Roundtable Osteuropa 10/2019
Many observers consider the Belarusian parliamentary elections, which took place on 17 November 2019, a step backwards in terms of democratic standards. Although nobody had expected fundamental political change, it is noteworthy that unlike in previous parliamentary elections no real opposition candidate managed to win a mandate. Even the symbolic pluralism has disappeared from the parliamentary scene. However, below the level of official politics, Belarusian society is changing. Youth as a symbolic category and as a political actor has become more important in the official discourse. President Lukashenka’s regime is aware of the significance of youth as a source of legitimation and actively tries to co-opt young people through state-sponsored youth organisations. How do political stability and societal change go hand in hand? What role does youth play in the political discourse? What can we expect to happen in the run-up to the presidential elections in 2020?