EU Faces Migrant Backlash After Sanctioning Belarus

In June 2020 Moon of Alabama reported of a planned color revolution in Belarus. During the election in August 2020 the predicted color revolution attempt indeed happened and we predicted that it would fail. By August 15 it was clear that Belarus had found an agreement with Russia that would destroy the color revolution attempt and remove any danger from the country. Ten days later the NATO lobby Atlantic Council acknowledged that the color revolution attempt had failed and bemoaned that it had been too peaceful.

The ‘west’ was outraged about its failure to bring President Lukashenko down. It sanctioned the country but soon things settled down. The exiled opposition tried to keep unrest in Belarus going but had no success. No new sanctions would be imposed if nothing else happened.

In May 2021 a mysterious bomb threat against a Ryanair plane flying over Belarus necessitated the emergency landing of the plane in Minsk. When the passengers left the plane and passed through passport control two of them were found to have arrest warrants open against them. They were both lower level actors within the exile opposition.

The exiled opposition and ‘western’ media falsely claimed that Belarus had hijacked the plane. That was certainly not the case. Belarus handled the bomb threat against the plane by the book and it was the Ryanair pilot who had decided to land in Minsk after he had talked with his airline.

The ‘west’ ignored that reality and went with the fake ‘state sponsored hijacking’ story the exiled opposition tried to sell. It raised further sanction against Belarus. It told its airlines to stop flying over Belarus and it prohibited Belavia, the state owned airline of Belarus, from landing in ‘western’ cities even though Belavia was in no way involved in the Ryanair case.

That was bad news for Belavia and for the many people working for it:

May 27. /TASS/. Belavia is being forced to reduce its headcount due to the sanctions the EU imposed on the Belarusian airline after the incident with the plane of the Ryanair air carrier. The airline broke the news on its website on Thursday, adding that layoffs will not be massive.

On May 24, due to the incident with the Irish Ryanair passenger plane, the EU summit decided to ban Belarusian airlines from flying to airports of EU countries and flying over their territory, and also recommended that European carriers refuse to fly in the airspace of Belarus.

Belavia had to find new routes to keep its planes busy and the company going.

Soon someone, maybe Lukashenko himself, came up with an idea. There are a number of people in the Middle East who would like to live as well pampered ‘refugees’ with the European Union. Belarus started to offer tourist visas to anyone who asked for one and gave slight hints that it has rather open land borders with several EU states.

Suddenly the Belavia planes flying new routes between Turkey and Minsk started to fill up.

Soon there came news from Lithuania and Poland that people from the Middle East were crossing the Belorussian borders into their countries and to ask for asylum. None of those eastern EU countries wants to receive any ‘refugees’. They either try to push them back or to push them further west into Germany and beyond.

They also attempted to launch a pressure campaign against Belavia:

European countries are under increasing pressure to stop companies from leasing jets to Belarusian airline Belavia.

Calls for stricter measures — led by the Lithuanian government — come after the flag carrier increased the number of flights between Turkey and Minsk. The bump in flights is seen as a deliberate measure to send migrants into the EU via a new migration route from Belarus to Lithuania and Poland.

Lithuania, Poland, Latvia and Estonia on Monday issued a statement calling on EU countries to “jointly use all available diplomatic and practical means to cut the new irregular migration routes at its inception, as soon as possible.” Last week, the Slovenian Council presidency said governments should ensure “civil aviation is not instrumentalized by the international smugglers’ networks.”

The current German Foreign Minister, the rather simple minded Heiko Maas, also seems to think that the problem are ‘airlines’:

“Every day, hundreds of desperate people arrive at the airport in Minsk. Lukashenko is luring them with false promises to send them on a dangerous and illegal journey into the EU,” Maas was quoted as telling Bild. “The airlines that carry these people make themselves into helpers of the rulers in Minsk.”

Maas didn’t single out any airline by name. But he said that “these companies must ask themselves whether they want to be part of an unscrupulous international smuggling ring under Lukashenko’s leadership — and what consequences this can have for them.”

He said that the matter will be discussed at a meeting Monday of EU foreign ministers.

Hey Maas, you have SANCTIONED those airlines. They are obviously NOT what causes the problem. Your sanctions are.

The EU sanctions against Belavia are unjustifiable.

The company needs to keep paying its pilots and its planes flying. To blame it for flying well paying passengers from Turkey to Minsk, and maybe soon also from Baghdad or elsewhere to Minsk, is useless nonsense.

It has been obvious for more than a year that ‘western’ regime change efforts in Belarus have failed. The only man who can successfully remove Lukashenko is Vladimir Putin. He, for now, wants him to stay in his position.

The sanctions against Belavia and other Belorussian companies are unjust. The EU could simply remove them and let Belavia again fly its old routes to ‘western’ cities. The ‘tourist’ flights from the Middle East would soon end and the ‘refugee’ problem would be solved.

It would be simple realpolitik which is why it is unlikely to happen. The ‘west’, with people like Maas, is still too deluded about its own ‘values’ and rightness to be able to agree to simple honest deals.

It seems that Belavia will have to lease a few more planes and open new routes until the boneheads in Brussels give in.