Belarus dictator’s family loves EU luxuries, flight data shows

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Lavish birthday journeys to Michelin-starred eating places in France, snowboarding in Austria, and sunbathing in Italy — leaked flight knowledge present how the household of ruthless Belarusian president Aleksander Lukashenko lived la dolce vita in Europe.

In the meantime, jailed opposition chief, Maria Kolesnikova, was taken into intensive care in hospital in Belarus, her family stated on Wednesday (30 November).

  • Anna Lukashenko’s brother-in-law, Volodomyr Kulakov, on the l’Atelier d’Edmond restaurant in France in 2018 (Photograph: instagram.com)

She is considered one of hundreds of victims of Lukashenko’s crackdown in opposition to individuals who rejected his faux re-election in 2020 — an ongoing horror present that dangers being forgotten amid the day by day headlines of Russia’s warfare in Ukraine.

Lukashenko himself, his two grownup sons Dmitry and Viktor, in addition to Viktor’s spouse Liliya, are all on EU visa-ban and asset-freeze lists.

However the president’s youngest son, Kolya (a scholar), Dmitry’s spouse Anna Lukashenko, and a number of other minor family have not been blacklisted.

And as Anna’s dictator father-in-law continues to inflict distress on individuals like Kolesnikova, the leaked flight data present the form of luxurious that the ruling clan likes to take pleasure in within the coronary heart of Europe, given the possibility.

In a single journey in January 2018, as an example, Anna, her sister, and their households flew to the French Alps for 11 days, from the place they posted an image within the two-Michelin star restaurant, the l’Atelier d’Edmond in Val-d’Isère, the place a boozy dinner, containing delicacies similar to frog’s legs in horseradish, prices over €400 per individual.

In 2017, Anna and her household additionally went snowboarding in Innsbruck (Austria), celebrated her birthday in a 25-day lengthy splurge in Cagliari (Italy) on a non-public jet, and visited the five-star Banana Island Resort in Doha.

The flight knowledge, protecting the interval 2011 to 2019, was obtained by Belarusian hacker-activists Cyber Partisans and printed by a gaggle of journalists in exile known as the Belarusian Investigative Heart.

The price of the 2017 and 2018 journeys alone could be no less than €480,000 — manner past Anna and her husband’s declared joint incomes of some €80,000, the Belarusian Investigative Heart famous, in a obvious signal of regime corruption.

It’s unknown what Anna is doing today or if she and her entourage nonetheless use their EU journey perks.

However data present that in 2018 and 2020 she used to work in BelAZ Buying and selling Home, which sells Belarusian vehicles and machine components in Russia.

Her husband Dmitry is chairman of the state-public affiliation, the Presidential Sports activities Membership, which EU sanctions paperwork describe as a entrance for Lukashenko-family enterprise pursuits.

Anna’s sister and brother-in-law (Tatiana Kulakova and Volodymyr Kulakov) are additionally within the household agency.

Tatiana, who typically holidayed within the EU with Anna, works for a state-funded TV manufacturing firm, whereas Volodymyr runs the Tennis Membership a part of Dmitry Lukashenko’s sports activities empire.

Tatiana additionally has a small chain of garments retailers, considered one of which is positioned in the identical mall as Liliya Lukashenko’s artwork gallery in Minsk.

In the meantime, Anna’s journey to EU cities over time additionally included Barcelona, Ljubljana, Frankfurt, Munich, Pisa, Thessaloniki, and Vienna, the flight knowledge confirmed.

And a few of the journeys highlighted the Lukashenko household’s enterprise ties in Europe.

In 2017, as an example, Anna and her husband Dmitry flew residence from a birthday journey in Cagliari to Minsk with a Slovenian businessman, Zivorad Smiljković from the Ljubljana-based agency Riko, which has gained hundreds of thousands of {dollars} of development contracts in Belarus.

In 2019, Smiljković additionally flew with Lukashenko’s closest family from Sion (Switzerland) to the Belarusian capital.

However not the entire dictator’s associates are so fortunate.

Lukashenko’s presidential jet, a VIP-model of a Boeing-767, has golden bathroom bowls, Belarusian activists revealed in 2021.

However when Lukashenko visited Yerevan final week, his long-serving international minister, Viktor Makai, flew residence on a cargo aircraft, amid overboard temperatures of minus 60 levels Celsius and in onboard temperatures of not more than 10 levels Celsius.

Makai might be seen rubbing his chilly, anxious fingers collectively in an interview with the CTV.by broadcaster one week in the past — shortly earlier than he died, instantly, on 26 November.

The EU final up to date its Belarus sanctions, which additionally contains financial measures, in March on grounds of Belarus’ “function within the Russian army aggression of Ukraine”.

Its earlier sanctions coated individuals accountable for “unacceptable violence in opposition to peaceable protesters” and people “carefully related with quite a lot of high-profile corporations which have benefited from the Lukashenko regime”.

Nosebleed

“The prevailing sanctions on Belarus are reviewed recurrently in gentle of the developments on the bottom,” an EU international service spokesman stated, when requested if any additional blacklistings have been within the pipeline.

The Belarusian opposition in exile in Estonia has additionally circulated a file to EU diplomats, seen by EUobserver, calling for “extra devastating financial sanctions” and for Europe to “discover and freeze property of Lukashenko’s household and its wallets”.

However the truth is, not a lot is occurring on Lukashenko in Brussels.

“There is no proposal [for more Belarus sanctions] on the desk. We’re speaking concerning the subsequent Russia sanctions bundle, however there’s nothing on Belarus,” an EU diplomat stated.

One other EU supply stated: “Even the brand new Russia sanctions are transferring forward like a gradual nosebleed, because of fatigue, which is reprehensible given the extent of atypical individuals’s struggling”.

The EU embassy in Minsk was making enquiries concerning the well being of Kolesnikova, the jailed opposition chief, the supply stated, in what they known as “silent diplomacy”.

Requested what must occur in Belarus to set off an extra spherical of EU measures, the supply added: “Let’s pray nothing occurs as a result of individuals there already cannot breathe anyway”.

But when there was to be one other spherical, it might probably goal the remaining “flowers” of the regime clan, in addition to sanctions circumventers, propagandists, and law-enforcement officers, the EU supply added.

Lukashenko’s scholar son, Kolya, would by no means be focused due to his youth, except he had “personally dedicated a drastic crime”, the supply stated.

“But when Anna [Lukashenko] continues to be fortunately flying across the EU, we needs to be having a look at that,” the supply added.



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