Belarus ‘a strong counterpoint’ to democratic regression


Authoritarianism is on the rise across the world, and it is posing a serious challenge to democracy and the post-World War II international system, says ACUS. In Central and Eastern Europe, Freedom House states that there are fewer democracies today than at “any point” since 1995. The remarkable events in Belarus over the past month, however, stands as a countervailing force to that trend. The democratic impulse remains powerful, and the refusal of Belarusians to accept another fraudulent presidential election has initiated a standoff whose outcome is uncertain. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who ruled Belarus for 26 years without a serious challenge to his power, now faces one of the strongest pro-democracy movements in Europe in recent years.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius, who is actively involved in the European Union’s efforts to help mediate the crisis in Belarus, speaks one-on-one with former National Endowment for Democracy Penn Kemble Fellow Melinda Haring, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, on the current mediation impasse. Then, a panel including Vladimir Kara-Murza, chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom and Hanna Liubakova, journalist at Outriders and fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, joins Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius and Haring. Damon Wilson, executive vice president at the Atlantic Council. RSVP

Since the public launch last June of “A Call to Defend Democracy,” nothing anywhere in the world has done more to reverse the authoritarian upsurge during the global pandemic, which was the entire purpose of the Call, than the extraordinary developments in Belarus, said NED President Carl Gershman (below). [Read more about “A Call to Defend Democracy,” an open letter signed by over 500 political, civil leaders, Nobel Laureates, and pro-democracy institutions here.

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