Digest of Belarusian Analytics: More Protests Will Follow As The Crisis Deepens

Political Analyst Alexander Klaskouski

Belarusian analysts discuss the reasons for decline in the "silent revolution" and the future effects of the deepening economic crisis in Belarus. Most analysts agree that Belarus economic and political system will undergo a stress test this autumn, which will show whether the system can last much longer.

Results of the political season. Political analyst Andrey Suzdaltsev admits tactical victory, but strategic defeat of the Belarusian authorities during the spring-summer political season. The authorities could not offer an ideological alternative to the "network revolution", were unable to launch any organic pro-Lukashenka initiatives. The main conclusion is the ideological bankruptcy of the Lukashenka regime. Suzdaltsev predicts more severe economic problems and new forms of protests later this year.

The horizonal protests.Belarusian experts discuss on Radio Liberty the results and the differences of the last action of the "silent protests". According to Vital Tsyhankou getting rid of Lukashenka is the supreme and final goal in many people's understanding. What should follow is beyond anybody's imagination, a life in another dimension. Philosopher Valiantsin Akudovich explains the effectiveness of network revolution by its horizontal nature. The horizontal structure is a contrast to the vertical structure of the state authority. According to Akudovich, the Belarusian security services struggle to find ways to cope with new forms of resistance.

The organizer effect. Journalist Viktar Martynovich believes that the initiative "Revolution through social networks" begins to decline because its organizers from outside of Belarus begin to appear often in independent media and give multiple interviews. Those who took part in protests feel that if they come out again, they will do it for the organizers based abroad rather than for the sake of protests as such.  Martinovich is sure that the organizer itself is worse than the lack of an organizer, envisaged by the concept of networking.

The crisis of genre in the "silent revolution". Political analyst Alexander Klaskouski and Belarusian politicians Alexander Milinkevich and Alexei Yanukevich see a significant decline of silent protests and offer to their organizers to take a break until autumn. Milinkevich thinks that it was wise for politicians not to try to head the "silent revolution"

The social contract collapsed. Analyzing the latest results of independent polls, Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS) concludes that the system of "social contract" between the regime and society in Belarus has collapsed. BISS assumes that the government could restore the public trust if it started to resolve economic issues. The authors observe that in the absence of an effective strategy the authorities focus on security issues and look for enemies.

Belarus economic model has no future.  Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) organized a round table with participation of Belarusian experts (Kirill Koktysh, Vladimir Mackievich, Alexey Pikulik, Michail Zaleski, etc.) and representatives of foreign diplomatic missions. Participants discussed the current situation of the Belarusian economy and possible models of its transformation.

The experts agree that the revenues of Belarusian authorities will shrink even further in September. That will result from a new Russian pipeline BTS-2, which will divert oil transits from Belarus. The experts think that the main reason for the economic crises was the economic model based on external subsidies and the lack of trust to the Belarusian authorities. Privatization will not resolve the crises but can soften it for the time being. Structural and political changes are needed but the authorities are too afraid to implement them.

The autumn stress test of the Belarusian economy.  Economic analyst Yuri Pshennik believes that in fact all Belarusians understand the necessity and inevitability of changes. If the authorities blockthese changes further, the crisis will deepen. He believes that this autumn the system will undergo a stress test, which will show whether the system can survive for a longer period without any structural changes.

October 8 "National Assembly".Analysts began to discuss the upcoming large-scale action of the Belarusian opposition - "National Assembly", to be held on October 8 in many cities. While analysts express rather pessimistic attitude to the action. Thus, according to Denis Melyantsov, "now in Belarus there is no alternative force that would really want and could take power. Well, or at least it could consistently improve approaches, techniques and tactics to learn from defeats".

Russia's integration efforts. Economic analyst Michas’ Ilyinsky sees benefits and losses from Belarus' participation in the Customs Union with Russia and Kazakhstan. Russia assertively lobbies various integration projects trying to imitate the Soviet Union. Eurasian Union, a close confederation of states dominated by Moscow is the ultimate goal of Russian leadership. Ilyinsky concludes that Russia was unable to create a truly attractive integration model in the region and the main motivation of Belarus authorities is to gain financial aid from Russia, which benefits from high oil prices.

Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.

 

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