Belarus: Europe’s last dictator ‘rattled’ by civic activism


For the first time since protests during the presidential race of 2010, Belarusians finally see the real chance to overthrow President Alexander Lukashenko after 26 years of dictatorship,  Aliaksandra Lamachenka writes for Euronews. Even though the opportunities to share our discomfort are limited, the wave of rising civic activism bothers the current administration. It bothers them a lot.

A popular meme has spread in Belarus, responding to an opinion poll showing President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has just 3 percent support, RFE/RL reports (above). Graffiti reading “Sasha 3%” has been sprayed on walls, prompting an angry reaction from Lukashenka himself. Ahead of presidential elections in August dozens of opposition activists, including prominent opposition leaders, have been arrested.

Unlike previous protests in Belarus, the current wave involves lots of middle-class urbanites and parts of the elite, who have spotted a viable alternative as two other independent challengers have emerged from within the system, The Economist adds:

One is Valery Tsapkalo, a former ambassador to the United States and a founder of Belarus’s successful it cluster. The other, more serious, challenger is Viktor Babaryko, a former banker. (He was the boss of Belgazprombank, a subsidiary of Russia’s Gazprombank.) Mr Lukashenko appears rattled.

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