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Operational change: saying goodbye to our Minsk colleagues

A few of chances are you’ll know that Dotdigital has had a extremely expert Engineering crew in Minsk, Belarus, since early 2010.  It’s with nice unhappiness that as of the fifteenth of January 2023, we now have closed our operation within the area, following Russia’s battle towards Ukraine.

Some might ask why that is of unhappiness, particularly because the obvious assist Belarus is giving Russia. The reply is obvious and easy – individuals. With regards to individuals, there was no assist from our crew members in Belarus for this battle. Let me clarify extra…

For many who have by no means been, Minsk is a superb metropolis – and I do know this on account of private expertise, due to the numerous visits myself and my crew have made. A lot of it was destroyed throughout World Struggle 2, so most of it’s comparatively new, however there are nonetheless some pockets of buildings, structure, and tradition that survived.  

As you may think about as an ex-Soviet state there are many Russian influences: the principle boulevard operating by Minsk is large and straight with buildings on both facet that aren’t allowed to go over a sure top. Fascinating reality: that constructing top is precisely half the highway width! There may be an incredible crimson church, an octopus ‘spaceship trying’ library, an enormous opera home, and, like many different international locations within the area together with Ukraine, it has an incredible set of universities, a lot of which create exceptionally expert engineers.

I keep in mind my first go to to Belarus shortly after beginning at Dotdigital in 2014 after I made a degree of getting one-to-ones with all the crew members in a close-by cafe and realized fairly shortly that their dedication and abilities had been an awesome asset to Dotdigital. The crew was type sufficient to point out me round Minsk, and I realized quite a bit about their tradition, values, and unbiased satisfaction.    

With the Belarusian authorities elections in 2020, issues began to vary quickly. The election was marred by claims of widespread electoral fraud. Quite a few international locations refused to simply accept the results of the election, as did the European Union which imposed sanctions on Belarusian officers deemed to be liable for the fraud itself, in addition to subsequent violence and repression of protests.

In 2021, the Belarusian navy forcefully landed a flight that was transiting Belarus airspace with a view to imprison a protestor. This quickly meant that our groups may not go to our crew members in Minsk by air (an EU-led no-fly zone throughout all of Belarus got here into impact) nor may our colleagues come to go to our head workplace.

When COVID struck all of us realized to work remotely higher than ever earlier than which enabled our operations to proceed. Nevertheless, with Russia’s assault on Ukraine at the beginning of 2022, a few of which got here from the Belarusian border, it grew to become obvious that protecting our Belarus Engineering hub going long term was turning into tougher. Additional sanctions by western governments meant that even paying our crew was turning into tougher.

We, subsequently, took the choice early in 2022 to supply a relocation scheme for our crew in Belarus to hitch our Engineering hub in Poland.   

I’m more than happy to say that with the scheme we now have efficiently relocated 65% (11) of our Belarusian crew to Poland, enabling them to proceed working for Dotdigital. Due to the Polish Authorities by the Polish Enterprise Harbour scheme we had been in a position to get visas for our crew and with the assistance of our celebrity Polish crew our Belarusian crew members had been welcomed with open arms.

As I discussed at the beginning of this, it’s a unhappy day for Dotdigital as 5 of our crew are unable to make the relocation work. They are going to at all times be a giant a part of our Dotfamily; many had lengthy tenure however made the selection which was proper for them, to not relocate.

We need to thank all the crew who’re persevering with with us and all those that have devoted a lot time to constructing our implausible merchandise, web sites, and extra.  I hope to have the ability to see Minsk once more sooner or later however extra importantly, I hope to as soon as once more see peace in Ukraine.


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