When IRL Can’t Be Ignored

This is an extremely rare thing I’m writing anything about IRL events in this blog, and moreover, a political post. Yet it’s something I need to talk about.

So, current situation in Belarus.

Belarus is a former Soviet republic, a country located between Russia, Poland and Ukraine. For 26 years now it’s been ruled by a president/dictator Alexander Lukashenko, and kept even more freedom and freedom of speech restrictions than Russia since Soviet times. The previous elections have not been entirely fair, but presumably he still got the support of the majority. Until now.

The current president campaign has been the most fucked up in the entire history. All the viable candidates were prosecuted – made to leave the country or put in jail. A wife of one of the prosecuted candidates, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, stepped in and registered as a candidate instead of her husband. Not a politician herself, she stepped in as a symbol of protest against the regime. Her political goals was not to become a president, but to hold a new, fair election within the next 6 months if she wins. Her election campaigns and meetings were sabotaged by the police, common supporters and journalists were put in jail and all that.

The election of August 9 was held with the official administration trying to put spokes in wheels and fake the results in every possible way they had in their arsenal (and that’s a lot they could do). By the end of the election day it became very clear that Svetlana has won in spite of all this: unofficial exit polls and reports from polling stations which played fair and actually showed pictures of the counted piles of ballots and actual protocols have shown the range of her support from 60% to 90%, while Lukashenko’s ranged from 9% to 20%. Guess what they did?

By the morning (and there were no intermediate results as the votes were counted) the government has announced 9% result for Svetlana and 80% for Lukashenko. Magic!

Now the whole Belarus, all cities big and small, is fired up. Tens of thousands of people are out in the streets for the past two nights, and this is escalating quickly. It’s no civil war – it’s plainly common people against the police, SWAT and in some cases army is involved. No one has seen any civil supporters of Lukashenko in the streets (talking about that 80% of support, huh), just people in uniform. The police acts violently against unarmed – and even uninvolved random people, using batons, tear gas, light/noise grenades, rubber bullets and everything else without a second thought or remorse. The common people are not using any weapons (yet), but I think it may not last – several episodes of vehicle hit-and-runs against the police squads have already been seen on video. Svetlana’s election HQ has announced she’s won, has filed an official appeal about the election results, and for now she’s left the country to a neighborhood Lithuania for safety reasons, a decision for which we cannot blame her. Lukashenko himself called the election a “national holiday”, blamed Czech Republic, Britain and Poland for messing up with the people and for cutting off the internet from abroad, called the people sheep and many more exciting things.

Well there’s a people’s revolution against a dictatorship in its purest form for you. It’s pretty clear that the announced “president” is not legitimate at the very least, his “power” is justified by the tips of police batons only, and the country won’t put up with it in a form of riots or another. There’s a great hope that they will have enough balls to finally make the “Roach” go – and as little blood as possible in the process.

And Russia? There’s a total support of the protest events in Belarus in social networks (except pro-government bots on salary), but the government media are silent – because the situation is all too similar to Belarus’ biggest neighbor. You can only be a dictator for so long, and if the legal options of electing anything-else-but are becoming non-existent, this is what you get.

P.S. I deliberately didn’t repost the multiple video footage from the past two nights – it’s violent and unfair enough to stay calm. Google “Belarus protests” or “Minsk protests” if you must.

4 thoughts on “When IRL Can’t Be Ignored

  1. I saw some of the video footage of police dragging protesters into vans and doing so very forcefully, to my eyes the protester was standing there calmly.
    With so many people with cameras and access to sites to post to, it might be harder to claim a victory and increase the pressure — but I also saw that the dictator simply shut off the internet in some of the regions. Letting the world know what is happening on the streets inside a country might bring added pressure to him, I don’t know. The world watches now a country that is not often in the international news.


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