Belarus' disconnection from the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) system will deliver a most powerful blow to the Belarusian radical opposition. Piotr Petrovsky, an expert with the Belarusian public association Belaya Rus, made the comment in response to the opposition's calls for harsh economic sanctions against the country.
According to Piotr Petrovsky, such calls signify that in the present economic situation the opposition has no followers in favor of the illegal overthrow of the Belarusian government. “They admit it. They need sanctions to worsen the social and economic moods in the society and sow dissatisfaction,” he said.
Piotr Petrovsky believes that Belarus' disconnection from the international interbank messaging and payment system SWIFT will first of all affect those, who want the disconnection to happen. “Since the 1990s when Belarus was threatened with sanctions, the country has created its own domestic banking system Belkart. We are also plugged into the Russian system. We are also connected to the Chinese system. At present SWIFT has no monopoly on enabling monetary operations. On the other hand, Belarus' disconnection from SWIFT will deliver a most powerful blow to the Belarusian radical opposition. Because if the country is disconnected, the opposition will not be able to get funding via bank cards. They will have to somehow bring in certain amounts of cash across the border. Let me remind you that the import of over $10,000 in cash has to be declared. The constant import of rather large sums of cash will bring into question the source of this funding and the tax declaration of this money. Certainly, it will greatly limit capabilities of the radical opposition, which is financed from abroad,” he added.
Piotr Petrovsky is convinced that Belarus' disconnection from SWIFT will be an opportunity for the Belarusian government to more effectively track the illegal funding of the opposition and stop it if need be. “This is why when Western countries consider disconnecting Belarus from this system, they will affect their own partners in Belarus first,” he concluded.