Belarus after the election: A hard dictatorship?

Who, now Belarus (white Russia), is fighting against time. Since the presidential election on Sunday, the fronts are resolved, but the situation is changing hou

Belarus after the election: A hard dictatorship?

Who, now Belarus (white Russia), is fighting against time. Since the presidential election on Sunday, the fronts are resolved, but the situation is changing hourly. Against the Background of severe country-wide riots in the night of the election of the authoritarian ruling 65-year-old incumbent, Alexander Lukashenko, on Monday of the election Commission was declared the winner, with around 80 percent of the vote. The opposition candidate, Svetlana Tichanowskaja is thus far relegated to second place, with around ten per cent.

But the 37-year-old former housewife, is not recognized the official results. She stood for election because her husband, a video blogger, was not allowed to compete as a candidate and was arrested. Your followers see Tichanowskaja as a clear winner over Lukashenko, and with the reverse result. Both can be difficult to verify, since independent observers, it was not this time.

In the former Soviet Republic suggests an unequal power struggle that is likely to be held, especially on the road. The Opposition has previously inexperienced, but learns quickly and is fed by the dissatisfaction with Lukashenko. She challenged the results of the election even before the authorities. Tichanowskaja filed with the Central election Commission a request for a recount of the votes.

Lukashenko makes the police come down hard

While the heads of state of China and Russia Lukashenko to victory, congratulated the winners, expressed the Federal government's doubts as to the announced result. Minimum standards for democratic elections were not met, said on Monday in Berlin, government spokesman Steffen Seibert. "Reports of systematic irregularities and human rights violations to be credible," said Seibert are. Also, experts are questioning compared to the DW the official result. A high as a house majority for Lukashenka was "not a reflection of the mood of the population", says Joerg Forbrig of the U.S. think-tank German Marshall Fund (GMF). At least results from some polling stations indicated on Tichanowskaja as a clear winner.

The reaction of Brussels is likely to depend on how the situation develops in the coming days and weeks. The European Union had, for example, imposed in 2010, sanctions against Belarus, after a presidential election and the crackdown on opposition protests. Lukashenko again on his threat to the political opponents, reiterated on Monday A "Maidan", meaning a successful rebellion, as of 2014, in neighboring Ukraine, he will not allow it.

What this means, one could observe on election day. The Internet connection was massively disrupted what had hindered the mobilization of the Opposition. And than after closure of the polling stations, tens of thousands of opposition supporters, mostly young men, on the streets of the capital, Minsk, but also in the province protested, the police water cannons, tear gas and stun grenades against them. Such pictures had not seen Belarus for a long time. Some of the protesters in Minsk, as DW reports Reporter on the scene, seemed at a loss, because there was no leader and no instructions. After midnight, the police had brought the situation under control. The first balance sheet, according to the Ministry of the interior: around 100 injured and about 3,000 Arrested.

the beginning of The end for Lukashenko?

Eastern Europe-experts, such as Ute Kochlowski-Kadjaia of the FDP-affiliated Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation, expect a change: "I believe that this election is a turning point in the modern history of Belarus, which initiates an end the Era of Lukashenko," she says in a DW interview. The for 26 years ruling President had lost his "legitimacy", at home and abroad, to the West and to the East his limits, so Kochlowski-Kadjaia, with a view to Russia. She sees Belarus in front of a political crisis, whose duration and output could not be assessed.

"it is Possible that Lukashenka will no longer be within a few days the President," says Joerg Forbrig from the German Marshall Fund. "But it is also possible that he brings the Situation under control, with all the brutality that he has available." In such a case, he would have a "very minor restraint" in the population and then would have to "basically a full dictatorship," said the political scientist. In Western media call Lukashenko, already since the years of "Europe's last dictator".

Russia is benefiting from the Lukashenko's weakness

Russia, a close ally of Lukashenko, see Forbrig at the time in an observer role. Moscow have a lot of economic and media influence in Belarus, which it had exploited so far, seemingly little: "You see well, I think that Lukashenko is weakened," noting Forbrig.

Ute Kochlowski-Kadjaia believes that Lukashenka from Moscow's point of view, has become a difficult Partner, because he had, for instance, credits and later from a closer connection was abandoned. She believes, however, that Russia will arrange with Minsk. Lukashenko was for the Kremlin "are still more portable". For how long, seems to be open.

author: Roman Goncharenko, Vladimir Esipov, Nikita Jolkver

*The post "Belarus after election: A tough dictatorship?" is published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 10 August 2020, 17:27

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