The Belarusian Hub for Illicit Tobacco
Key hubs are crucial sets of countries on the regional, continental or global map of the illicit trade in tobacco products (ITTP).
The analysis of key hubs instead of single countries enables a more comprehensive understanding of the factors determining transnational illicit flows and a more effective identification of the strategies needed to fight and prevent the ITTP. The following elements often characterise key hubs:
- medium to high levels of the ITTP in the hub,
- significant price differentials of tobacco products across the hub,
- extensive engagement of local manufacturers in the ITTP and
- substantial flows of illicit tobacco to, within or from the hub to other countries.
This report focuses on the Belarusian hub for illicit cigarettes. Belarus is the center of the hub because it is a source for illegal tobacco products destined to the EU. The surrounding countries are included for different reasons. Russia and Ukraine used to play a significant role in the ITTP flows and still remain important sources of illicit products. Other countries within the hub, such as Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, are both destination and transit countries of the Belarusian illicit tobacco flows. The report takes the name of the center of the hub.