Protesters pay the price for pressure on Belarus’ dictator


A promising sign that Aleksandr Lukashenko’s days in power might be numbered is emerging among the Belarusian security forces, say two leading analysts.

To maintain his grip on power, the 26-year president of Belarus who fraudulently claimed victory in the country’s Aug. 9 presidential election, relies on two factors: support from Russia and backing from Belarus’ powerful security services. Patience in Moscow with Lukashenko may be running thin, as evidenced by the recent visit to Minsk by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, but the Kremlin doesn’t appear ready to abandon Lukashenko yet, according to Vlad Kobets, executive director of the International Strategic Action Network for Security, and David J. Kramer, a senior fellow at Florida International University’s Vaclav Havel Program on Human Rights and Diplomacy. On the other hand…..

The outflow of personnel from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and other law enforcement agencies began during the presidential election campaign and continues to this day, they write for Foreign Policy:


A number of active and former members of various law enforcement agencies have recognized that Lukashenko is illegitimately clinging to power. They have united in By_Pol (short for Belarus police), a network of officers from the internal affairs services, border troops, the state prosecutor’s office, the criminal police, and the secret police (which still goes by the old Soviet initials of KGB). They have decided to stand with the people of Belarus instead of the discredited Lukashenko….

Aleh Talerchyk, who resigned from the Prosecutor General’s Office, is one of the defectors. “I want to support the brave Belarusians who were repressed,” he said.

Authorities have cracked down hard on the largely-peaceful demonstrations, the biggest of which attracted up to 200,000 people, RFE/RL reports (above).

Credit: BKTU

According to the Minsk-based Viasna Human Rights Center, more than 30,000 people have been detained since the protests first broke out in August, and thousands of them have been brutally beaten in custody. At least four people have purportedly died, CBS News adds.

“We’re still at the first step — pressure from within and pressure from outside. It would be naïve to believe that Lukashenko just leaves,” opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was quoted as saying.

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