The author of the unhinged action ~ one characterised by the European Union as a “gangster” approach ~ is Alexander Lukashenko, the dictator who rules Belarus and who has fashioned what he considers is a solution to Europe’s refugee crisis by allowing thousands of them into his country only to push them over the border into Poland.

Ferment in Belarus

The narrative of the region suggests that Lukashenko's use of a migrant crisis to destabilize neighbours is unlikely to trigger any rethink on Western sanctions over his violent crackdown on the opposition after last summer’s presidential election, which ignited massive protests over widespread assertions that the outcome was rigged to keep the President in power.

Curbs on Belarus

The travel sanctions were triggered by the sentencing of two journalists who had live-streamed an enormous protest in Minsk against Lukashenko’s rule in November.

Trends in Belarus

As President Alexander Lukashenko seeks to crush the biggest challenge yet to his 26-year rule, the crackdown has left nearly all main organizers of antigovernment protests in detention or exile.