On August 9, Belarus held the presidential election. The election held amid the global coronavirus crisis and the economic decline saw a record turnout (over 84%) with the radical increase of activity of opposition parties in the country.
According to polls commission, acting President Alexander Lukashenko received 79-81% of the votes. Main opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya received about 8% of the ballots, with four percent of voters choosing the “against all candidates” option. 16% of citizens that did not participate in the election is a silent part of the population, which is interested in the stability and thus in fact supports Lukashenko.
This happened despite the fact that opposition organizations, groups and pro-Western activists declared a full mobilization for the presidential election in Belarus. An intense media and propaganda campaign against the acting president was held in local and international media. Opposition forces tried to exploit the existing economic and social problems in the country in order to enforce the possible removal of the president.
Opposition candidate supporters immediately declared that they disagree with results, claiming it was Tikhanovskaya who received most of the votes citing results from three precincts and accusing the authorities of fraud. Opposition supporters started rallies in several cities, including Minsk, and clashes with Police.
For example, pro-opposition sources claimed that a Police vehicle rammed a crowd in Minsk amid tensions with opposition supporters. Authorities did not confirm the incident.
Pro-opposition sources also accused authorities of the full-scalse use of force against them. However, videos and photos from the ground demonstrate that the real number of protesters is pretty low. Nonetheless, authorities introduced significant security measures across the country, deploying police and checkpoints. Detentions of protesters were reportedly made in Minsk as well as in the cities of Gomel, Mogilev and Vitebsk.
Ahead of the election, Lukashenko repeatedly claimed that foreign forces, including the West and Russia, were planning to incite violence on the day of the election and destabilize the situation in the country. The government even detained 33 ‘Russina mercenaries’ that, according to Lukashenko, were planning to conduct provocations and terrorist attacks. This version goes contrary to the open data and confirmed facts. Some sources even insist that this situation became a result of the provocation by Ukrainian intelligence.
On August 7, websites of the State Security Committee (KGB) and the Interior Ministry came under a “large wave” of cyber-attacks, authorities said claiming they were successfully repelled.
It is interesting to note that militarist Russian-language media, including specialized Telegram channels, claim that they are surprised by the reaction of Lukashenko and the increase of security measures even amid the wide-scale support from the population.
The history of various coups around the world demonstrates that the consolidated and well-coordinated aggressive minority can seize power in the event of the soft response of the government to its actions. Such situation happened during the so-called ‘Maidan’ coup in Ukraine in 2014, when an aggressive group of radical nationalists supported by foreign forces exploited the criminal inaction of the Yanukovich government. The overwhelming majority of the population did not support the coup and the further violence that expanded throughout Ukraine. Nonetheless, without a direct action, this was not enough. Similar thing happened in the Russian Empire in 1917. Furthermore, the political, social situation deteriorates after every ‘successful coup’ leading to the increase of violence, ethnic and religious tensions.
Lukashenko learnt the lessons of history and is not going to give his opponents a chance to employ unconstitutional methods to seize power and create a new hot point of instability in Eastern Europe. This is why his personality causes so much concern among the pro-globalist/neo-liberal Euro-Atlantic establishment, and even a part of the Russian elites linked with it.
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