Austria and Belarus (2/3): Belarus as a trading partner of Austria

, 14.02.2022
Chronicle from Belarus
Martin Malek

General Data

The Viennese weekly magazine Profil described Belarus as ‘a dark hole, ruled by Alexander Lukashenko and his henchmen since 1994. Fundamental rights? It's all a question of definition – and a functioning secret service apparatus.’[1] So that is exactly what Austrian companies deal with. And they, according to Lukashenko in November 2019, have ‘never condemned him for authoritarianism, dictatorship, human rights, etc’[2] and assertion that is coherent with the afore mentioned behaviour and declarations of Austrian business.

Then again, Austria is one of the most important foreign investors in Belarus: in 2018, the total amount of Austria’s assets was 365 million euros. For 2019, the Austrian National Bank mentioned 397 million euros worth of investment, and 383 million for 2020.[3] In the summer of that later year, on the other hand, the Federal Chancellery cited 368 million euros, making Austria the second largest investor in Belarus (the third according to other data[4]), which was the equivalent to more than 8 per cent of all foreign investments made there. For Austria however, these figures are far from impressive – only 0.18 per cent of all its foreign investments. The National Bank of Belarus reports much higher direct investments by Austria on its website, namely 1.6 billion dollars (circa 1.4 billion euros) as of January 1st, 2020. The exact causes of this considerable discrepancy are unclear.[5] But it is possible that the Belarusian side has exaggerated the data in order to exaggerate Austrian involvement.

According to the Austrian Economic Chamber, twenty Austrian companies maintain representative offices in Minsk and the surrounding area, and there also held stakes in eighty two Belarusian companies. Among them are also four stock exchange-listed companies, namely Raiffeisen Bank International (Priorbank), Vienna Insurance Group (Kupala), A1 Telekom Austria (A1 Belarus) and Kapsch TrafficCom. In May 2021, on the occasion of Protasevych‘s kidnapping, Profil asked these four companies how they thought about Belarus, and the answers followed the same pattern: they made significant contributions to society, provided people with banking services, insurance products and technology. To leave the market would be to punish the population, not the regime.[6] All these compagnies however serve areas in which it is impossible not to cooperate with Lukashenko's authorities.[7]

As far as trade is concerned, the picture is similar. From Vienna's perspective, the stakes are low. In 2019, Austria shipped goods worth 126 million euros to Belarus, which only accounted for about one thousandth of Austria's total exports. Imports from Belarus were, at 26 million euros, even considerably lower.[8] In 2020, the exports to Belarus amounted to 96.5 million euros, ranking it only 66th among Austria's most important export destinations. In the record year 2013, this export volume had still amounted to 246 million euros. Austria's main export products to Belarus originate from the mechanical engineering and pharmaceutical sectors. That same year, imports from Belarus to Austria accounted for only 34.4 million euros at all.[9]

The Embassy of Belarus in Vienna called Austria ‘an important trade and investment partner’. According to it, traditional items of Belarusian export to Austria include metal products, insulated wires and cables, oil products, potash fertiliser, furniture as well as other products of the wood processing industry. Capital goods (machinery and equipment, production plants), pharmaceutical products, cigarette paper, and furniture fittings predominate among Austrian deliveries to Belarus. Austria plays an important role in the modernisation of Belarusian enterprises in the energy sector, infrastructure, petrochemistry, mechanical engineering, wood and metal processing, food industry, construction industry, environmental protection, etc. The Embassy further emphasises that Austria is one of the largest investors in Belarus. Only three subsidiaries of Belarusian companies are represented in Austria: BELMET Handelsgesellschaft and RMZ Vertriebsgesellschaft (representing the interests of the steelworks in Zhlobin, which had been built with the participation of the Austrian Voestalpine from 1982, i.e. still in Soviet times), a SolTrade GmbH in Vienna (linked to Belaruskali, which is one of the largest potash salt producers in the world and one of the most important foreign exchange earners of the Lukashenko regime) and the representation of the state-owned airline Belavia. To promote Belarusian-Austrian economic contacts, a ‘number of bilateral institutional mechanisms have been established’, including the Belarusian-Austrian Joint Commission for Bilateral Trade and Economic Relations and the Belarusian-Austrian Business Council.[10]

