It is obvious that all the countries have their intelligence and military. Especially when we look at authoritarian states like Belarus. As a response to European Union actions regarding hijack a plane with Belarusian oppositionist in a May 2021 Lukashenko threatened European Union that they are about to stop “keeping” illegal immigrants away from EU. It seems that he kept faith.
We already informed about the situation along Lithuanian border. There is more than 4000 people who illegal cross the border of EU through Lithuania in 2021. For comparison, in 2020 there were only 81 people. Most of them are inspired by Belarus.
How they can manage it? It is complex. Biggest number of refugees along Belarusian borders are from Iraq. They are lured to the Belarus by promise of good life in EU. Iraqi media informed that Belarus won’t disturb people who decided to leave country and head to EU. This is the main reason why they decided to cross EU border thorough Belarus.
While at the beginning of this year there was only one flight a week between Iraq and Belarus, the number began to increase rapidly from May onwards. First, Iraqi Airways was joined by another carrier – Fly Baghdad, and then Iraqi Airways themselves increased the frequency of their flights from Baghdad to Minsk from one to four a week and opened new connections from three other cities – Erbil, Basra and Suleimania. In addition, instead of the standard Boeing 737 (about 150 passengers), the most capacious Boeing 777 (Triple Seven) and 747 (Jumbo Jet) – with almost 400 passengers – began to fly to Belarus – informed wiadelotte.org.
It’s widely know that a Belarusian company Centrkurort linked to the president Lukashenko is responsible for transporting refugees from Iraq to Belarus. Modus operandi is quite simple, they work with the local tourist agencies in Iraq – that’s how they manage to find so many people.
The prices for weekly trips to Belarus cost from 500 to 1500 $. Tourists can choose from six state-owned hotels in Minsk – three 3-star, two 4-star and one 5-star. In practice, Iraqis come to Minsk, get visas at the border control, leave the airport, where a bus is waiting for them to take them to the hotel. Later, some Iraqis actually visit Belarus, while the other part immediately or after a few days go to the border. The whole procedure was described on one of the Belarusian websites (www.reform.by)
Practically, at every stage of their journey, immigrants can count on the support of the services from Belarus. Especially, when it goes to cross borders.
What is really important to outline is a fact that even the European agency FRONTEX noticed that Belarusian border guards are involved into transport of refugees. In the 21st century, you don’t have to be in an army or any agency to take a photo of someone actions. The great examples are the photos taken by one of Lithuanian farmers who spotted Belarusian border guards cutting metal fence to help refugees to go on the other side of border.
BYPOL – an organization founded in Warsaw by former officers of Belarusian power ministries who left the service after last year’s elections and had to leave the country – says exactly the same. According to their information, the action of transferring migrants across the Belarusian border with the EU was developed in 2010-2011 and is called Operation “Sluice“. Its authors were the head of the Committee for State Security, Ivan Tertel, and his brother Juri – then the commander of the OSAM (a special unit of border troops). 10 years ago, this was aimed at forcing Europe to pay tribute to strengthen its borders (effective by the way, because Belarus actually received tens of millions of euros from the EU for this purpose). The Belarusian police worked out the whole pattern in which the State Security Agency, OSAM and the Russian FSB were involved, but they were ordered to drop the case – can be read on waidelotte.org.
It can be assumed that without sealing the border in Poland and Latvia, the practice will increase. Lithuania has partially dealt with illegal migration, stabilizing the situation. However, the aftermath of actions on the Lithuanian border is hitting Poland and Latvia, as people who were originally supposed to get to Lithuania are storming the surrounding countries.