Holland is Lukashenka’s trade partner number 2


Political debates “Holland is Lukashenka’s trade partner” took place in Amsterdam on October 5.

A range of events dedicated to Belarus and organized by the European cultural foundation has been held in Holland’s capital during the last three days.

Well-known people participated in the discussion “Holland is Lukashenka’s trade partner”: leader of the campaign Free Belarus Now, sister of former political prisoner Andrei Sannikov Iryna Bagdanava; director of the Belarusian Free Theater Natallia Kaliada; former ambassador of Sweden to Belarus Stefan Ericsson; representative of the European Commission Robert Palmer. Moreover, Dutch politicians, diplomats, human rights activists, public figures and journalists attended the event.

This is the first debates of this kind dedicated to Belarus. The debates lasted for more than two hours, as Natallia Kaliada told charter97.org.

“The main question of the discussion was Holland’s position regarding Belarus, and Holland’s purchases of petroleum products and potassium.

I pointed out that it is weird that the European Union should start to talk about the need to develop a long-term strategy on Belarus only now. In other words, the Belarusian dictatorship has existed for 18 years, people have been tortured and kidnapped here, and the European Union comes to the realization that this is a dictatorship only now?

The Dutch politicians made excuses and denied the fact that they are Belarus’ second trade partner after Russia because of the purchase of petroleum products. In Holland, there is a major harbor and whole Europe gets Belarusian petroleum products from there.

I said in my speech that if Holland doesn’t see Belarus as its trade partner only because the purchased Belarusian goods are produced of Russian oil, then Holland approves of Belarus selling Russian weapons to Syria and Iraq. We urged to introduce an embargo on purchases of petroleum products and potassium from Lukashenka’s regime.

I also criticized the so-called funding of the Belarusian civil society by the European Commission. The European Commission demands that the organizations are registered in Belarus. It mean that the EU continues to finance the NGOs that cooperate with the regime, because the majority of NGOs are either shut down, or can be closed at any moment.

It shouldn’t be about helping the Belarusian opposition to survive. It should be about helping it prevail,” Natallia Kaliada said.

Iryna Bagdanava spoke about the hard condition of the Belarusian political prisoners, and urged to continue the sanctions and pressure on the Belarusian regime, until all prisoners of consciousness are freed.

”I reminded the European politicians about the disproportionate scale of the help to the civil society compared to the incredible profits that the EU gets from trading with Lukashenka. In Belarus, the money earned from the trade with Europe is spent on financing the repression machine,” Iryna Bagdanava said.

Moreover, within the campaign Free Belarus Now, in five Dutch cities the Belarusian Free Theater has held flash-mobs supporting the demands of Lubou Kavaliova to return the body of her son, executed for having allegedly being responsible for the explosion in the Minsk subway.

Body bags with living bodies were placed at railways and subway stations. The flash-mobs lasted from 10 till 30 minutes and were organized during the rush hour.

On 5th October in the Royal Theater in Amsterdam the first night of the play of the Belarusian Free Theater Trash Cuisine is held. The main theme of the play is the death penalty and the story of Uladzislau Kavaliou and Dzmitry Kanavalau shot in Belarus.