The Austrian Embassy in Minsk noted:

The representatives of the business elite of the two countries see great potential in the further development of commercial relations between Belarus and Austria. Good prospects are promised by joint work in the field of waste processing, as well as the development of the latest information technologies. Cooperation in the fields of renewable energy, municipal economy, construction and wood processing technologies are considered promising directions of economic cooperation between Belarus and Austria.[11]

Telekom Austria in Belarus

In autumn 2007 Telekom Austria bought 70 per cent of the shares of the Belarusian mobile operator Velcom, which at that time had 2.7 million customers and a market share of 42 per cent. When asked about Lukashenko and his regime, Telekom Austria CEO Boris Nemsic said that he did not want to ‘comment on political circumstances’; stating that ‘we are simple mobile operators’. And Erich Gnad, then head of Telekom Austria's Mergers & Acquisitions department, revealed the naïve opinion that the partial takeover of Velcom would make Belarus, move closer to the EU.[12] Of course, the exact opposite happened in the following years. The Velcom transaction was clouded by suspicions of bribery from the beginning and also costed more, namely 1.7 billion euros, than planned (which admittedly never irritated the responsible bodies of Telekom Austria – at least as far as it would have become known to the public). However, charges were never brought against Nemsic.[13]

Velcom has been wholly owned by Telekom Austria since October 2010. In 2019, the company was renamed "A1 Belarus". In 2020, Belarus was Telekom Austria's third-largest foreign market, but it made the highest contribution to profits. In 2019, Telekom spent 9.5 million euros on mobile frequencies in the country. It also announced high investments in the roll-out of the 5G network in Belarus.[14] In 2020, Telekom in Belarus made over 400 million euros in revenue (which equalled 9 per cent of the group's revenue) and 173 million euros in pre-tax profit. This made Telekom one of the largest taxpayers in the country.[15] In other words, it directly supported the Lukashenko’s regime. In mobile telephony, A1 Belarus had 3,000 employees, 5 million customers and 42 per cent local market share in 2020; in the fixed network it was only 7 per cent.[16]

There had already been mass protests in Minsk on the occasion of the 2010 presidential elections, when Lukashenko, as always, had declared himself the winner. It later turned out that demonstrators had been spied on by the authorities using their mobile phone data. A1 always stressed that it had not actively passed on any customer data. But: ‘Any access to personal and call data takes place – in contrast to most other countries – without a court order and without the involvement of the mobile phone operators’.[17] In July 2016, the human rights organisation Amnesty International accused A1 Belarus of being involved in the regime's surveillance of the country's population. It said the company allowed the regime almost unlimited access to its customers' communications and their data. Telekom Austria simply responded to these allegations by saying that it was obliged to comply with the laws of the country’.[18]

During the protests in August 2020, A1 Belarus again came under criticism because it reduced the capacity of mobile internet on the territory of Minsk ‘on the orders of authorised state bodies’.[19] A1 claimed that this had to do with the order of state bodies to ‘protect national security’. On the same day, the provision of data services was fully restored. On the 26th of August, the company warned customers in advance of similar problems.[20] There were hours of mobile internet outages, which, according to the human rights organisation Human Constanta, was tantamount to a crackdown on a peaceful demonstration, ‘only online’.[21]

A1 Belarus justified itself by saying that it had ‘only throttled, but not blocked the internet’. According to the company, there was no alternative, otherwise the regulator would have deactivated the internet on its own initiative. However, A1 Belarus claimed that it was ‘the first provider’ to make the Internet throttling transparent to its own customers. Telekom Austria paid itself compliments: ‘We make a significant contribution to civil society, enable the population to connect to Western Europe, provide employees with an international career path and show the population that there is an alternative.’[22] Tikhanovskaya said that it was clear to her ‘that it was the regime that caused the A1 signal to be switched off during [opposition] demonstrations.’[23]

