Petr Dubinsky

Belarus Extends Ban On Skoda Imports By 6 Months

The Belarusian government extended by six months the ban on imports of products from Škoda Auto and other companies. The state agency BelTA informed about it on its website today. The government decided on this measure at the end of April in response to the refusal of the companies concerned to sponsor the holding of the World Hockey Championship in Belarus.

The list of companies whose goods are covered by the ban was published by the Belarussian government on its website on April 23. The measure entered into force for half a year on 3 May. The decision was justified by the Cabinet in the need to safeguard national interests and in view of the “not friendly steps towards the Belarusian people”.

In addition to Škoda Auto, the measure affected a group of companies belonging to the German companies Liqui Moly and Beiersdorf, the owner of a number of cosmetic brands, including Nivea.

The government decree, approved today, extends the ban from Thursday, November 4 to May 4 next year.

The Belarussian government has reacted to Škoda Auto’s January announcement that it will not sponsor the World Hockey Championship if the tournament is held in Belarus. Originally, part of the championship was to take place in Minsk and part in Riga, but in the end it took place in the Latvian capital.

Liqui Moly and cosmetics manufacturer Nivea also refused to support the championship in Belarus, where President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime acted harshly against the protesters.

Extensive protests erupted in Belarus last year after the Central Election Commission announced the victory of longtime leader Lukashenko in the presidential election in August. The opposition and the general public consider the elections to be rigged, and have not been recognized by a number of states and organizations, including the European Union. Security forces cracked down hard on the protesters. Thousands faced beatings, and several died as a result of protests and police crackdowns.