ABBA's goal is to support businesses that have been repressed

The Association of Belarusian Business Abroad (ABBA) was officially established in September 2021.

According to the estimates of the economic team of the Office of Sviatlana Tsikhanovskaya and the Association of Belarusian Business Abroad (ABBA), more than 2,000 companies with Belarusian roots were registered in the European Union from August 2020 to July 2022 (80% registered in Poland).

The number of Belarusian individual entrepreneurs and startups in the EZ increased by 2,000 during the same period. Since then, these numbers have grown significantly.

"After the protests of 2020, many people were forced to leave, and "communities", diaspora, were already formed in Poland, which helped children, disabled people, police prisoners and their families.

Many initiatives appeared, but no one helped Belarusian business.

The businessmen themselves said, they say, let's create a structure, the purpose of which is to support the business that was repressed.

In October 2021, we organized a two-day Belarus Business Harbor at the Warsaw Stock Exchange, after the forum, word spread that there was such an association.

The site was given to us for free.

If it were not for the help of the Poles, nothing would have happened.

Businessmen who had been in Poland for a long time, 5-10 years, began to join us.

We began to think about creating another company, added another form of ownership - "Polish connection", which is now joined by businessmen who have settled in Poland for a long time, - said AVVA co-founder Yevhen Bury.

The association of Belarusian business has a representative office in the Baltic states - an office in Vilnius, which is managed by

Serzh Nawrocki


The representative in the United States is

Ales Alyakhnovich

(advisor in economic matters of the Office of Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya. - RS).

ABVA works with national embassies that have been established in 22 countries.

As for the directions of activity of Belarusian business, they are completely different, says Yevhen Bury.

"Many construction businesses, manufacturing small businesses (for example, production of curtains, etc.), many services in the sphere of trade, cafes, consulting companies for the promotion of business interests.

A lot of medics and doctors came here, they are opening medical centers and dentistry.

We have been working for a year and a half, and feedback has already been established.

They contacted various businesses and understood what the needs are."

Belarusian business needs expert consultations

The second direction of work is expertise.

The business lacks expert consultations - in the legal sphere, in the sphere of conducting business, corporate law, labor law

"We have experts, advisers who are professionals and advise Belarusian business.

For example, adviser Anna Matieuska, who works in a large Polish legal company.

She was educated in Poland, but her passport is Belarusian.

A very idealistic person.

She helped Anna Kanovalava's family with arranging custody of her grandchildren, as the children's parents are behind bars.

There are companies founded by Belarusians who have been working here for a long time, they have accredited and verified businesses.

We are always interested in Belarusians helping Belarusians.

Because there is no language barrier, there is mutual trust.

They will not exaggerate the prices, they often help each other for free.

We conduct many educational programs, seminars, which we teach on the YouTube channel," explains Yevhen Bury.

Eugene Bury with the President of Poland Andrzej Duda

The fund will act as a guarantor to the bank for financing a serious business project

The third direction is access to financing.

Today, Belarusian business cannot get loans due to the fact that it simply does not have a credit history in the territory of the European Union.

"The bank cannot issue a loan, because it does not know what kind of business it is, whether the firm will be able to return this loan.

Therefore, we are now working very closely on the creation of the so-called guarantee fund, to which the businessman will be able to turn.

The fund will consider the application, and if it is a really serious project, it will act as a guarantor before the commercial bank: if the businessman is unable to repay the loan, the fund will return it.

We are working out a mechanism, technical details are being discussed, we will collect money - together with the EC Commission and the Development Bank of Poland.

This can really solve a serious funding problem.

We can confirm to the bank that this is a member of our association who has passed accreditation, verification, agreed with our Code of Business Ethics, that this business does not work with Russian or Belarusian pro-government businesses, the "wallets" of the authorities, that it was not created to circumvent sanctions." - assures Eugene Bury.

Ales Alyakhnovich, Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya and Yevhen Bury at the Economic Forum in Davos

"It is possible to spoil the business reputation of all Belarusians.

And it will be so difficult to restore it!"

AVVA has taken a principled position: the political views of businessmen and the business reputation of Belarusians are very important to it, assures Yevhen Bury.

He admits that the association was approached by businessmen with a request to help remove sanctions from some products or production.

"Or they asked: "Help our company, it is commercial, but has been sanctioned, write to the EZ to have them removed."

Let's start to understand: well, what kind of commercial enterprise is it, if it works on a regular basis?

There was quite a big scandal when supporters of the regime created companies in Ukraine and traded fuel in Poland through Ukrainian companies.

Someone helped him - in creating schemes to circumvent sanctions!

I would like to contact those who work with an unverified business.

If the Polish special services discover this, first of all, there will be serious consequences.

Secondly, Ukrainians will see it.

It is possible to spoil the reputation of all Belarusians.

And it will be so difficult to restore it!

Therefore, it is very important for us to take care of the reputation not only of our members of the association, but also of Belarusians in general.

Because if this continues, there may be consequences for all Belarusians - up to visa bans.

It will have a painful impact on everyone," Evgeny Bury is convinced.

One million euros from the European Union to support Belarusian business

ABBA and the European Union are starting a new project within the framework of the EU4Belarus program worth 1 million euros.

An open competition has already been announced, for which about 30 applications have been submitted.

The program includes four competitions, four business forums and participation in the EXPO exhibition.

Consulting support, educational visits and study of business needs are also included.

