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Issue 1-2/2024: Elections without choice

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This year marks the largest number of elections held worldwide in a single year, with over 60 countries holding elections throughout 2024. While the vast majority of these elections will be democratic, some, particularly in our region, may not be so free and fair. In March, for example, Vladimir Putin will undoubtedly remain in office following the “elections” in Russia.

This is also the case for Belarus, which will be holding its first elections since the fraudulent 2020 presidential election which led to massive protests and the regime crackdown. Even though the outcome of these upcoming parliamentary elections will surprise no one – and thus our title for this issue as “elections without choice” – it does provide a context for us to discuss Belarus in depth.

Our authors in this issue describe the trends currently unfolding in the country and the society and help us understand the growing divisions between those inside Belarus and the tens of thousands now living in exile. This includes the pro-democratic forces who are largely based in Vilnius and Warsaw and are continuing to prepare for an eventual change. Yet how that change will look or when it will come, no one is certain. Obviously one of the largest factors related to Belarus’s future is the outcome of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

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