GENERICO.ruRussia"Previously, the border was full of holes, they crossed it in droves from spring."

“Previously, the border was full of holes, they crossed it in droves from spring.”

Alexandra Murashova (name has been changed) agreed to be interviewed by Novaya Gazeta on condition of complete anonymity. She is the manager of one of the Belarusian travel companies, which since spring imported migrants from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen to Belarus for the subsequent illegal crossing of the Belarusian-Polish border. Dozens of Belarusian companies were involved in this business, and in October the Foreign Ministry deprived most of them of the right to issue invitations to migrants. Only 12 companies remained on the list, 11 of which had never worked in the market at all and, according to Alexandra, were created exclusively for migrants by people close to the government.

Guys without specific positions < p> – The world started talking about the migrant crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border in early November. And when did this whole story begin with supposedly excursion trips to Belarus?

– In early spring, Iraqi guys flew to Minsk, who offered a person very close to the Lukashenka family a good business, based on the fact that he would ask Tsentrkurort – the main representative for inbound tourism in Belarus, a state structure within the Department of Affairs – to give cards -blanche on arrivals of people interested in illegally crossing the border with Poland, and then driving them to Germany, France, Belgium. I cannot name the names and positions of these Iraqi guys, I can only say that they are not businessmen, but simply very close to the Iraqi government. That is, there were confidants without specific positions, shadow lobbyists. The meeting took place in mid-March at the Beijing Hotel in Minsk. The parties agreed to mutual pleasure. Then very quickly a representative office of Iraqi Airways was opened in Minsk, at the same time an active transfer of migrants to Belarus began.

So the scheme has been working for more than six months. And only now it looks like a big show.

That is, since spring migrants have safely arrived in Belarus and crossed the border. And it could go on just as quietly, without attracting attention. But in November they seemed to be released from the underground and ordered to attract maximum attention.

– In our circles – among those who are involved in this business – they say that this is the scenario of spring 2011. Then it was necessary to switch people's attention from repression to something else. And it is desirable to switch the attention of the whole world, and not only the Belarusians. In 2011, it was a terrorist attack in the Minsk metro. Now, ten years later, there is a migrant crisis. But the scheme is absolutely identical. Since spring, Iraqi Airways has been launching flights, and Boeing 777s and airbuses with a capacity of 400-600 people fly to Minsk from there. This was arranged as excursion trips of tourist groups. And our company really first offered them an excursion program. Our employee stood at the airport and handed out flyers. We handed out over 700 flyers during the week and did not receive a single call. That is, from the very beginning, people were not at all interested in seeing Belarus, but flew only to cross forest trails to Europe.

Minsk, April 12, 2011. At the site of the explosion at the Oktyabrskaya metro station. Photo: ITAR-TASS

And 300 bucks on top

It turns out that the Iraqi Airways flights to Minsk were full, and back empty?

– And so it was. Let's say that 300 tickets have been purchased for the flight, and 15-16 people are flying. Less than ten percent returned.

If we put the explosion in the Minsk metro in 2011 and the migrant crisis of 2021 in one row, can we say that these events have one beneficiary?

– The beneficiary is the same. In addition, he earned a lot of money on this migration … how shall I put it … in general, the middle son of the beneficiary. Since October, only 12 companies have retained the right to register and receive these “tourist groups”. And 11 of them are tinsel, ephemeral, spam. They have never worked in the market at all, and no one has heard of them. The main travel agency for migrants today is Oskartur. The same son of the beneficiary is its co-owner. I know that people from Damascus, from Beirut call there and say: “We can send 100-200 people a day to you, we make one hundred percent prepayment, just send invitations.” That is, the channel narrowed sharply, but the flow remained.

If the task was to divert people's attention, then why did the migrants cross the border on the sly for six months, without attracting attention? It was possible to start a campaign of blackmailing the West in the spring.

– Well, first of all, not “on the sly” at all: they crossed in droves. Secondly, don't forget about the money. It all started when the guys from Iraq decided to earn extra money. The Belarusians were also given the opportunity to make money on this: at first, all travel companies licensed and operating on the market for more than a year could send them invitations. And only after all travel companies, except for the 12 that I spoke about, were prohibited from doing this, this whole PR campaign called the “migrant crisis” began.

List of 12 Belarusian companies that accept” tourist groups “from the Middle East/p>

The countries from which migrants come do not belong to the visa-free list.

– They received visas, of course. They were registered as tourist groups, and the consul on duty from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued visas upon arrival to the first such groups at the airport. Then they began to receive visas already at the consulates in the Arab countries, Turkey, and Syria. It is possible that the Foreign Ministry employees could also earn extra money. A Belarusian visa costs $ 120. But at the same time, consuls in some eastern countries – I was told about this by those who received a Belarusian visa at home and arrived in Minsk – with a full package of documents (invitation, hotel reservation, tickets in both directions) they took another 300 dollars per person “For a positive solution to the visa issue.” Bakshish – you won’t surprise anyone in the East, everyone is familiar, and the wallet is readily available. Now imagine how many such “tourists” a day passed through the Belarusian consul. I think many of these consuls will not return to Belarus. They will move to the Emirates, for example, being wealthy for many years to come.

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