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Photos from the conference on April 23, 2024

Examine key quotes and presentation slides from each speaker down below.

(From left) Photo of Dmitri Vasserman, Anders Olofsgård & Victoria Leukavets. Photo by: Dominick Nilsson

Anders Olofsgård, Deputy Director at SITE, inaugurates the conference "Belarus at the crossroads: The complex role of sanctions in the context of totalitarian backsliding" by welcoming all attendees alongside Dmitri Vasserman, spokesperson for the People’s Embassy of Belarus in Sweden, and Victoria Leukavets, researcher at the Stockholm Centre for Eastern European Studies (SCEEUS).

Photo of Lev Lvovskiy. Photo by: Dominick Nilsson

"The standard of living in Belarus has remained unchanged since 2011, despite a 1% yearly growth rate. The economy now relies almost entirely on Russia." says Lev Lvovskiy, Academic Director at BEROC.

Photo of Lev Lvovskiy. Photo by: Dominick Nilsson

"Population is declining and labor shortages are emerging, so labor market control policies are soon to be expected.

The price cap imposed on Russian oil as part of the sanctions created a bonus for BE, which was buying Russian crude at discounted Ural prices and selling refined products at Brent prices. However, the price cap discount is shrinking over time due to the Russian shadow fleet.", says Lev Lvovskiy.

Photo of Dzmitry Kruk. Photo by: Dominick Nilsson

"The Belarusian economy faces output losses due to sanctions, notably affecting macroeconomic and financial stability. The best-case scenario is stagnation, worsened by reliance on Russia," states Dzmitry Kruk, Researcher from BEROC.

Photo of Erlend Bollman Bjørtvedt. Photo by: Dominick Nilsson

"Belarus plays a crucial role in circumventing sanctions: war-critical goods that are still reaching Russia from the West often pass through either Turkey or Belarus. It must cease," says Erlend Bollman Bjørtvedt, founder of Corisk.

Photo of Dmitri Vasserman. Photo by: Dominick Nilsson

"While acknowledging the long-term effects of sanctions on Belarus, immediate additional action is needed, particularly to secure the release of Belarusian political prisoners and to restrict Belarus's involvement in aggression towards Ukraine", says Dmitri Vasserman, Spokesperson for the People's Embassy of Belarus in Sweden.

Photo of Lana Willebrand. Photo by: Dominick Nilsson

Lana Willebrand, from Union to Union, discusses the importance of holding the Belarusian regime accountable for breaching workers' rights. Since 2022, all trade unions in Belarus have been liquidated, forcing them to operate solely from exile.

Photo of Victoria Leukavets. Photo by: Dominick Nilsson

"The significance of Belarus for the entire region cannot be overstated. The goal of the democratic world should be clear: to remove Belarus from Russian influence and facilitate its democratic transition," says Victoria Leukavets from the Stockholm Centre for Eastern European Studies (SCEEUS).

Photo of Anastasia Luzgina. Photo by: Dominick Nilsson

”The Belarusian IT sector surged in 2005 with the establishment of the high-tech park. This once-significant edge has dwindled, as Belarus lost access to its EU and US clients," says Anastasia Luzgina, researcher from BEROC.

Photo of Sierz Naurodski. Photo by: Dominick Nilsson

Sierz Naurodski, Executive Director at the CASE Belarus, pointed out the challenges of balancing measures aimed at isolating the regime and the state sector without inadvertently pushing Belarus into the Russian orbit.

Photo of Kanstantin Staradubets. Photo by: Dominick Nilsson

"Mobility should be a right for the Belarusian people. It shouldn't be easier for Russians than for Belarusians to obtain visas. The EU could help Belarusian businesses relocate their operations to the EU," says Kanstantin Staradubets, spokesperson at the Viasna Human Rights Center.