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Tag: lukashenka

Is the West ready to accept the challenge from Lukashenka?

Is the West ready to raise the stakes when dealing with the regime in Minsk? The answer to this question is not so clear. In fact, western states seem rather confused on how to act while the Belarusian regime continues to issue challenges.

Both Belarusian and Russian officials view the 2020 protests in Belarus as a western attempt to instigate a “colour revolution”. They see the events ultimately as a special EU and American operation in which the Belarusian people did not participate at all. Apparently, the ultimate goal of these protests was to overthrow the Russian authorities rather than simply those in Minsk.

February 15, 2022 - Valery Karbalevich

Lukashenka’s non-reforms

After a year of waiting for Belarus’s constitutional reform amendments, the authorities have unveiled a draft document. For those still with some hope for political transformation, the proposed changes suggest that there will not be any real transition of power.

The first mention of new constitutional reform occurred during Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s address to the Belarusian people a few days before the 2020 elections. The Belarusian president declared then that “All reforms must start with the constitution. Not from street unrest, but from the basic law.” During Lukashenka’s visit to a factory amid the August 2020 protests, he offered to amend the constitution and reduce his presidential powers. This took place while he was being heckled by the factory’s workers. Amidst this turmoil, the Belarusian authorities began putting together new amendments to the constitution. These were recently published by the state-run news agency BelTA.

February 15, 2022 - Kathrin Yaromich

A guideline to Belarusian repressive methods. Dealing with structural roots of dissent

The 2020 mass protests took place thanks to a vibrant private sector that produced a highly-skilled, well-paid urban class not tied to Lukashenka’s social contract. Lukashenka response can be seen partly in his Soviet upbringing and political career which produced a worldview not devoid of class-based categories. Thus, he attacked the means that sustain the existence of the opposition, with an approach reminiscent of Stalin’s policies towards kulaks.

September 28, 2021 - German Carboni

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.

September 12, 2021 - David Marples

Repressions reveal the ruthlessness of the Lukashenka regime

Since August last year, the Belarusian regime under Alyaksandr Lukashenka has instituted a system of repressions which is unprecedented for Europe in the second decade of the 21st century. By the end of July this year there were 604 political prisoners in Belarus, the total number of those imprisoned after August 9th 2020 is estimated at more than 35,000. Thirty-two Belarusian journalists are currently in custody, either awaiting trial or serving their sentences.

For more than 25 out of its 30 years of independence, Belarus has been a country governed by a sophisticated state-run system of repressions. Yet since last year’s presidential elections, these repressions lost their sophistication and reached a different level in terms of quantity and “quality”. There are at least three perspectives to consider when examining what is happening in Belarus since August 9th 2020.

September 12, 2021 - Stephan Malerius

Constitutional reform in Belarus: Consolidation or conflict?

The much-debated topic of constitutional reform in Belarus was discussed once again at the All-Belarusian People’s Congress in February. Lukashenka has requested a draft of the new constitution by the end of 2021. Will this settle the political conflict in Belarus or lead to more protests and violence?

March 3, 2021 - Hanna Vasilevich

A brutal regime exposed. The case of Vitali Shkliarov

On July 29th Belarusian security agents in Minsk seized Vitali Shkliarov, a Belarusian-born US political strategist and critic of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s authoritarianism. As he was being taken, he managed to make a one-word post on Telegram: “Arrested”.

September 23, 2020 - Anastasia Starchenko

Belarus is the world’s strangest state right now

The new epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, Belarus is seeing an unprecedented wave of civic participation amid the upcoming presidential election.

May 28, 2020 - Yahor Azarkevich

COVID-19 – a crash test for the Belarusian system?

The sudden surge in infections is quickly changing life in Belarus, turning earlier calmness into tension and uncertainty.

April 20, 2020 - Maxim Rust

Rough road ahead for Belarus

Politically, 2019 was a very important year for Belarus. It was dominated by two trends: the authorities pursuing relations with the West and pressure by the Kremlin to deepen the integration of both states.
Growing tensions between Minsk and Moscow, as well as continued attempts to normalise relations with the West, are the main reasons we can call 2019 a ground-breaking year when it comes to the level of meetings that Belarusian officials held with western politicians. On surface they may seem like routine activities of a sovereign state, but in the case of Belarus each meeting sends a signal to the Kremlin.

January 28, 2020 - Maxim Rust

Will Belarus be the next Crimea?

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings are declining in ways similar to the beginning of his previous presidential term. Then, Putin artificially boosted his own personal ratings and those of his government by illegally annexing Crimea; now, Putin may attempt yet another geopolitical power-play in Belarus.

April 8, 2019 - Vitali Shkliarov

Belarus: A Chinese Solution?

Lukashenko's skilful navigation in between Russia and the EU suddenly gains another dimension as the Belarusian strongman opens up his country to China.

July 31, 2018 - Tomasz Kamusella

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