Political developments in Belarus following the Presidential Election of August 2020

Author Details
Author (Corporate)
Publication Date 2020
Content Type

Summary:

Reports and analyses concerning the protests taking place in Belarus in the aftermath of the Presidential election held in the country on 9 August 2020.

Further information:

Protests across the country - in Minsk as well as in smaller cities and towns from different regions - started immediately after the announcement of results by the Central Election Committee. However, those demonstrations gathered momentum over the following weeks and were met with repression and violence by authorities vowed to shield the regime and its leader, Alexander Lukashenko.

On 14 August, presidential candidate Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya announced the creation of a Coordination Council comprising 600 members from across different sectors of society and a presidium of 7 members. The Council aimed at coordinating a peaceful and orderly transfer of power from the existing regime and towards fresh, free and fair elections. The first meeting of this Council was held on 18 August. Several members of the presidium were later detained and questioned by the authorities.

The regime undertook several attempts to tame the momentum of the anti-regime protests by carrying out its own sponsored demonstrations, as well as implementing repression and violence against citizens and journalists. While the European Union prepared its set of sanctions against the regime, individual countries decided to implement their own restrictive measures against those responsible for violence and electoral fraud. Individual EU Member States led to a delay in the implementation of sanctions.

Protests carried on into September in different shapes and forms. The regime continued to repress peaceful protests and detain hundreds of people. Authorities also moved to chase, repress and detain most senior members of the Coordination Council. Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Mr Lukashenko on 15 September. The plenary of the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on 17 September which announces the recognition of the Coordination Council as the interim representation of the Belarusian people and declaring it would not recognise Mr Lukashenko as President for a new mandate. On the same day, the OSCE invoked the so-called Moscow Mechanism for Belarus.

Related Link(s)
Commentary and Analysis
Wikipedia: 2020 Belarusian protests https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_Belarusian_protests
Wikipedia: Coordination Council (Belarus) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coordination_Council_(Belarus)
EUObserver, 20/08/2020: The awakening of Belarus https://euobserver.com/opinion/149183
The Conversation, 20/08/2020: Belarus, explained: How Europe’s last dictator could fall https://theconversation.com/belarus-explained-how-europes-last-dictator-could-fall-144711
The Atlantic, 21/08/2020: The 22-Year-Old Blogger Behind Protests in Belarus https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/08/22-year-old-blogger-behind-protests-belarus/615526/
GMFUS: Blog, 21/08/2020: Puzzled by Belarus, Russia Struggles to Respond https://www.gmfus.org/blog/2020/08/21/puzzled-belarus-russia-struggles-respond
openDemocracy: oDR Opinion, 21/08/2020: "Belarus will never be the same" https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/odr/belarus-protests-analysis/
Foreign Policy, 24/08/2020: Lukashenko Mistakes Protesters’ Principles for Weakness https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/08/24/lukashenko-protesters-principles-weakness/
Euro|topics, August 2020: What's going on in Belarus? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/246145/
The Independent, 25/08/2020: Belarus’s problems won’t vanish when Lukashenko goes – victory for democracy also comes at a price https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/belarus-election-lukashenko-minsk-protests-democracy-freedom-coronavirus-a9685816.html
EPRS: At a Glance, August 2020: Belarus on the brink https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_ATA(2020)652042
Amnesty International: News, 26/08/2020: Belarus: NGOs call on UN Human Rights Council to convene extraordinary session https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/08/belarus-ngos-call-on-un-human-rights-council-to-convene-extraordinary-session/
Chatham House: Expert Comment, 26/08/2020: Can the International Criminal Court Help Belarus? https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/can-international-criminal-court-help-belarus
Euro|topics, August 2020: Belarus: why is Putin holding back? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/246641/
TIME, 27/08/2020: Why the Trump Administration Won't Get Involved in Belarus' Disputed Election Results https://time.com/5883992/trump-administration-belarus-election/
Euro|topics, August 2020: Belarus: is the EU too cautious regarding Putin? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/246239/
Foreign Policy, 03/09/2020: The Trump Administration Has Gone AWOL on Belarus https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/09/03/belarus-election-fraud-trump-lukashenko-putin/
Foreign Affairs, 08/09/2020: What Russia Really Has in Mind for Belarus https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/europe/2020-09-08/what-russia-really-has-mind-belarus
Amnesty International: News, 08/09/2020: Belarus: Authorities subject opposition leader Maryia Kalesnikava to abduction-style arrest https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/09/belarus-authorities-subject-opposition-leader-maryia-kalesnikava-to-abductionstyle-arrest/
Chatham House: Expert Comment, 10/09/2020: Seven Ways the West Can Help Belarus https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/seven-ways-west-can-help-belarus
Politico, 10/09/2020: Poland has a credibility problem in Belarus https://www.politico.eu/article/polands-clash-with-brussels-dampens-push-for-reform-in-belarus/
The Atlantic, 12/09/2020: When Women Lead Protest Movements https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2020/09/belarus-protests-women/616288/
UK House of Commons: Library Research Briefing (No. 9002), 14/09/2020: Belarus: where next? https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-9002/
GMFUS: Blog, 14/09/2020: What is the Kremlin up to in Belarus? https://www.gmfus.org/blog/2020/09/14/what-kremlin-belarus
British Medical Journal (BMJ), 15/09/2020: Covid-19: How does Belarus have one of the lowest death rates in Europe? https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m3543
ECFR: Commentary, 16/09/2020: Belarus and Armenia: How Russia handles uprisings https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_belarus_and_armenia_how_russian_handles_uprisings
The Guardian, 17/09/2020: 'The only way to stop violence': why protesters are unmasking Belarus police https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/17/the-only-way-to-stop-violence-why-protesters-are-unmasking-belarus-police
The Conversation, 17/09/2020: Belarus: Vladimir Putin has Alexander Lukashenko just where he wants him https://theconversation.com/belarus-vladimir-putin-has-alexander-lukashenko-just-where-he-wants-him-146256
Chatham House: Expert Comment, 21/10/2020: What Belarusians Think About Their Country’s Crisis https://www.chathamhouse.org/2020/10/what-belarusians-think-about-their-countrys-crisis

