He is aware that after 26 years he can only secure his rule by force. The Europeans will not be able to pretend that is none of their business.
Europe must put maximum pressure on Lukashenko
President Alexander Lukashenko is probably one of the few people who really know how people in Belarus voted. Who should be better informed of the full extent of the forgery than the man who ordered it? That is why the excessive brutality with which his henchmen tried to break the protest across the country is also an indication of the actual election result. If only just under ten percent had actually voted for his competitor Svetlana Tichanovskaya, the president could be reassured. But Lukashenko, who has dictatorially ruled Belarus for 26 years, shows panic. He is aware that he can only secure his rule by force.
Tichanovskaya and her supporters have already changed the country. Against an overpowering state apparatus, despite the grotesquely unfair conditions in the election campaign and regardless of a campaign of intimidation, they succeeded in awakening the spirits of Belarusian society. Tichanovskaya and her team took a high personal risk. They knew that. Like everyone who takes to the streets against Lukashenko, they know that they are putting themselves in danger. But they also know that no dictatorship has yet been overcome in the voting booth alone; Courage and displeasure must triumph over fear and violence.
Lukashenko’s situation is made more difficult by a model that has reached its limits. This model followed the primacy of the greatest possible freedom of action for a single man, namely Lukashenko himself. Internally, this led to an arbitrary rule that knows no civil rights, but only acts of grace by the dictator. Outwardly, however, Lukashenko wanted to take the freedom he withheld from his citizens. So he tried to evade the influence of Russia, the natural protective power of all autocrats. Although economically dependent on his large neighbor, Lukashenko was reluctant to submit to a dictation from the Kremlin. At least as great as the fear of a revolt in his own country was always his fear of being incorporated by Russia. Both of these came together in Lukashenko’s assertion that Russian mercenaries were involved in overturning plans.
Putin will continue to support Lukashenko
There are many indications that Russian President Vladimir Putin Lukashenko will hold the line for the time being. As much as Putin may be tired of the antics of the ruler of Minsk, his phobia about the successes of democracy and civil society in a country of the former Soviet Union will outweigh the rest. Any example that autocracy doesn’t have to last forever is a dangerous example for Putin.
The Europeans will not be able to pretend that is none of their business. The greatest possible pressure on Lukashenko is necessary to prevent further bloodshed. In the past, the president had managed to make it look like he was opening his country. As a result, sanctions were lifted prematurely. The people who take to the streets in Minsk and other cities in Belarus risk a lot in contrast to those in Stuttgart and Berlin who consider themselves victims of an alleged Corona dictatorship. You are entitled to the solidarity of the Democrats.