On the 21st of September 2020, the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) issued a statement regarding internet shutdowns in Belarus. It also included the public position of A1 Telekom Austria Group: ‘A1 cannot provide mobile services in Belarus without access to a state-monopolised external channel - voice connection and data transmission are under control of authorised state bodies at national and international level’.[24]

One prominent A1 critic is Veronika Tsepkalo, wife of Valery Tsepkalo (a former supporter of Lukashenko who defected to the opposition). She worked for many years at Velcom in sales and corporate departments and stated in October 2020:

I don't think it's right that a company from the EU so obviously supports Lukashenka and his non-democratic values. There is no other way to call their behaviour when they turn off the mobile internet every Sunday [i.e. on the occasion of opposition demonstrations]. What is A1 doing to distance itself from this bloody regime?[25]

In October 2020, the international alliance #KeepItOn published an open letter calling on Belarusian telecommunications service providers to oppose internet shutdowns. A1's response was as follows:

Restricting access to internet services is not in the interest of the company and its customers. However, as in any country where A1 Telekom Austria Group operates, the company is obliged to adhere to local legal and regulatory requirements. Failure to comply with these requirements could have more far-reaching consequences.[26]

In May 2021, the Law ‘On Amendments to the Law on Telecommunications of the Republic of Belarus’ came into force. The law threatened that if a demand of the Operative Analysis Centre for suspension or restriction of interconnection networks by telecommunication companies were not met, their licence to use the radio frequency spectrum may be suspended.[27]

When asked by the German journal Der Spiegel whether Telekom had facilitated arrests of opponents of the regime by transmitting users' mobile phone data at the behest of Lukashenko's KGB, ‘Telekom Austria did not comment directly’, which means that it did not deny it. It talked its way out of it with mere formalities: ‘As in all European states’, telecommunications companies were obliged to ‘enable security organs to carry out surveillance measures’. That is indeed exactly what Telekom did: it helped the KGB and the Belarusian ministry of interior to ‘enable surveillance measures’ against the democratic opposition. Telekom further emphasised that it would ‘strictly adhere to the respective legal requirements’. Der Spiegel commented: ‘This does not sound reassuring. Especially since the laws are subject to Lukashenko's benevolence’.[28]

Telekom thus prefer supporting Lukashenko's business empire rather than ending its relationship with him. Telekom’s considerations could be imagined as follows: ‘Will we be forced by Austrian laws to end our involvement on the side of Lukashenko's authorities? No. Are there any demonstrations in front of the company headquarters in Vienna where this demand is made? No. Are customers in Austria switching mobile phone providers en masse, at least to express their disapproval of our support for Lukashenko? Neither. Was there any significant damage to the company's image because of the cooperation with Lukashenko? No. Are there any solidarity committees formed anywhere, signatures collected or even Facebook groups set up against Telekom? Not even that. So: why should we actually move away from Lukashenko?’.

On December the 10th of 2021, International Human Rights Day, the Austrian Ambassador in Minsk, Aloisia Wörgetter, remembered the 900 political prisoners held in Belarus recognised by the EU.[29] On the same day, the press secretary of A1 Belarus, Nikolai Bredelev, was arrested in Minsk. According to Telekom Austria, he was accused of having passed on personal data of the children of police officers to ‘Lithuanian terrorists’ (sic). In addition, the company announced that a humiliating video had spread which ‘contains personal information about his private life’[30] (in it he had described himself as homosexual). The verbally overly aggressive Lukashenko propagandist Grigory Azaryonok then insulted Wörgetter and Bredelev on television: ‘If you [foreign] shitty citizens don't like this state in which you earn a lot of money, then you will cut down trees here’ – meaning, as prisoners.[31] The A1 Telekom Austria Group in Vienna explained that access to customer data is strictly regulated and individually logged; Bredelev would not have had any technical possibility of access due to his post in the company. Nevertheless, an extended internal audit of the case had been initiated. The Austrian Foreign Ministry expressed ‘great concern’ about the arrest of the press secretary:

