Updated at 18:18,16-07-2018

Deutsche Welle: Lukashenka-controlled organisations "feed" on Europeans

Deutsche Welle

The authorities are trying to intercept the EU's support to Belarus.

Hundreds of organisations declaring themselves as "non-governmental" are registered in Belarus. In actual practice, many of them are artificial institutions that receive state support for their loyalty. The authorities use them in a hope to intercept the aid promised by the EU, Deutsche Welle report.

This can be proved by a recent curious incident, when a representative of a Brest-registered NGO was noticed at a meeting with Belarusian NGO leaders in Strasbourg. The Brest NGO has not been involved in human rights activity for 10 years of its existence, but can demand foreign grants hoping for Europe's pluralism and the lack of public control over fund spending in Belarus.

Belarusian propaganda has accused NGOs of receiving aid from the West several times. NGOs faced a tougher crackdown when the European Endowment for Democracy with the budget of 16m euros, 10 of which are expected to be spent on implementation of projects, was registered in Poland after the 2010 presidential elections.

The KGB tries to play in the arena of civil activity monitoring contacts and flows of western resources. Those wanting to work on grassroots initiatives are expelled from the legal framework, which is used by government-controlled structures that imitate public activity.

These include the republican association "Belaya Rus" with 100,000 members, the Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BRSM), numerous veterans and women's organisations and even public and consultative councils under the aegis of governmental bodies. In 2010, the presidential administration, then headed by current foreign minister Uladzimir Makei, wanted to introduce one of such councils as a public initiative at the Eastern Partnership Forum.

If pro-governmental organisations are not welcomed at the European civil forums, projects of numerous state-controlled institutions receive aid from the West. It's worth noting that the EU didn't stop supporting Belarus financially even in cool-down periods in relations. The matter is millions of euros spent both on independent NGOs and programmes on drug control, illegal migration, regional development projects, cooperation in ecological, humanitarian and educational sectors.