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Post by Per »

So, interesting times in Belarus...

In the recent elections, the official result was that Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus for 26 years already, won with 80% of the vote. They even announced the result before the polling stations had closed.

With most opposition candidates in jail or in exile, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the wife of one of the jailed candidates became the leading opposition figure, and according to the official figures she got 10%.

The thing is, no one believes this. Exit polls made by foreign observers indicate that Tikhanovskaya probably had greater support than Oh, and btw, she is now in exile too, in Lithuania.

Immediately protestors started to fill the street and demand that Lukashenko step down. At first the police arrested, beat up and even tortured protesters, but gradually they have more or less backed down. The last few days there have been demonstrations with hundreds of thousands of people waving red and white Belarussian flags insread of the green, red and white flag of the Lukashenko regime.

Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, that all border on Belarus have urged Lukashenko to step down and are pushing for the EU to pur pressure on the regime. The EU will have a summit meeting tomorrow discussing the issue. A confounding issue is that Hungary’s far right prime minister, Viktor Orban, is expected to side with Lukashenko.

Meanwhile Lukashenko have ordered troops to the western border, ie the border to Latvia, Lithuania and Poland and has warned against Nato interventions.

Putin has been strangely silent, but Russia also borders on Belarus, and Belarus is Probably Russia’s closest ally in Europe.
It would be easy to send in troops and occupy the country, but is it a good Russia already has low level territorial military conflicts with Georgia and the Ukraine, having annexed Crimea and supporting Rebellions that they themselves have initiated in South Ossetia and the Donetsk region, and also have active troops in Syria. Invading another country may put a strain on them both militarily and financially. And the Russian economy is not doing well. They are heavily dependent on their oil exports, and with the extremely low oil prices the past year, they have lost a lot of revenue. At the same time they are also suffering the effects of trade embargoes imposed by (among others) the US and the EU as punishment for having illegally invaded and annexed Crimea, that belongs to the Ukraine. As the economy crumbles, the government’s popularity is dropping. Mind you, Putin is still hugely popular, I mean he controls all the media, there is no freedom of press or expression, so there is only praise and no criticism, but people are still beginning to become increasingly frustrated.

So, lot’s of interesting questions hanging in the air.

Will the street protests continue?
Will Lukashenko step down or crack down on protesters?
What will the European Union do?
What will Nato do?
What will Putin do?
How will this affect the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine?

Stay tuned!
Whatever you do, always give 100 %!
Except when donating blood.

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