AVBA partners are the Polish Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KIG), the Lithuanian Business Confederation (LBC), the Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE), the Polish Stock Exchange.

The Polish Investment Agency, which has developed the relocation program for Belarusian companies, Poland Business Harbor, is helping, and is solving issues with work visas.

The Association of Belarusian Business considers the Office of Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya to be its partner.

"The best investor for Belarus is the Belarusian himself"

Yevhen Bury does not have an unequivocal answer to the question of whether business will return to Belarus if there is a change of power there.

In his opinion, only true patriots will return.

"I don't even know what is better.

When a business that has already established itself in Poland, in Germany, gains momentum, gets more and more profits, closes abroad and physically returns to Belarus?

Should he open another business or branch in Belarus?

I believe that there will be different options.

Most likely, not everyone will return.

Such true patriots will return physically.

But from the economic point of view, the best investor for Belarus is the Belarusian himself.

He knows what and how it works there, how to set up production, and it will be cheaper production, because today salaries in Europe are significantly different from salaries in Belarus.

And it is good that people will get jobs in commercial companies, not in government ones.

Because it is not known what will happen with the state ones."

Bury believes that the Belarusian economy will be able to transform itself without the shock therapy that Poland went through in the 1990s.

In his opinion, if opportunities for business development open up, there will be enough jobs in normal commercial companies.

"It's not going to the factory, where people go to avoid sitting at home, because today factories play the role of a labor exchange.

It is not known what is more effective: to pay unemployment benefits or to work and drive these enterprises into debt.

Those who work at state enterprises will face unemployment.

But if the conditions for business development are created, the economy will quickly be rebuilt.

Allegedly, many businesses have left Belarus, but many simply do not have the opportunity to move, because they have production.

You can't take a factory, a factory and move it somewhere in Europe.

95% of businesses continue to operate in Belarus.

And this business will one day throw off the shackles."

"What did Lukashenka do with the document?

He just crushed him"

In Belarus, Yevhen Bury worked for quite a long time in the public service: in the economic sphere (Ministry of Taxes and Duties) and in the military (Security Council).

He came there at about the same time when young reformers with foreign education, such as

Kiril Rudag


Vasyl Matyuszewski

, came to the government .

When asked whether any of the high-ranking officials influence Alexander Lukashenko, whether he listens to anyone, Bury confirmed that there were attempts to influence him.

"I worked in the Secretariat of the Security Council for 5 years, since 2014.

A security commission in the economic sphere was created there.

It was headed by Kirill Rudy, I was the secretary.

The commission was quite influential, and, most importantly, very liberal.

If the proposed proposals were implemented, we would live in a completely different Belarus.

But if there was no Lukashenka.

There were really cool proposals about the Park of high technologies;

employees understood what to do and how to do it.

They wrote accurate documents as they thought was necessary.

But... How to put it mildly, what Lukashenka did with the document?... He just crumpled it," says the former official.

Starting from 2017, Yevhen Bury recalls, the nuts were tightened, it became impossible to work.

When the Decree on vermin was being prepared, the security committee in the economic sphere of the Security Council was categorically against it.

"There have always been two camps: on the one hand, the liberal, and on the other - Myasnikovich, Kachanova and others like them.

I do not know what is in the minds of these people.

We explained that the Decree on vermin eaters cannot be adopted, it contradicts the Constitution, other laws, and common sense.

No, these laws were passed anyway.

And we wrote: if you accept this decree, then in February people will go to the streets.

No one could believe it.

Our prediction came true.

This person will do everything the other way around and in his own way, against the advice of experts and common sense," says Bury.

In his opinion, Lukashenka perceives the economy of Belarus as the economy of his own family.

"It is impossible to explain from the point of view of economics why, for example, the Karich brothers were given the best pieces of land, communications at the expense of the city, and they built such horrors as "Mayak Minsk", "Minsk-Svet", an ugly building on October Square.

It is impossible to explain, either from the point of view of economy or health, why "Tabakerki" appeared, - the former official is convinced.

Lukashenko does not like either serious businessmen or small entrepreneurs, adds Bury.

Even those close to him, Yuriy Chizh, bankers Syarhei Kostyuchenko and Vasyl Matyushevsky, a major entrepreneur in the IT sphere, Viktar Prokapenya, can be arrested, "extorted" a lot of money from them, and then take pity and let them go, Bury says.

"What Lukashenka was afraid of before happened in August 2020.

The authorities said that the "chains" for Babarika were a bourgeois revolution.

I went through all these "chains" myself, talked to people a lot.

First of all, there were people who did not depend financially on the state: businessmen, citizens of the country.

Entrepreneurs have organized strikes and protests before.

And imagine that these well-to-do people will unite - this is a great power!

And this sense of smell did not let Lukashenka down.

Well, in general, what he did in 2020: preventive arrests, insane prison terms for all competitors, repression, violence - affected every family, even the "Yabatsk" ones," Yevhen Bury says emotionally.

However, in his opinion, everything can change very quickly in Belarus: if there are changes in Russia.

Who is Eugene Bury

Yevhen Bury is a co-founder of the Association of Belarusian Business Abroad (ABBA).

Worked at the Ministry of Taxes and Duties, from 2014 to 2019 at the State Secretariat of the Security Council.

In October 2020, he was forced to leave Belarus and joined the "People's Anti-Crisis Administration".

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