After months of protests, Belarusians cast their votes on August 9 for the presidential election. The five-term president of Belarus, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, faces the most severe threat to his regime since he took power more than a quarter century ago. For months, protests erupted after opposition candidates were either imprisoned or disqualified. Undeterred by mass arrests and fines, opposition forces rallied against Lukashenka’s government and the immediate election results. Government-sponsored exit polls show that President Lukashenka won 80 percent of the vote, but these results face broad claims of election fraud, triggering further protests and a troubling police crackdown.
The situation is further complicated by the arrest of alleged Russian operatives in Minsk, sparking wild speculation of foreign intervention. Will the outcome of the election change Belarus’ politics? How will the results affect Belarus’ relations with Europe, Russia, and the United States? Can popular will bring about a genuinely democratic transition in spite of government crackdowns on dissent and free information?
Konstantin Eggert, columnist at Deutsche Welle; Natalia Kaliada, co-founding artistic director and CEO of the Belarus Free Theatre; George Kent, deputy assistant secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the US Department of State; Hanna Liubakova, journalist at Outriders; and Franak Viačorka, vice president of the Digital Communications Network, analyze the election results. Christian Caryl, editor at The Washington Post, moderates the discussion.
Will democracy prevail?
Belarus’ August 2020 presidential election saw widespread protests and serious fraud allegations as President Lukashenka claimed victory against popular opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Following a brutal crackdown against protestors by security forces, will Belarus begin its transition to democracy, or will Belarusians face further repression as Lukashenka’s rule falters?
Mon, Feb 22, 2021
Belarus presents an opportunity for the US to partner with the EU in order to ensure that pressure is maintained not just on Alyaksandr Lukashenka, but on his enabler Vladimir Putin as well.
Fri, Feb 19, 2021
A Minsk court sentenced journalists Katsiaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova to two years in prison on February 18 in a case that highlights the war against free speech that is accompanying Belarus dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s crackdown on the country’s six-month pro-democracy uprising.
UkraineAlert by Vladislav Davidzon
The Eurasia Center’s mission is to enhance transatlantic cooperation in promoting stability, democratic values and prosperity in Eurasia, from Eastern Europe and Turkey in the West to the Caucasus, Russia and Central Asia in the East.