We [...] condemn the degrading actions of the Belarusian authorities. The fundamental rights and freedoms of all people must be respected at all times. We are making intensive efforts through diplomatic channels and in close consultation with the Austrian company to provide support here.[32]

At the time of the completion of this report, it was not yet possible to assess whether this was an isolated incident against Bredelev or whether the case could become a serious problem for A1 Belarus as a whole. A few days later, the deputy head of Lukashenko's Presidential Administration, Igor Lutsky, announced the ‘toughest measures’ against A1 Belarus, which ‘cannot work like this in our country’, inoking ‘moral, ethical and legal norms and rules’.[33] Around the same time, there was talk in Minsk of a review’ of A1 Belarus by the so-called ‘Operations and Analysis Center under the President of the Republic of Belarus’ (officially responsible, among other things, for the ‘regulation of activities to protect information containing knowledge that contains state secrets’[34]) in April 2022. In the summer of 2020, this state organ had also been responsible for internet blockades during the time of the large-scale opposition demonstrations, to which A1 Belarus had also committed itself at the time[35] (see above). According to Latushko, A1 Belarus is on a list of European companies drawn up by the ‘Operations and Analysis Center’ and the KGB whose assets could be frozen in response to EU sanctions.[36]


A reputable source reported that in spring 2021, 90% of the money the Lukashenko regime borrows from the EU is Austrian.[37] As the Belarusian Embassy in Vienna stated: ‘an important role in the development of relations in the field of trade and investment is due to the Raiffeisen Banking Group and its subsidiary Priorbank, as well as to the Austrian Kontrollbank’.[38] Raiffeisen had acquired 50 % of Priorbank, one of the largest Belarusian banks, in 2003 and increased this stake to 87.7 % in 2008 (a figure that has not changed to date[39]).

The head of Raiffeisen Central Bank's Eastern banking subsidiary, Herbert Stepic, even asserted in an interview at the beginning of 2005:

I don't do anything for free. Of course we want to earn money – what we do even in Belarus and Albania. [...] The Russian-speaking countries have a lot of catching up to do, there is a lot for us to do there. [...] I know Putin, but I don't go out with him every day. I have sought the quasi-security of the first man in the state in all the new countries. We don't go to any country where we are not welcome. In Russia we were very welcome: We got the licence in four months, others wait two years. [...] I always wanted to build an empire.[40]

In Belarus, the ‘first man in the state’ was and is Lukashenko. In January 2007, he awarded Stepic the Order of Friendship between Peoples, praising: ‘You have done a lot for Belarus and our economy and continue to do so’.[41] In the same month, Priorbank stopped issuing rouble loans, but immediately afterwards, the board member at Raiffeisen Bank International, Patrick Butler, pledged to support Belarus with an investement of one billion euros.[42]

In his capacity as head of Raiffeisen Bank International, Stepic was named ‘Man of the Year 2005’ by the Austrian business magazine Trend, ‘European Banker of the Year 2006’ and then ‘European Manager of the Year 2007’. Within Raiffeisen, it was rumoured that Stepic ‘is or has been involved in agricultural land in Belarus’.[43] He resigned in 2013 after a tax scandal.

