Democracy Without Borders: Belarus – KyivPost

(Continued from Part 1)

Kyiv Post recently launched a new column Democracy Without Borders in which we want to make it possible for the voices of the many political refugees and exiles who have found safety in Ukraine to be heard. Today, on December 10, international Human Rights Day, we’re especially proud to have a Belarusian refugee continue his story of how and why he and his family have made Ukraine their new home.

Exiled Belarusian TV personality Denis Doudinsky continues his story.

There are ten reasons why as political refuges escaping from Aleksander Lukashenko’s dictatorship in Belarus we finally settled down in Ukraine.

Denis Doudinsky attending election fraud demonstrations August 16, 2020 Minsk, Belarus / Facebook (Dmitry Lasko +375-44-735-66-90)

1) Language. The Ukrainian language is similar to Belarusian and Russian languages. These languages belong to the East Slavonic group, that’s to say, if you speak the Belarusian and Russian languages you can easily understand Ukrainian. What’s more, lots of Ukrainian people fluently speak Russian and use it in everyday life for communication.

2) Visa-free. Belarusian citizens do not need a visa to enter Ukraine.

3) 180 days of stay without registration are permitted per year. Previously it was only 90 days but recently, the Ukrainian government allowed Belarusian refugees to stay on the territory of Ukraine without registration for up to 180 days per year. And the further process of applying for a residence permit is much easier than in the EU countries.

4) Ukraine and Belarus were parts of the former USSR. Just 30 years ago there wasn’t any border between them, they were in a unitary state. These two countries and their citizens still have much in common and are very close to each other – they have a common history, similar viewpoints and lifestyles, habits and sense of humor, a common character and temperament and even a common enemy.

5) Climate. Ukraine is situated to the south from Belarus. In Ukraine it’s not so cold in winter. There are more sunny days all year round and generally the climate is warmer, drier and more moderate than in Belarus, Lithuania and Poland.

6) Geographical position. This is important consideration for Belarusians. Ukraine has access to the seas. These are the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, both with warm waters, resorts and all necessary infrastructure. One hour by plane from Kyiv and you are on the seashore. If you go in for skiing, you can drive westward to Carpathian mountains and immerse yourself in a winter fairytale with all its snowy fun.

7) History. In 2005-2016 Ukraine passed through serious political collisions, shocks and even armed conflicts and war, so Ukrainians understand Belarusian refugees like no one else and are ready to do everything possible for them to make them feel at home and to reduce their suffering and homesickness.

8) Labor market. The Ukrainian labor market is big, open for new employees, and is still developing. Engineers, doctors, IT-specialists, managers of all kinds, technical workers, musicians, teachers, etc., can easily find a job in Ukraine. If you want to open your own business, there are no limits and obstacles; Ukrainian laws welcome you and provide an opportunity to realize all your business plans.

9) Ukrainian people are warm, hospitable and understanding. Belarusian feel comfortable, secure and happy among them.

10) Lots of Belarusians have moved to Ukraine over the last 10-20 years and now are owners of all kinds of businesses – mass-media, entertainment, the service sector, restaurants, shops, financial activities, real estate, IT, etc. And they all are ready to hire their fugitive countrymen in exile, help them, provide them with care and attention.

So, as you can see, Ukraine is a country where you can live normally. If you have to escape from Belarus and you don’t know where to run, I can give you a piece of advice – look southward. Try Ukraine, taste Ukraine, fall in love with Ukraine, dissolve in Ukraine. I’m certain that very soon you will feel happy and full of will and stamina to carry on until the end of the dark times of the Belarusian dictatorship.

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