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Tag: lukashenka

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 - Anastasiia 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

Belarus: Why do dictators need women?

Belarus, often called “the last dictatorship of Europe,” is a truly remarkable country in political terms. There are few other places where elections are rigged in such an open way and where, for over 12 years, opposition politicians have not set foot in the parliament. However, the latest parliamentary election in Belarus has brought some surprising results. Two opposition politicians were elected, among the other 108, to the Belarusian House of Representatives. Even more surprising is the gender of the selected politicians, as they are both women.

October 18, 2016 - Ales Herasimenka

How democracy could become a threat

This piece originally appeared in issue 3-4 of New Eastern Europe . Subscribe now.

September 12, 2016 - Andrzej Poczobut

Belarus. The two hidden mechanisms of media censorship

The Freedom of the Press ranking recently published by Freedom House has found Belarus’ media environment to be Europe’s most restrictive. The ranking placed Belarus as 192nd out of 199 countries and territories within the “worst of the worst” category. These results suggest that media freedom in Belarus has neither been influenced by the country’s recent improvements in its relations with the West nor by the rapid spread of digital technologies. Some of the business community’s representatives have been unsatisfied with the ranking’s results, which call for a deeper reflection on the hidden mechanisms of control that afflict Belarusian media.

May 18, 2016 - Ales Herasimenka

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