Are restrictions on Belarusian academics discriminatory?

When Russia started the war in Ukraine, the Belarusian government also played its role in the aggression. It allowed Russian troops to enter Ukraine from Belarusian territory and provided them with military infrastructure, such as air bases.

As a result, Belarus can be considered a country that has committed an act of aggression, according to international law. Taking all this into account, I understand why many European countries imposed restrictions on Belarus and why Western companies stopped doing business in the country.

But I would like to write about some of the measures which are related to the Belarusian academy; for example, the suspension of visas for Belarusian citizens by the Czech Republic and Estonia (with some exceptions, such as humanitarian reasons or for visiting family members).

Another case is the decision of the University of Tartu in Estonia that citizens of Belarus “can submit applications for first and second level programmes offered in the academic year 2022-23 only if they hold a residence permit or long-term visa of the European Union or are currently studying in Estonia”. Don’t these measures look discriminatory?

I think one of the reasons for such decisions is the idea of collective responsibility. Many people are blaming Belarusians and Russians as a whole, legitimately saying that there was no Vladimir Putin in Bucha, the city where hundreds of Ukrainian civilians were killed during its occupation by Russia. But still, how justified is this approach?

I understand that the number of people who are responsible for the start of the war, the deaths of civilians and any forms of violation of international law, as well as those who support the war against Ukraine, is quite large. Putin is just one of the faces of the war.

Nevertheless, in my opinion, making the whole population guilty because they are cogs in the system in one way or another is not right. So, I would like to explain why we should proceed from the idea of personal responsibility.

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