Belarus: ‘The end is nigh’ for Lukashenko?



While the Belarusian security apparatus has stepped up its violence against peaceful protesters, the demonstrations themselves have evolved to maintain the moral high ground. There is no longer any question that Alexander Lukashenko has lost any remaining shred of legitimacy, notes Sławomir Sierakowski, founder of the Krytyka Polityczna movement.

It is clear that Lukashenko’s characteristically crude methods are poorly adapted to these new forms of protests. Since the election, the opposition may be gaining the upper hand, he writes for Project Syndicate:

As the protests have continued this week, many police officers have shed their uniforms and declared that they will not brutalize their fellow citizens. Similarly, in Grodno, when a regime apparatchik tried to organize workers to proclaim their support for Lukashenko, they all shouted {his challenger, Svetlana} Tikhanovskaya’s name instead. That sentiment seems to be widely shared, judging by the fact that employees at some of the country’s biggest factories – including BELAZ, MAZ, MTZ, and nitrogen plants – as well as transport workers, have gone on strike.

Crowds of workers walked off the job on Friday at several factories in Belarus’s capital Minsk in support of the opposition calling for Lukashenko to step down. Hundreds of workers marched from the Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) and the Minsk Tractor Works (MTZ) after the opposition called for strikes against Lukashenko’s disputed claim to have won re-election on Sunday, AFP adds:

The walkouts were highly unusual in a country where Lukashenko has retained a Soviet-style command economy and the tractor factory is seen as a national symbol. …On Friday afternoon they marched out of the factory into the city centre, shouting “Long live Belarus” and “Leave!” directed at Lukashenko. One of the strikers, a middle-aged man with a tattoo on his arm denoting support for the opposition, said that he wanted “to bring back Tikhanovskaya, she is our president, we voted for her.”

On top of popular pressure, a growing number of regime defections suggest that Lukashenko cannot remain in power, the German Marshall Fund’s Joerg Forbrig tells Deutsche Welle (above).


Join the German Marshall Fund of the United State’s (GMF) Frontlines of Democracy Initiative and GMF’s Warsaw Office for a critical and timely discussion focused on the outcome of August 9 presidential election, the current situation on the ground in Belarus, and what comes next for Belarusians and Lukashenka as the protests continue.

Keeping the Spotlight on Belarus:
The Election, Protests, and What Comes Next

Wednesday, August 18, 2020
9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. EDT / 3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. CEST


Anna Maria Dyner, Analyst, Belarus and security policy of the Russian Federation, International Security Programme, PISM; Joerg Forbrig, Senior Fellow and Director for Central and Eastern Europe, The German Marshall Fund of the United States; Jonathan Katz, Senior Fellow, Frontlines of Democracy Initiative, The German Marshall Fund of the United States; Veranika Laputska, Co-founder, EAST Center and Rethink.CEE Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States; Alyaksey Znatkevich, Journalist, Belarusian Service, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.  Join via Zoom webinarCLICK HERE TO REGISTER

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