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Tag: Alyaksandr Lukashenka

Belarus: new elections to preserve a tired dictatorship

On February 25th 2024, Belarus will hold its first elections since August 2020, which resulted in mass protests for several months. How are the Belarusian authorities preparing for this event and what will be the likely outcome?

In the years that followed the controversial 2020 election – a resounding Lukashenka “victory” of over 80 per cent which bore little relation to the popular support for the challenger Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya – the ruling regime has undergone several serious trials to which it has responded ever more harshly. Its recent measures have included the elimination of the opposition’s media sites, the shutdown of hundreds of civil society organisations and the dissolution of all opposition and several official political parties.

February 7, 2024 - David Marples Katsiaryna Lozka

Post-Lukashism. Prospects for change in Belarus after regime collapse

The events of 2020 and the conviction that the fall of the Lukashenka regime is inevitable have prompted a number of businessmen to actively participate in the political processes in Belarus. This can serve as a basis for the assertion that in the event of the destruction or destabilization of the authoritarian regime, business groups will play an extremely important role in shaping a new way of life.

At the moment, it is obvious that the prospects for political change in Belarus are postponed indefinitely. At the same time, the probability of a rapid transition from authoritarianism to democracy is still uncertain. The protracted war in Ukraine and the systemic stability of Putin’s regime in Russia will contribute to the internal stabilization and consolidation of the authoritarian system of government in Belarus. This process will also be facilitated by relentless repression and political purges, which will suppress any dangerous activities in society, as well as increase the atmosphere of fear and terror. To date, there are no acute systemic internal threats and challenges to Alyaksandr Lukashenka's regime.

February 7, 2024 - Pavel Usau

The world according to BelTA

The use of propaganda tools by non-democratic regimes is not new or particularly sophisticated. For years, the Belarusian Telegraphic Agency has been a broadcaster that has not even pretended to be objective. As a result, it is commonly perceived as a means of spreading Belarusian and pro-Russian propaganda and disinformation.

On December 27th 2023, thanks to the service of the Belarusian Telegraphic Agency (BelTA), the world learned that Alyaksandr Lukashenka had opened a New Year's Eve ball for youth at the Palace of Independence in Minsk. The group also reported that the participants of the event danced the traditional caddy and mazurek dances, alongside the styles of modern rock and roll, mambo, boogie-woogie, lambada and twist.

February 7, 2024 - Justyna Olędzka

Mapping scenarios for Belarus

A recent study sought to design and investigate possible alternative (and mutually exclusive) futures for Belarus. The scenarios from that study presented here can act as a compass to help observers make sense of Belarus’s future direction. This is in spite of the dense fog of regional geopolitics and Lukashenka’s often unreadable black box of repression.

November 19, 2023 - Andrey Makarychev Stefano Braghiroli

Belarusian political elites: new, imagined, lost?

The reality in today’s Belarus is that of decreased enthusiasm and less social mobilisation. The ruling elite of the Lukashenka regime is still wielding power and a large part of the society that was active during the 2020 protests is now living abroad or imprisoned.

When today we reflect on the protest movement that started in Belarus in 2020, we can see that one of its distinguishing features were the so-called new faces of the opposition that the whole world focused on and admired. Namely, the world became fascinated by the new Belarusian political leaders who were expected, and hoped for, to change, or fix, the country’s political system, drawing on the then enormous social energy that translated into political mobilisation unprecedented for Belarus.

December 7, 2022 - Maxim Rust

From utopia to dystopia

In August 2020 the whole world learned that there are two “Belaruses”. One is the utopian imaginary of “Lukashism” headed by a soft dictator, and the other is a dystopian, oppressive state in which the greatest enemy of power is a society fighting for their rights. From the term "the dictatorship of prosperity", only "dictatorship" remained and "prosperity" was enjoyed only by members of the power elite who show absolute loyalty to the leader.

Alyaksandr Lukashenka's retention of power for 28 years was widely regarded – even considering the standards known from other post-Soviet states – as a phenomenon of its own. There is no place for any deep philosophy in his leadership because the only goal of this politician was to survive at any cost. For the story of Lukashenka is not the tale of a politician of great stature, whose political career is a streak of success translating into an increase in state power and the well-being of citizens.

December 7, 2022 - Justyna Olędzka

The re-Sovietisation of Belarus

The nature of the crisis in Belarus is the same as in other countries of the region, with the collapse of old Soviet structures in the economy, society, politics and ideology. Alyaksandr Lukashenka does not understand the urbanised modern society he is trying to rule. In order to re-establish control, his regime is trying to move the society backwards. Repressions will be extremely costly for Belarusian society, but Lukashenka’s goal is unlikely to be achieved.

The past two years saw growing pressure from western sanctions on the Belarusian regime. Each move Alyaksandr Lukashenka took since 2020 has further limited his room for manoeuvre. After each of his decisions – the brutal crackdown of the 2020 protests; the repressions that followed; the grounding of the Ryanair plane; and finally, the support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine – a new wave of sanctions was introduced.

December 7, 2022 - Aliaksandr Papko Kacper Wańczyk

Do not forget Belarus’s involvement in Russia’s war in Ukraine

After almost half a year into Russia’s military campaign against Ukraine it remains crucial to keep Belarus accountable for its participation.

August 12, 2022 - Mark Temnycky

A referendum in the shadow of war

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shifted international attention away from yet another referendum in Belarus. Like all the previous ones, these reforms significantly change the Belarusian political landscape, while giving Alyaksandr Lukashenka even more influence and power.

A long-debated constitutional referendum was held in Belarus on February 27th. It had only one question: do you accept the new constitutional amendments? An alternative version of the constitution was put forward by the country’s democratic forces outside of Belarus called “The People's Constitution”. However, this was not even considered by the state working group. Despite an official invitation to all citizens to participate in public debate and suggest proposals, it became obvious that only those changes proposed in line with the regime's vision would be considered and adopted by Minsk.

July 14, 2022 - Hanna Vasilevich

Bulba in a pickle: Belarus and the war in Ukraine

Stuck in the middle of a war, Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka has tried to save himself by using his old tricks. He officially supports the Russian invasion and claims that Moscow was provoked by NATO. At the same time, he is trying to demonstrate that he still has some sovereignty at his disposal.

Bulba, potato in Belarusian, is an important vegetable in Belarus. The country is well known for its production and various dishes (including draniki, potato pancakes) that go well with Bulbash vodka. Belarusians are known as bulbashy in the Russian-speaking world. Although, for a long time, it was a name that was considered offensive, in recent years it has been adopted by the younger generation who wear it with ironic pride. Today, one of the most famous bulbash, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, is facing probably the most challenging situation in his long political career. The

April 25, 2022 - Kacper Wańczyk

“I am all yours”. What the new union of Lukashenka and Putin means and how it might affect Ukraine

In early November 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin called his Belarusian counterpart Alyaksandr Lukashenka from temporarily occupied Sevastopol. The leaders of the two countries signed a "road map" that in reality will become a "springboard" for the absorption of Belarus by Russia.

December 8, 2021 - Alina Turyshyn

Belarusian: An extremist language?

In 2008 the Belarusian ministry of information launched a list of extremist materials that are officially banned in the country. Symbolically, the item which opens this list is a CD-ROM disc ostensibly with the recording of a lesson of the Belarusian language. No more details are provided, though some say this entry refers to the 2006 documentary film on the rigged 2006 presidential election. One way or another, what irks the Belarusian government most is the Belarusian language.

October 11, 2021 - Tomasz Kamusella

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