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What is the ongoing Political Crisis in Belarus?

7 min read

Astha Deep

Published On: December 20, 2021 at 12:37 IST

Introduction

After a months of protests before the August election of 2020, the President Alexander Lukashenko started his 6th term in office accompanied by uproar and rejection from the opposition and the West. The secret swearing in as the President of Belarus earned him the title of “the last dictator of Europe”. The leader of opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya went on a self imposed exile in Lithuania. Many leaders of opposition are detained upon the argument that the voting was rigged when the Election Commission declared The President winner of 80% of the majority votes.

It has a global perspective as well when the USA and the EU laid their support for the opposition and Russia had the back of Mr. Lukashenko. As his token of support he sent some consultants to Minsk in order to help Belarus get over the crisis it is going through. The main motive of Russia backing Belarus proposition is the covering up of the short term gains of Russia but the tormenting instability and uproar wouldn’t solve the long term purposes rather would threaten. The already paralyzed country at the hands of pandemic and economic disparity. But for the President it is more important to retain the 26 year old legacy and regime.

Belarus – The basics

It has Russia-its former Homeric master-to the east and Ukraine to the south. To the north and west lie EU and Nato members Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Why does it count? Like Ukraine, this nation of9.5 million is caught in contest between the West and Russia.

President Lukashenko, an supporter of Russia, has been nicknamed “Europe’s last oppressor”. He has been in power for 26 times, keeping important of the frugality in state hands, and using suppression and police crackdowns against opponents.

 What is going on there? Now there’s a huge opposition movement, demanding new, popular leadership and profitable reform. They say Mr Lukashenko outfitted the 9 August election-officially, he won by a landslide. His sympathizers say his durability has kept the country stable.

The Election in Belarus

The fairness of the historic win is still into question as the protests and stikes refuse to come on a halt. The wife, Siarhei Tsikhanouski of the leader of opposition drew a mob of protestors in her support. Though the opposition leader has fled to Lithuania the upheavel is still on the rise.

Suppression of Protests

The worst way of dealing such a protest has been endorsed by the Authorities as they detained 35000 people and many more are lost and tortured which has ignited international condemnation.  Criminal cases have been brought on most major activists and opposition leaders. The world is critical of the 480 political prisoners those have been illegally detained.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe made the verdict that the election was massively rigged in the favour of the president and this was “massive and systematic human rights violation”.

The opposition leader has a soft background as she has rose up from civic activism for the purpose of getting of this real fascist government they are under since a long time. Svetlana is a retired music teacher and has got detained three times still she doesn’t fear the prosecution rather stands for her people and the upliftment.

Global Attention

 The crisis in Belarus is crossing boundaries now so has gained international attention more than a mere political crisis. In one shocking incident in May 2021, authorities in Minsk scrambled a Mig-29 fighter jet and used a fake bomb threat to force a Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius to land in the Belarusian capital. They arrested a Belarusian passenger, journalist Raman Pratasevich, who had risen to prominence covering the 2020 protests. Three months later, Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya said she was pressured to leave the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo early for criticizing sporting officials from her country.

Taken to the airport against her will, she refused to board her flight and was granted refuge in Poland. EU members Poland and Lithuania, which have offered shelter to opposition figures from Belarus, accuse Lukashenko of retaliating against them by channeling thousands of migrants, many from the Middle East, across their border. To control the flow, Lithuania planned to build a 508-kilometer (316-mile) fence while Poland declared a state of emergency along its frontier.

As with its ally Russia, the go-to tool to try to bring Belarus into line is sanctions. The U.S., EU and U.K. all imposed measures on Belarus following the Ryanair incident and other developments.[i]

Seeing this the EU has imposed trade restrictions on the petroleum products and main resources of foreign currency revenue. The US too has been no less than hostile against the companies that have any ties with Lukashenko and also the targeted the Olympic committee. The UK too has banned the airlines flying from Belarus and the purchase of Belarusian government bonds.