In 2011, there was a massive banking crisis in Belarus. Several major Western banks left the country, but Raiffeisen remained. Michael Palzer, spokesman for Raiffeisenbank International, justified this because of the bank’s differences with  for instance, Deutsche Bank, which had helped Lukashenko to sell Belarusian government bonds. Raiffeisen, on the other hand, focuses on private and corporate customer business in Belarus. In the first half of 2011, Priorbank made a profit of 54 million euros, which put it in third place in the Raiffeisenbank International network (only Russia and Slovakia did better). In 2011 Priorbank employed 2,000 people in 99 branches.[44]

In 2020, Priorbank reported a profit of 43 million euros. However, according to Raiffeisen Bank International, it was "relatively insignificant" with a balance sheet that corresponded to about 1.3 % of the balance sheet total of Raiffeisen Bank International as a whole. Priorbank had extended loans for 1.3 billion euros in 2020, 80 % of which to private individuals and 20 % to Belarusian state-owned companies. And Raiffeisen Bank International to continue: ‘We are the only [Western] bank represented there, the market share is around 5 cent. The banking market in Belarus is dominated by Belarusian state banks and Russian banks.’[45]

Soon after the August 2020 protests had begun, Belarusian clients of Priorbank made an unpleasant discovery: their accounts had been frozen. The bank itself reluctantly explained that it had received orders from Lukashenko's ‘Investigative Committee’ which was justified by the fact that Belarusian opposition figures had received money from a British aid fund via the bank. By mid-2021, about a hundred alleged or actual opposition activists are likely to have been affected by account freezes.[46]

A withdrawal of Raiffeisen Bank International from the Belarusian market would hardly be painful for Raiffeisen, but it would for Belarus. However, Raiffeisen still refused to consider this option and announced in August 2020 that it had ‘obligations’ to 800,000 customers.[47]

In spring 2021, Raiffeisen Bank International, together with American and European financial institutions like the Citibank, Société Générale, Deutsche Bank, Allianz and the Luxembourgish subsidiary of Union Investment, arranged two Belarusian Government bonds with maturities until 2026 and 2031 for a total amount of USD 1.25 billion. When confronted about this, the credit institutions simply stated that the EU had not imposed any restrictions against subscription to Belarusian Government bonds. Latushko called the money a ‘huge gift for Lukashenko’. The opposition accused Western investors of co-financing an almost faltering violent regime. Raiffeisen Bank International rejected the accusation of having economically supported human rights violations ‘in the strongest possible terms’. Union Investment in turn stated that the funds had been used primarily to pay off existing national debts. In contrast, Maxim Adaskevich, Belarusian financial analyst at Duff & Phelps, claimed it was immaterial what the Belarusian state had spent the 1.25 billion on. ‘In any case, this money allowed the budget to be relieved, from which the security organs were also paid’. In 2020, the latter collected about a tenth of the total state budget, the equivalent of just under 990 million dollars. Directly or indirectly, according to Adaskevich, the subscription helped Lukashenko to prevent a collapse of the economy and thus of his regime.[48]

Priorbank would therefore have been a legitimate target of EU sanctions, as it was clearly at Lukashenko's service. Nevertheless, it has not yet been placed on the list of sanctioned companies, which raises the question of who in Brussels is responsible for such a complicit oversight. Various critical observers did not hide their opinion that the Austrian ministry of foreign affairs is promoting Raiffeisen’s interests;[49] moreover, it was pointed out that this ministry has been led by the People' s Party since 2019 and that its connivence with the bank was well-known. The latter did not even deny having implemented Belarusian specifications, but questionably claimed to have ‘no leeway for decision-making’.[50] 

However, Raiffeisen Bank International will in the future no longer act as a hub for international remittances for the state-owned Belarusbank in Minsk. This is from a leaked document of Belarusbank informing about a ‘change in the internal policy’ of the Austrian bank dated the 16th of August 2021. Meanwhile, Belarusbank has been the target of EU sanctions since the 24th of June 2021. However, these did not ban the provision for this bank with accounts in the EU for international transfers.[51]

Other Austrian Actors in the Belarusian Economy

While visiting facilities of the Austrian Kronospan holding in Mogilev in March 2017, Lukashenko claimed that ‘trustworthy investors are still supported’. Such investors could, according to him, take advantage of tax preferences and other benefits: Kronospan paid neither import duties nor value-added tax when importing German production equipment. Belarus had, established ‘very favourable conditions for the acquisition of foreign investors’ through numerous legislative amendments. Lukashenko continued:

I realy don't know what more could be done. We have a stable state, we live peacefully. Of course, our state power is not flawless and not faultless, but it is not the worst. We have neither looted the country nor allowed it to collapse. Security and stability are ensured because the state power does everything for that.

