Lukashenka and 29 other Belarusian officials banned by Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania

Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have declared Alyaksandr Lukashenka persona non grata. The self-proclaimed president of Belarus and his inner circle are banned from entering these countries. There are 30 names in total, including the eldest son of the head of the republic, Viktar Lukashenka.

Here are the most significant names on this list:

Head of the Central Election Commission Lidziya Yarmoshyna

Lawyer. Graduated from the Law Faculty of Kaliningrad State University in 1975. She started working in Soviet agencies in Kaliningrad, then moved from Babruisk. Since 1992 she has served in the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Belarus, since December 1996 — as Chair of the CEC. Appointed by direct decree of Lukashenka and was not approved by the Council of the Republic, although this is required by the constitution. Until that moment, the post of head of the CEC was held by Lukashenka’s critic Viktar Hanchar. Three years after his dismissal, he disappeared in Minsk. Yarmoshyna was reappointed to her position three times. Already on the EU sanctions list since January 31, 2011 “in connection with the falsification of the 2010 presidential elections”.

Interior Minister Yury Karayeu

Born in North Ossetia in 1966. As various sources claim, his uncle, colonel of the internal troops of the USSR Salamgirey Tsarakhov, had a great influence on his future. In 1987 he graduated from the Saratov Higher Military Command School of the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation named after F.E.Dzerzhinsky. For about two years he fought in the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs special forces in the Caucasus, including in Stepanakert and Nagorno-Karabakh. In 1996 he graduated from the Frunze Military Academy in Moscow. Didn’t return home. He served in leading positions in Babruisk, Homiel and Uruchcha. Since July 2008 he has worked in Minsk, he is in command of the special-purpose police regiment of the Central Internal Affairs Directorate of the Minsk City Executive Committee. From 2012 to 11 June 2019, he was the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, commanded the internal troops. On June 11, 2019, he was appointed head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This is the first time he got on the sanctions lists.

Security Council Secretary Andrey Raukou

Born in the Vitsebsk region of the BSSR in 1967. In 1984 he graduated from the Minsk Suvorov Military School. He studied in Moscow and in 1988 graduated from the Moscow Higher Combined Arms Command School with a gold medal. In 1999 he again entered the list of graduates, this time graduated with honors from the command and staff faculty of the Military Academy of the Republic of Belarus. In 2005 he again graduated from the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. After that, he gave up his studies and since 2006 has been serving in various headquarters of the Belarusian troops: Deputy Chief of Staff of the Western Operational Command, Chief of Staff of the First Deputy Commander of the North-Western Operational Command, Commander of the North-Western Operational Command. Since 2012 – a deputy of the Minsk Regional Council of Deputies from Barysau. On January 20, 2020, he was appointed State Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Belarus. After a brutal dispersal of the protesters in August 2020, he invited all dissenting people to leave the country. It is his first time under sanctions.

The list also includes Prosecutor General Alyaksandr Kanyuk, Head of the Presidential Administration Ihar Syarheyenka, Head of the State Security Committee Valery Vakulchyk, Chairman of the Investigative Committee Ivan Naskevich and other heads of departments and politicians. The representatives of Latvia added that the ban on entering the country also applies to employees of the Lukashenka administration and the presidential affairs department. Soon the list is planned to be expanded.

The head of the Latvian Foreign Ministry, Edgars Rinkēvičs, said that these people “are responsible for fraud in the presidential elections and brutality against peaceful demonstrators in Belarus.” He noted that the country’s authorities support an independent and democratic Belarus and its citizens.

“Latvia strongly condemns the falsification of the August 9 presidential elections, the beating of peaceful demonstrators, the persecution of journalists and activists in Belarus. We call on the European Union to immediately start making similar decisions,” Rinkēvičs said.

The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said on August 28 that the European Union expects to impose similar sanctions against Belarusian officials as soon as possible. The largest parties represented in the European Parliament also declared Lukashenka persona non grata.

Lukashenka spoke earlier about the preparation of retaliatory sanctions against Lithuania and Poland.

Presidential elections in Belarus were held on August 9. The Central Election Commission stated that more than 80% of voters allegedly voted for Alyaksandr Lukashenka, and more than 10% — for his main rival Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya. According to independent exit polls, Tsikhanouskaya won.

After the closure of the polling stations on August 9, mass protests began in the country. Security officials detained several thousand people. Peaceful actions were dispersed using force. Flash grenades and weapons were used against the protesters, hundreds of people were injured, some people died.