Belarus and Russia as allies

Belarus has entered strong support from its main supporter, Russia, which has helped buttress Lukashenko’s government with loans and political support. Russia said the migratory overflows redounded from the US- led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Western- backed Arab Spring revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa. In a response to Poland’s troop make-up along its border with Belarus, Russia dispatched two strategic, long- range Tu-22M3 bombers to patrol the border region. Russia has also exactly criticized the EU for the migratory extremity, arguing that it was the EU’s turndown to accept shelter- campaigners that’s creating the extremity.

The EU has made a strong show of solidarity with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. EU officers are anticipated to bandy another round of warrants against Belarus. The EU has indicted Belarus of mounting a “cold-blooded attack” on the bloc by flying in thousands of settlers, substantially from West Asia, and pushing them to try to cross immorally into Poland. Neighbours of Belarus have expressed concern that the extremity could escalate into a military battle. Still, Belarus also denies encouraging the inflow of settlers and said the EU is violating settlers’ rights by denying them safe passage.

What does Lukashenko hope to negotiate?

Despite the inflexibility of the philanthropic extremity unfolding at Belarus’s borders, Lukashenko’s points appear to be primarily political. The tyrannizer chairman desperately wants to bring the EU to the negotiating table over warrants assessed after he was fraudulently re-elected last time and force the bloc to again fete him as the country’s licit leader. Despite his more recent grievances, however, Lukashenko’s pitfalls to open his country’s border go back indeed further, Artyom Shraibman, a political critic grounded in Minsk and a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Moscow Center, told Vox this month. “He actually hovered to do this for numerous times, long before the political extremity of 2020,” Shraibman said via WhatsApp.

“Every time the EU blamed him, every time the West blamed him, he reiterated the same chain of argument, you don’t appreciate me, that I’m defending you from the illegal settlers, I’m defending you from the medicine trafficking, I’m guarding your eastern border, and you ’re not thankful.”

But Lukashenko didn’t make good on his pitfalls until 2021, after the EU sanctioned Lukashenko, his son and public security counsel Viktor, and 179 other individualities and realities, due to Belarus’s fraudulent presidential election and posterior crackdown on pro-democracy protesters last time. Though he remains in office, last time’s election saw Lukashenko’s 25- time grip on power begin to erode, when Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the current Belarusian opposition leader who was a political freshman at the time, mounted a serious and presumably successful crusade to oust him.

Tikhanovskaya, who only entered the race after her hubby, Sergei, was arrested by the governance, managed to unite the Belarusian opposition behind a platform of popular change and routing corruption and wealth inequality.

Conclusion

Substantiation suggests Tikhanovskaya’s strategy may have worked; some exit pates from the August 2020 election suggest she won as important as 80 percent of the vote. Lukashenko, still, declared palm, cracked down on demurrers erupting throughout the country, and forced Tikhanovskaya into exile in Lithuania while jugging other opposition leaders. The brutality of Lukashenko’s response, plus the striking falsehood of his rearmost “palm,” urged the EU to take coercive action against his governance, applying decreasingly restrictive measures starting in October of last time.

Belarus’s leper status escalated indeed further this spring, after a Ryanair flight was forced down by a Belarusian fighter spurt so that the governance could arrest two passenger’s iconoclastic intelligencer Roman Protasevich and his gal, Sofia Sapega, who were detained by the governance. In response, the EU banned Belarusian air carriers from EU airfields and airspace. With many tools at his disposal, and many musketeers except for a reticent Russia, Lukashenko eventually made good on his trouble to open Belarus to the inflow of settlers hoping to make a new life in the EU.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The author, Astha Deep , is a 1st year BBA-LLB student at Chanakya National Law University, Patna. Having keen interest in dealing with complexities of legal field has been her keen source of motivation. This has helped her express her cognitive opinions through writing blogs and research papers. She possesses deep curiosity in Corporate laws and aims to contribute in that field. She is an experience collector and learner for life exploring various fields of both law and life.

Edited by: Aashima Kakkar, Associate Editor, Law Insider


[i] Why turmoil in Belarus is spilling over its borders? (Last visited on 4th December 2021)