He concluded that foreign investors will find in Belarus not only good economic conditions, the absence of corruption, a large industrial base, a qualified workforce and fiscal flexibility, but also, most importantly, security and order as well as pro-business conditions such as low taxes.[52]

Lukashenko's news agency BelTA explained in its German-language service that Kronospan had signed an investment contract with the government in Minsk in 2010. According to it, five large production lines for the manufacture of particleboard, laminated particleboard, medium-density fibreboard, impregnated paper and flooring were to be built in Mogilev and Smorgon from 2012 to 2016. From 2010 to 2016, Kronospan invested a total of over 919 million euros[53] and created 1,017 jobs with an average monthly salary equivalent to over 650 dollars.[54] But unsurprisingly, the agency did not mention how much tax Kronospan pays into the budget founding Lukashenko’s security apparatus.

Kronospan CEO Peter Kaindl confirmed in 2017 that Belarus had created the most favourable conditions for his company, and decided to increase direct investments. And: ‘The business conditions that your [Lukashenko's] Government creates are perfect. Logistically, Belarus has a very attractive location. And no less important is the fact that Belarus is a stable state’.[55] Lukashenko undoubtedly interpreted this as praise specifically of his person, especially since Kaindl did not mention the price of this alleged stability.

In June 2021, Lukashenko visited a Kronospan logistics centre in the west of Belarus. He encouraged the company to produce not only semi-finished products but also furniture locally –  ‘The greater the added value in Belarus, the more we will also support you’ – sending a signal to foreign, and specifically Austrian, companies that remain in Belarus regardless of its human rights record and the EU santions. A representative of the Austrian minister of forein affairs spoke of a ‘clumsy attempt [of Lukashenko] to instrumentalise the company [Kronospan] for domestic political purposes’. At the same time, he stressed the ‘important role’ that European companies would play in Belarus: ‘They were and are an important lifeline for the population and a window to the West’. Also, the economic perspective was ‘of great importance for the democratic process and a peaceful transition in the country’.[56] But it refrained from mentioning that the problem would not even arise if investments from Austria (or even from the entire EU) were banned in Belarus: there would simply be no Kronospan logistics centre for Lukashenko to visit.

Objections from the Belarusian opposition followed immediately. Franak Vyachorka, Tikhanovskaya's foreign policy advisor, protested that ‘with this factory visit, Lukashenko wanted to show how skilfully he circumvents the West's sanctions and that the West is neither united nor resolute’ also pointing to the unrealised proposal to extend sanctions from oil and chemical industries, to wood and metal processing ones.[57]

The Austrian insurance Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) has been represented in Belarus since 2003 in the form of a 34 % shareholding in the Kupala company (with a staff of about 80).[58] VIG spokesman Wolfgang Haas commented in spring 2021 that this is the tenth largest company in the Belarusian market. According to him, the premium volume amounts to approximately 10 million euros, ‘which is a very small part in relation to our total premium volume of 10.4 billion euros. And that is why the company has very little economic relevance to us’. VIG did not see any effects of current developments on its business at that time.[59] Kupala also count Priorbank and Raiffeisen Leasing among its ‘partners’.[60]

Voestalpine, the steel-based technology and capital goods group based in Linz, Austria, reported in spring 2021 that Belarus had ‘no strategic importance’ as a target market. Voestalpine has ‘no plants, locations, investments’ in Belarus, and its turnover there in 2019/20 was only 600,000 euros – ‘a pure project business, largely with seamless pipes for the energy industry’.[61]

