The Belarus strongman faces large-scale protests after he jailed his main rivals

The Belarus strongman faces large-scale protests after he jailed his main rivals
Adam D. Crook
Written by Adam D. Crook

Lukashenko has ruled over the former Soviet Republic for more than 9 million since 1994 and is running for the sixth time in the August 9 elections. He has been criticized internationally for suppressing dissent, and the country’s secret police – still known as the KGB – frequently harass opposition activists and independent journalists.

Friday’s demonstrations, which included thousands of protests on 10 city streets, sparked by a series of arrests, with opposition activists calling popular candidates an attempt to pull them out of the presidential race. Lukashenko’s two main rivals are currently under KGB and police detention: veteran YouTube blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky, who was taken into custody at the end of May, and former BelgazePrombank chairman Victor Babarico, who was arrested on June 18, along with his son and campaign manager Edward Babarico.

Following the news of the latest arrests, activists began to form “human chains of solidarity,” some of which, according to organizers, have spanned several kilometers. Local media reports.
An independent non-governmental organization Viasna, Which oversees protests in Belarus on Saturday, including several journalists, reported that at least 120 people were detained overnight.

On Friday, Lukashenko called the protests a foreign conspiracy, referring to the 2014 revolution in Ukraine that ousted the country’s pro-Russian president, saying the country’s law enforcement was “blocking Maidan.”

“We were a few steps ahead of schedule and were able to cancel a large-scale plan to destabilize Belarus,” Lukashenko said. BelTA. “We have shown the real faces of the puppets here and the puppets sitting outside Belarus.

“Don’t choose me. If I act democratically and show them that I am too warm and cumbersome, I have the opportunity to lose the country altogether,” Lukashenko said.

Babarico is considered Lukashenko’s main opponent in this presidential election. His campaign In support of his candidacy, they said they had collected 425,000 signatures and crossed 100,000 signatures.

The country has no credible independent political polling, but at the beginning of June, “Sasha’s three percent” was trending on Belarusian social media, with Lukashenko claiming to have little in the way of informal elections from independent online tablets. Nicknamed Sasha Alexander.

Edward Babarico’s girlfriend said in a Facebook post on Thursday that she is being questioned at the KGB detention center on tax evasion charges. Lawyers for Victor Babarico said they were unable to visit their client. As of Saturday, Babaricos had not been released.

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Prior to his arrest, there had been a series of police raids on Babarico’s offices and his family’s apartments. 20 state and former bank executives have been arrested in connection with Babarico on various charges including tax evasion and embezzlement, according to Belarusian State Control Head Ivan Turtel and admitting that “Babarico is a criminal scheme administrator”.

Babarico denied any wrongdoing and Said the accused Are politically motivated.
Protesters held hands in the air during a rally in Minsk on June 19.

Lukashenko said many of the candidates running for him in this election have ties to Russia. Many Belarusian outlets have called Babarico a “Kremlin-linked candidate” for the past 20 years when he runs BelgazePrombank, a subsidiary of Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom. Babarico denied the allegation and urged the media not to call him a pro-Russia candidate. Lukashenko has long established close ties with Russia, which has close economic ties and a customs union with Belarus.

“[Lukashenko] This is done because of a roadmap on deepening links with Russia … in which Belarus loses its sovereignty and provokes public outrage, “Babarico said in an interview with Russia’s Independence News agency RBC. “So any indication that it will now benefit Russia or any other state [negative] Reaction in Belarusian society. “

The Kremlin also denied supporting Babarico and dismissed the allegations against Gazprom.

President Alexander Lukashenko addresses the summit on December 20, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

“There are no candidates in the Kremlin Belarusian elections,” Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said earlier this week.

Putin and Lukashenko exchanged a phone call this week, but Peskov said they would not discuss the circumstances surrounding the BelgazePrombank. Lukashenko is scheduled to visit Moscow next week to take part in the re-scheduled Victory Day Parade in Red Square.

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The UK and US governments have condemned the arrests and urged Belarusian authorities to respect the rights of its citizens for peaceful protest.

“The United States will appeal to international commitments to respect the fundamental freedoms of the Belarusian people by allowing them to freely, peacefully assemble and release detainees, including journalists covering the peace conference tonight,” the US Embassy on Minsk’s Twitter account said in a tweet.

About the author

Adam D. Crook

Adam D. Crook

Adam is a charismatic science communicator respected for his deep understanding of US S&T system. "New Frontiers in Science & Development' is the online platform he contributes to actively in addition to Science and Getty Images. He has won many national and international awards for his work. Explaining complexities of science in a simple language is his forte. He has extensive experience in reporting about the United State atomic energy program.
His pioneering work show casing US’s maiden mission to Mars and Moon has been applauded this aired in English for Television. In his two decades of writing for the prestigious American weekly Science, his stories have highlighted.

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