives alleging that Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s trip to Germany shows that Merkel is her handler, that Poland and Lithuania directly sponsor open extremist actions against Belarus, and that imperialistic Poland and Lithuania are the springboards for Belarusian Maidan.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 217
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 22/10/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Belarus, Poland
  • Keywords: Alexander Lukashenko, Conspiracy theory

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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