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“If the situation is not resolved, we will go to Ukraine”: how companies in Belarus are going through the shutdown

After the elections in Belarus, the Internet connection was lost. The authorities talk about “outside influence,” the locals say that the authorities are fighting the opposition in this way. AIN.UA tried to find out how local companies survive in such conditions.

It was not easy to manage. Employees at many companies refuse to speak because of fear of bringing trouble to their company. It’s just hard to get a comment from others: online calls are interrupted now and then. Some people are abroad and because of problems with the Internet connection cannot even check what is there with their company.

dev.by writes that one day without the Internet is a loss of $23.6 million for every 10 million people.


The speaker wished to remain anonymous

We are totally screwed up.

There is no Internet in Minsk now: it works only via Wi-Fi+VPN. We left the country for a week, and when we returned on August 8, the taxi drivers at the airport said that they have the work only here, because people could not use Uber \ Yandex Taxi in the city, as there was no Internet. On Monday, all work stopped, even at large IT companies. In addition to Internet problems, it is still very difficult to concentrate emotionally.

It’s always been the illusion that High Technology Park is some kind of an island, as if from a parallel universe. But it’s all just an illusion. We’re all on the same island here.

Poleshchuk Herman, CEO at SLON Media

The situation is very difficult; the Internet works very badly, via a VPN, not on all devices and for a short time. It is impossible to upload some files. The Internet began to be lost gradually, at first it slowed down, then some sites stopped working, then it went out altogether. At first, a lot of VPN services worked, now only a few remain.

Due to this situation, the work has practically stopped. Now we are deciding what to do next: we are trying all possible technical means to return to work, we notify all clients by phone. Every day, the amount of losses is growing exponentially, the deadlines have not been met, and there are huge reputational losses.

If the situation is not resolved soon, our team will get on a bus and go to work in Ukraine. Now we are finding out the options for location and logistics. We take with us everyone who wants from the team.

The ecosystem and tax regime in Belarus are really not bad, but the lack of information security and stability forces us to start considering other jurisdictions. In the meantime, we collect information for making a decision.

The speaker wished to remain anonymous

The Internet works partially through a VPN. Although in the evening and at night, even through a VPN, there is no Internet at all. You’re sitting in a vacuum. Something opens partially in the morning. But then it is cut off again. You can open tut.by without a VPN.

This will obviously affect the work of the company. There will be losses. Out of the ordinary: the salary was paid a week before it was supposed to be paid. And I also heard the same from employees of other companies. Probably they are afraid of the fall of the national currency.

Although the country had IT prestige, now it will diminish in a country where the Internet is simply turned off.

We do not have a plan for different scenarios at the company level, at least I do not know about it. There is no communication with the management on this topic either. I know that a number of employees were sent on a business trip to the Ukrainian office to communicate with clients. On Facebook, I have not seen CEOs of local companies speaking out about what is happening.

I read about calls to HTP residents. The callers introduced themselves as the HTP administration and demanded that residents’ employees not go out to peaceful protests under the threat of the dismissal from the HTP [Editor’s note: this zone has a special tax regime that is more beneficial for IT companies].

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