Another Austrian company known for being especially active in Eastern Europe is the construction group STRABAG, which in 2009 has praised its successful market entry in Belarus – namely its winning bid for a 70 million euros contract concerning the construction a waste sorting plant in Brest. In May 2021, it played a radically different tune, accnouncing it had left the country altogether for eight years already. Queries on whether this decision had anything to do with the regime were met with evasive answers on how ‘the totality of the socio-economic basic conditions did not allow for a long-term perspective for this market’.[62]

The telematics group Kapsch has been active in Belarus since 2012, where it employs almost 200 people and operates a uniform toll system for motor vehicles. The company however did not comment on the economic sanctions in mid-August 2020, simply noting that they had ‘no effects on its business activities’.[63] The gambling group Novomatic, which has been controversial in Austria for some time already,[64] declared in May 2021 that it was active in Belarus only to a small extent’ without elaborating. Other well-known Austrian companies active in Belarus, including the Graz-based technology group Andritz AG, the machine manufacturer Bertsch Holding GmbH and the Erste Group bank, did not answer media enquiries.[65]

Following the first instalement of the EU sanctions in 2020, many Austrian companies downplayed the importance of their engagement in Belarus. But this has only made the question of the termination of their activities in that country even more pressing.

Martin Malek is an independent Austrian political scientist and contributor to the IWM’s Chronicle from Belarus.

Related articles: 

[1] Michael Nikbakhsh, Österreichs Firmen machen in Belarus gute Geschäfte. Profil, August 3, 2021, (accessed November 9, 2021).

[2] Bayer, Wie Österreichs Unternehmen in Belarus Geschäfte machen.

[3] Florian Bayer, Österreichs Wirtschaft in Belarus. "Denken nicht an Rückzug". Zack Zack, 26.05.2021, (07.11.2021).

[4] Aussenwirtschaftsbericht Belarus. Wirtschaftskammer – Aussenwirtschaft Austria. Eine Information des

AußenwirtschaftsCenters Moskau und des AußenwirtschaftsBüros Minsk. Dezember 2021, (accessed December 21, 2021), p. 8.

[5] Bayer, Wie Österreichs Unternehmen in Belarus Geschäfte machen.

[6] Nikbakhsh, Österreichs Firmen machen in Belarus gute Geschäfte.

[7] Österreich stimmt EU-Sanktionen zu.

[8] Weißrussland – Besonders hohe Auslandsinvestitionen aus Österreich. Raiffeisen Bank International, June 21, 2021, (accessed November 24, 2021).

[9] Bayer, Österreichs Wirtschaft in Belarus.

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[11] Wirtschaft und EU/Östliche Partnerschaft. Österreich in Belarus – Wirtschaft. Österreichische Botschaft Minsk, (accessed November 9, 2021).

[12] "Weißrussland passt perfekt in die Strategie". Die Presse, October 3, 2007, (accessed November 5, 2021).

[13] In 2008 Nemsic was awarded the Austrian "Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold" for his services to the development of mobile communications. On March 31, 2009 he stepped down as CEO of the Telekom Austria Group and Mobilkom Austria AG to take up the position of CEO at VimpelCom in Russia. However, he remained there only until mid-2010, when he joined Delta Partners, a consulting firm specialising in telecommunications, media and technologies, and established his own company in the field of international wine trading; cf. Justiz holt Boris Nemsic auf die Bühne. Der Standard, February 15, 2013, (accessed November 5, 2021).

[14] Alexander Hahn, Österreich und Belarus: Dämpfer für ohnehin dünne wirtschaftliche Beziehung. Der Standard, May 25, 2021, (accessed November 7, 2021).

[15] Nils Klawitter, Im Dienste des Diktators. Der Spiegel, no. 34, 2021, pp. 72-73, here p. 73.

[16] Weißrussland – Besonders hohe Auslandsinvestitionen aus Österreich.

[17] Quoted from: Simone Brunner, Alexanders Werk und Österreichs Beitrag. Profil, no. 42, 2021, pp. 66-67.

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[24] Ассоциация операторов Европы прокомментировала отключения интернета в РБ. Argumenty i Fakty, September 21, 2020, (accessed December 22, 2021).

