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One year on. What has changed in Belarus?

The 2020 elections took place in the middle of a pandemic, dismissed by the president as a "psychosis". They were the first elections to be contested by other sectors of the Belarusian elite. Since that day, the situation has changed. Over 38,000 people have been arrested, and over 500 have been declared political prisoners. Peaceful protesters, peaking in numbers at around 250,000 in Minsk but significant in all cities, have been arrested, tortured and in several cases, murdered. What comes next remains an open question.

On August 9th 2021, Alyaksandr Lukashenka held a press conference to discuss the events of the previous year. It was attended by both local and foreign journalists. The de facto leader of Belarus fielded questions in his own style and according to his own perceptions – or stated perceptions – of the world. He expressed his views on the so-called All-Belarusian People's Assembly, on the change of president in the United States and in general about the West's vendetta against his rule, as well as the attacks on his security forces by protesters.
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September 12, 2021 - David Marples - Hot TopicsIssue 5 2021Magazine

Maria Kalesnikava calls for peaceful protest last August in Minsk. Kalesnikava was later taken to the Ukrainian border by regime forces, to be expelled from the country. She tore up her passport before she could be deported and is currently on trial in Minsk and remains defiant. Photo: Andrei Bortnikau / Shutterstock

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