The Belarusian government is expecting two months of protest

The Belarusian government is expecting two months of protest
The Belarusian government is expecting two months of protest
For more than nine weeks since the controversial Belarusian presidential elections and three weeks since the secret inauguration ceremony of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, large street demonstrations in the country have continued unabated. According to Gennady Korshunov, a former director of the Belarusian Institute of Sociology (he announced that Lukashenka’s rating for April 2020 in Minsk was 25 percent – see EDM, June 23), the protest movement was imbued with Kantian’s “good will” (That is, determined by moral demands) has a formative meaning for the building of the Belarusian nation (.com/KorshunauGenadz, October 6).

But because the protests did not result in regime change, many Belarusians jumped to compare their efforts with those of their colleagues in Kyrgyzstan. “The Belarusians have been protesting for two months, but the regime has not collapsed. […] The Kyrgyz, on the other hand, had the strength they had practically overnight. Voices rang out in social networks: We have to learn from them. “An avalanche of speculation ensued as to why the Belarusians couldn’t keep up with the Kyrgyzstanians and whether that was good or bad (Naviny, October 8).

Most of the comparisons pointed to oligarchs and the dominance of rival clans in Kyrgyzstan, most of which do not exist in Belarus (, October 8). However, some also mentioned the incredible number of West-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Kyrgyzstan and the fact that the vertical of power has been more consolidated in Belarus (YouTube, October 8).

While the above factors certainly play a role, the question itself points to a deeper truth. When Belarusian analysts expected to explain two months of unsuccessful protests, the whole process began to resemble stages of grief. The argument that the protests failed during regime change (Novaya Gazeta, September 18) initially led to loud rejections. The second phase brought with it the discovery that Belarusian society is not as uniform in its desire to remove Lukashenka as it may initially seem. With a few notable exceptions (, October 2), the sympathizers of the protest movement living in Belarus largely avoided the above point so that they would not be excommunicated by other demonstrators. The most respected Belarusian sociologist, Oleg Manaev, who now lives in the USA, made it his mission to articulate this discovery in a recent interview (Deutsche Welle – Russian Service, October 4). As he predicted in the preamble to this interview, he was immediately challenged by some “revolutionary thinkers” (Svaboda, Gazetaby, October 5). In the meantime, however, this “other Belarus” has shown several signs of life. For example, a well-attended presentation of Aleksey Dziermant’s book in a large bookstore in Minsk Belarus-Eurasia: borderland between Russia and EuropeIdeas took place which in many ways opposed those of the protest movement (Mlyn, October 8). Despite excessive talk about the ongoing and imminent outflow of IT business from Belarus to Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland, Minsk high-tech park has reportedly just joined 83 new resident companies (, October 8).

Possibly, therefore, the third stage of mourning will be associated with the general realization that the welfare state of Belarus and its regularity, despite its many imperfections, have earned a lot of public recognition, not just contempt. Meanwhile life goes on. In early October, construction work on four stations on the third line of the Minsk metro was completed, and work on two other stations is in full swing (Belarus24, October 8). In addition, Emaar Properties of the United Arab Emirates have started the construction of the Minsk Exhibition Center, which will be located on 900 hectares in the northernmost part of the Belarusian capital (Belta, October 5th). The construction project is the result of the efforts of Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko, who previously served as Belarusian ambassador to the UAE.

The development of the Belarusian socio-political situation reflects a famous statement by the late political scientist Samuel Huntington: “The most important political distinction between countries does not concern their form of government, but their degree of government. The differences between democracy and dictatorship are less than the differences between the countries whose policies are embodied […] Organization, effectiveness, [and] Stability and those countries whose policies do not have these characteristics “(Samuel Huntington, Political order in societal change1968, p. 1).

At the same time, the intense international activity of the exiled Belarusian opposition leader and 2020 presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who has already met with the leaders of France and Germany, is similar to that of the hopeful 2006 President Alexander Milinkevich, who was also received by Angela Merkel . in March 2006 (Deutsche Welle – Russian Service, March 17, 2006). However, it is unlikely that the German Chancellor will still remember his name. If Tikhanovskaya has a better chance of being remembered, it will likely be largely thanks to Lukashenka. The latter announced in the latest news – to which many responded in disbelief – that he had actually granted Tikhanovskaya’s heartfelt wish to be transported across the border in August so that she could be reunited with her children who were already in Lithuania Time. In addition, the president said he gave her $ 15,000 to help her make ends meet abroad, for which she was grateful. Before that happened, Lukashenka security services allegedly intercepted an attempted terrorist attack on Tikhanovskaya, other protest leaders and around 50 foreign journalists, which was falsely attributed to the Belarusian authorities (YouTube, October 9).

Belarusian nongovernmental analysts continued to anticipate the current political situation. Well-known commentator Artyom Shraibman said he deliberately stopped writing about the prospects of the Belarusian protests because “in these emotionally charged times, my analytical style is less in demand than encouragement and optimism boosters”, which he prefers to leave to other authors would (, Oct. 8). Meanwhile, Yauheni Preiherman from the Minsk Dialogue Forum decided to juxtapose analyzes and other forms of political expression directly. “A political scientist or an expert can neither be government nor opposition,” said Preiherman. “These terms come from the arsenal of propaganda. I don’t do propaganda, I don’t care. “Some propagandists always applaud the government and scourge the opposition, while others do the opposite. Both groups use “the language of hostility that is the road to the Belarusian catastrophe” (, October 5).

On Saturday October 10th, Lukashenka decided to renounce the language of hostility. In particular, he visited the KGB internment camp and spoke for four hours with eleven members of the Coordination Council, including Victor Babariko (, October 10). Such talks can help to at least somewhat defuse domestic tensions regardless of the outcome.

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