Roundtable Osteuropa 18/2020
For more than two weeks now, Belarus has been in turmoil. After president Aliaksandr Lukashenka was announced the winner of the presidential election with more than 80% of the votes, Belarusians took to the streets to contest the results as electoral fraud. The regime cracked down hard on the protests, large-scale police violence and even torture were reported. Nevertheless, an increasing number of Belarusians across the country with different personal backgrounds and ages have joined the protests. And also workers in several state enterprises went on strike. Where does this solidarity, the determination and the widespread will for change come from? Political scientists Nadja Douglas and Félix Krawatzek, who both cover Belarus in their research, talk about the widening gap between Belarusian state institutions and the people, the role of a new politicised generation and how Lukashenka’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis served as a catalyst. We discuss the international perspective and take a look at difficulties the activists may face as the protests continue.