News
Politico: Belarus protests: In-depth coverage https://www.politico.eu/article/belarus-protests-in-depth-coverage/
Reuters, 23/08/2020: Belarusian protesters, defying army, flood Minsk https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN25J0CS
Deutsche Welle, 23/08/2020: Baltic nations form human chains in support of Belarus protests https://p.dw.com/p/3hNNt
TASS, 26/08/2020: Belarus opposition challenges national government status https://tass.com/world/1193793
Reuters, 26/08/2020: Nobel Prize-winning Belarus author calls on Russia to push Lukashenko to talk https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN25M0YU
EurActiv, 26/08/2020: Russia warns US, EU against Belarus sanctions, interference https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/russia-warns-us-eu-against-belarus-sanctions-interference/
The Moscow Times, 27/08/2020: Putin Forms Law Enforcement ‘Reserve’ on Standby for Belarus https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/08/27/putin-forms-law-enforcement-reserve-on-standby-for-belarus-a71260
Euronews, 27/08/2020: Belarus: Lukashenko ‘afraid of his own people’ claims opposition organiser https://www.euronews.com/2020/08/27/belarus-lukashenko-afraid-of-his-own-people-claims-opposition-organiser
BBC News, 27/08/2020: Putin says he could send police to Belarus if necessary https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53930796
The Guardian, 27/08/2020: Belarus protests: Putin ready to send Lukashenko military support https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/27/belarus-protests-putin-ready-to-send-lukashenko-military-support
BBC News, 30/08/2020: Belarus protest: Mass rally keeps pressure on Lukashenko https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53966004
TASS, 10/09/2020: Belarus opposition figures say they will soon return from Ukraine to ‘destabilize regime’ https://tass.com/world/1199557
EUObserver, 11/09/2020: Cyprus blocking EU sanctions on Belarus https://euobserver.com/foreign/149410
Deutsche Welle, 12/09/2020: Belarus: Women attacked and detained as protests persist https://p.dw.com/p/3iO2q
The Guardian, 16/09/2020: Belarus charges opposition leader with 'undermining national security' https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/16/belarus-officials-charge-opposition-leader-maria-kolesnikova-with-undermining-national-security
BBC News, 16/09/2020: Belarus protests: Maria Kolesnikova charged under security law https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-54183281
Reuters, 16/09/2020: Russia accuses U.S. of promoting revolution in Belarus, toughens stance https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN2672NC
Euronews, 16/09/2020: Maria Kolesnikova charged with causing harm to Belarusian national security https://www.euronews.com/2020/09/16/maria-kolesnikova-charged-with-causing-harm-to-belarusian-national-security
The Moscow Times, 17/09/2020: Protest-Plagued Belarus Strongman Transfers Son to Moscow School – Reports https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/09/17/protest-plagued-belarus-strongman-transfers-son-to-moscow-school-reports-a71474
ERR News, 17/09/2020: Reinsalu: Estonia ready to accept IT firms from Belarus, but not refugees https://news.err.ee/1136031/reinsalu-estonia-ready-to-accept-it-firms-from-belarus-but-not-refugees

Official
Official Website of the Belarusian Coordination Council https://rada.vision/en
US Government: Department of State: Press Statement, 20/08/2020: Supporting the Aspirations of the Belarusian People https://www.state.gov/supporting-the-aspirations-of-the-belarusian-people/
Council of Europe: News, 26/08/2020: Belarus: joint statement by the Committee of Ministers Presidency, PACE President and Secretary General https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/belarus-joint-statement-by-committee-of-ministers-presidency-pace-president-and-secretary-general
EU EEAS: Belarus: Joint Statement by HR/VP, Josep Borrell and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, François-Philippe Champagne (26 August 2020) https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/84437/
UK Government: Joint Statement on the use of violence and repression in Belarus (29 August 2020) https://www.gov.uk/government/news/joint-statement-on-the-use-of-violence-and-repression-in-belarus
United Nations: News, 01/09/2020: Belarus must stop torturing protesters and prevent enforced disappearances https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/09/1071472
US Government: Press Statement, 08/09/2020: Abduction of Opposition Leaders in Belarus https://www.state.gov/abduction-of-opposition-leaders-in-belarus/
EU EEAS: Belarus: Remarks by the High Representative / Vice-President Josep Borrell at the EP plenary (15 September 2020) https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/85147/
European Parliament: Legislative Observatory: Resolution on the situation in Belarus https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?reference=2020/2779(RSP)
OSCE US Mission: Press Release, 17/09/2020: The OSCE Invokes the Moscow Mechanism for Belarus https://osce.usmission.gov/press-release-the-osce-invokes-the-moscow-mechanism-for-belarus/

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