Recently, some European universities have claimed that they will not accept Belarusian students because of the war in Ukraine. Moreover, one of the news was accompanied with the commentaries that Belarusian students may be dangerous for the European Union and they can be spies of Belarus or Russia.
In this regard, it is vital to shed light on the actual situation with the attitude of Belarusian authorities towards Belarusian students who study abroad.
The position of the regime is that the EU and the USA are the enemies of Belarus in all possible spheres. Hence, all those Belarusians who decide to obtain higher education abroad are automatically labelled as “potential enemies who are brainwashed in the West to destroy Belarus”. Once Lukashenko advised those who studied abroad not to come back to Belarus as they were potential Fifth column in Belarus. Also, Lukashenko ordered to stop recognizing degrees obtained abroad so that Belarusians with foreign degrees could not work in Belarus.
As mentioned above, students who study abroad are perceived as Western spies by Belarusian authorities. There are pieces of news that students who study abroad were invited against their will and with violations of legislation to KGB where they were asked a lot of questions concerning their private life abroad and were taught how to behave “properly” not to spoil the image of Belarus. The students after the interrogation said that the KGB had big profiles on them. The aim of such interrogations is to learn whether students are recruited by Western intelligence. At the same time, it is impossible for students to have access to any information which may be interesting to KGB and threaten European security. It is worth mentioning that such practices are not new for Belarusian authorities as in 2011 students at European Humanities University (Lithuania) were invited to KGB with the same purpose.
There are also cases when students who go to their foreign universities are not let out at the border by the Belarusian side.
To sum up everything, in the current situation Belarusian students are “spies” for everybody. They may be deprived of the right to obtain higher education both in Belarus and abroad. However, everything is in the hands of European policymakers who can give up the idea of adopting regulations discriminatory against ordinary Belarusian students and let them find their professional path in life.