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Belarus Orders Two German Educational Institutions To Halt Work


Belarusian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka

Germany has deplored Belarus’s decision to demand an end to all activities of two prominent German educational institutions after the European Union imposed economic sanctions on Belarus.

"We regret the decision of the Belarusian side," a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry said on June 30 about the decision affecting the Goethe-Institute, which promotes the German language and culture worldwide, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Crisis In Belarus

Read our ongoing coverage as Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka ramps up pressure on NGOs and independent media as part of a brutal crackdown against protesters and the opposition following an August 2020 election widely considered fraudulent.

The spokesman said Belarus's action was a response to the EU’s latest sanctions against the regime of authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka, which has been under international pressure since it launched a brutal crackdown on the political opposition and independent media in the wake of a disputed election in August 2020.

The opposition says that election was rigged, while the European Union, the United States, and other countries have refused to recognize the official results of the vote and do not consider Lukashenka to be the country's legitimate leader.

The German Foreign Ministry said Minsk’s latest move will “contribute to further isolating Belarus internationally.”

“The victims of this decision are Belarusian citizens, who are being denied further opportunities for social and cultural activity,” it said, adding that the Goethe-Institute and DAAD “have enabled cultural and academic bridges between Germany, Europe, and Belarus for decades.”

The ministry renewed its call for the Belarusian authorities “to enter a serious and inclusive national dialogue and discuss the legitimate demands of the protest movement.”

Last week, the EU sanctioned key sectors of the Belarusian economy and major revenue sources for Lukashenka’s regime following the forced diversion of a passenger flight to Minsk in May that allowed for the arrest of dissident journalist Raman Pratasevich and his girlfriend.

In response, Belarus recalled its representative to the EU for consultations, announced a travel ban on unspecified EU officials, and said it was suspending its participation in the bloc’s Eastern Partnership program.

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    RFE/RL's Belarus Service

    RFE/RL's Belarus Service is one of the leading providers of news and analysis to Belarusian audiences in their own language. It is a bulwark against pervasive Russian propaganda and defies the government’s virtual monopoly on domestic broadcast media.

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