With the outbreak of war in Ukraine, foreigners, including many Belarusians, who wish to obtain a residence permit in Lithuania must fill out a questionnaire to express their opinion about the conflict and Russian politics., marked LRT, Lithuanian media, stating that “All responses received are checked by state security agencies.”

Question asked LRT, Ukrainian documentary filmmaker Anna Bilobrova, whose Lithuanian companion Mantas Kvedaravichyus was killed in Mariupol in the spring of 2022, also had to fill out a questionnaire. She pondered for a long time whether she had answered the questions correctly.

“My first documentary was filmed in the territories occupied by Russia, and my father, whom I had not seen for a long time, served in the Russian army. Does this say anything about who I am now?she wonders.

“I served the people”

According to the Lithuanian Migration Service, as of January 1, more than 48,000 Belarusians and more than 15,000 Russians lived in the country.uh January 2023. And since the beginning of the year, 365 Belarusians have not been able to obtain a residence permit or have not obtained its extension.

Anna Bilobrova explains:

“Three years ago, Lithuania supported those who fought against the regime in Belarus. Now she sees these people as terrorists.”

LRT also reports on the case of a man who is anonymously quoted by the independent Belarusian media. Lithuania did not extend his residence permit despite the fact that he had worked in the country for six years. He said that he worked in law enforcement agencies of Belarus, but left them long before the repressions in Belarus and the annexation of Crimea by Moscow. “I served the people, I did not participate in any repressions,” he exasperatedly explains to the media Mirror, quoted LRT.

Belarusians then turn to lawyers for help in completing this confidentiality-protected questionnaire.

According to Remigius Rinkevicius, one of the lawyers advising Belarusians in relations with the authorities, “Special services perpetuate the cliché that being a Belarusian means being a threat.”