[25] Quoted from: Brunner, Alexanders Werk, pp. 66-67.

[26] Quoted from: Международная коалиция призвала операторов противодействовать отключению интернета в РБ. Interfaks-zapad, October 30, 2020, (accessed December 22, 2021).

[27] Об изменении Закона Республики Беларусь «Об электросвязи»., May 25, 2021, (accessed December 22, 2021).

[28] Klawitter, Im Dienste, p. 73.

[29] Aloisia Wörgetter, Twitter, December 10, 2021, (accessed December 13, 2021).

[30] Quoted from: Pressesprecher von A1 Belarus in Minsk festgenommen. Der Standard, December 11, 2021, (accessed December 12, 2021).

[31] Азарёнок о сливе данных белорусов в А1: "По вашим поганым книгам приходили убийцы сжигать людей". YouTube, December 11, 2021, (accessed December 14, 2021).

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[38] Botschaft der Republik Belarus in der Republik Österreich.

[39] Raiffeisen in Belarus. Raiffeisen Bank International, (accessed December 15, 2021).

[40] Quoted from: "Wir expandieren auf Biegen und Brechen" [interview with Herbert Stepic]. Der Standard, January 26, 2005, (accessed November 10, 2021).

[41] Quoted from: Suche nach den Hintergründen des Weißrussland-Deals. Der Standard, November 25, 2007, (accessed November 10, 2021).

[42] Ibid.

[43] Reinhard Göweil, Der letzte Mohikaner. Wiener Zeitung, May 24, 2013, (accessed November 10, 2021).

[44] Bankenexodus aus Weißrussland: Raiffeisen bleibt und sichert sich ab. Die Presse, November 2, 2011, (accessed November 10, 2021).

[45] Quoted from: Weißrussland – Besonders hohe Auslandsinvestitionen aus Österreich.

[46] Klawitter, Im Dienste, p. 72.

[47] Quoted from: Bayer: Wie Österreichs Unternehmen in Belarus Geschäfte machen.

[48] Quoted from: Scholl, Geld für Lukaschenko.

[49] Cf. Österreich stimmt EU-Sanktionen zu; Eder, Brussels Playbook.

[50] Quoted from: Klawitter, Im Dienste, p. 72.

[51] RBI und Belarusbank schränken Zusammenarbeit ein. ORF, August 3, 2021, (accessed November 30, 2021).

[52] Quoted from: Lukaschenko verspricht vertrauenswürdigen Investoren in Belarus weitere Unterstützung. Belta, March 21, 2017, (accessed November 25, 2021).

[53] According to other information, which is not directly comparable, Kronospan has invested more than USD 870 million in Belarus "until 2019; cf. "Первый визит Лукашенко в Европу".

[54] Lukaschenko verspricht Spanplattenproduzent Kronospan Hilfe. BelTA, June 24, 2021, (accessed November 24, 2021).

[55] Quoted from: Ibid.

[56] Belarus: Lukaschenko besuchte österreichische Firma, Kritik aus Wien. Die Presse, June 24, 2021, (accessed November 24, 2021).

[57] Quoted from: Ibid.

[58] Wirtschaft und EU/Östliche Partnerschaft.

[59] Quoted from: Bayer, Österreichs Wirtschaft in Belarus.

[60] Partnery. Kupala, (accessed December 19, 2021).

[61] Quoted from: Bayer, Österreichs Wirtschaft in Belarus.

[62] Quoted from: Ibid.

[63] Quoted from: Bayer: Wie Österreichs Unternehmen in Belarus Geschäfte machen.

[64] Cf. Alliance for a Stable Democracy, NGO Institute for Security Policy, Austrian Ministry of Defense, and Valdai-Club: Case study on Russian influence in Central Europe. Euromaidan Press, February 5, 2021, (accessed December 19, 2021).

[65] Bayer, Österreichs Wirtschaft in Belarus.