Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has promised quick citizenship procedures for “honest and good neighbours”. Previously, Belarusian MP Oleg Gaidukevich proposed to simplify citizenship process for people from Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, according to the opposition newspaper Zerkalo.
Asked on Tuesday how he viewed the proposal, Lukashenko said that Belarus was already granting quick citizenship to Ukrainians who were coming to the country.
“It will be the same for Lithuanians, Latvians and Poles. We will be happy to receive specialists who want to live and work with us in Belarus. What the parliamentarians meant was that there must not be any red lines, that everything must work quickly. We have a mechanism in place, [...] we are ready for it, we will do our best to welcome the honest and good neighbours into our Belarusian family. And not only neighbours. Those of you who want to work with us, to live in Belarus, please, the door is open,” Lukashenko said.
Thousands of Belarusians left the country following the government’s brutal crackdown on opposition protests following the disputed presidential election of 2020. The exodus has severely affected parts of the Belarusian economy.
Another wave of emigration from Belarus has been sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Part of the operation was conducted from the territory of Belarus. Fearing that Minsk could become involved in the war, more people have left.
Recently, Belarus introduced a visa-free regime for travellers from Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.
Lithuania’s State Security Department (VSD) warns, however, that Lithuanians who decide to travel to Belarus may be targeted by Russian and Belarusian intelligence services.