Belarusian small business association obtains registration in Ukraine

A Belarusian small business association called For the Free Development of Enterprise has obtained legal status in Ukraine after a failed bid to get registered in Belarus.

The organization was granted registration by the Ukrainian justice ministry on April 16, its leader, Viktar Harbachow, told BelaPAN.

“On the one hand, it’s good news that the association has finally been registered. On the other hand, it’s a shame that [it has been registered] not in Belarus but in a different country,” Mr. Harbachow said.

The activist accused the Belarusian authorities of reluctance to “establish contacts with dissident entrepreneurs, those who don’t share the official point of view on the development of enterprise in Belarus.”

Mr. Harbachow is currently staying in Kyiv to forge closer ties with Ukrainian small business groups.

Formed in 2006, the association has organizing committees in Babruysk, Mahilyow region, Orsha, Vitsyebsk region, Rechytsa, Homyel region, Salihorsk, Minsk region, Baranavichy, Brest region, Hrodna and Minsk.

The organization was denied registration by the Belarusian authorities last year and announced its plans to obtain legal status in Ukraine at a forum this past March.

Obtaining registration abroad has become an increasingly common practice for Belarusian NGOs unable to get legal status at home.