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"Ran, sat, drank". What will happen in Belarus during and after the elections

In Belarus today choose the President. On the eve of the acting head of state Alexander Lukashenko said that the harvesting campaign is more important than the election. In Minsk at this time, the detained participants of unsanctioned actions. The situation in the Republic nervous. RIA Novosti recalls how everything was before, and understands what to expect after the counting of votes.

Four days of early voting, the turnout exceeded 32%, said the morning of 8 August the Belarusian Central election Commission. Most actively the Gomel region is nearly 43%. In Minsk, about 30.

And the President went to the village to check the progress of agricultural work. "To lose a crop for a policy — it would be complete idiocy", — explained the head of the Minsk region Alexander Turchin, urging him "not to pull people to the polls".

Lukashenko stressed that in the harvest season rural people are not up to it. "It is here in Minsk some beer and suck on the bench, then excited, ran about, just sat back, drank" — said the head of state.

In the capital, indeed, political life abounds. In the evening, the opposition held "a race of solidarity". Rival Lukashenko, Svetlana Tikhanovski failed to gather supporters in Minsk, as allocated by the authorities for the place of the rally staged a celebration of the Day of the railway troops. Held on 30 July a joint action of Lukashenko's opponents gathered, by estimates of police, 18 thousand people, according to human rights activists — 60 thousand.

In previous campaigns also had political intrigue, there were protests. In 1994 was considered as a favorite of Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kebich, member of the Supreme Council of Zenon Pozniak and former Chairman of the Parliament Stanislav Shushkevich.

But the victory of Alexander Lukashenko. In the first round he scored almost 45% of the votes, the second 60.

The constitutional referendum in 1996, significantly strengthened the Executive power. Lost and presidential terms: the following elections were held not in five years, and seven in 2001. was Again won by Lukashenko.

In 2006, was the first "square" (the area of Belarus), the mass action. After the polls close on March 16 on October square in Minsk was held an unauthorized rally. Built a small tent city. The very next day he was visited by the ambassadors of Britain, France, Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic. However, on the night of 24 March, police pushed the protesters from the square.

A few months later Lukashenko in the usual style shocked the public. "The last election we have forged," admitted the Belarusian leader. And explained: "President Lukashenko voted 93.5 per cent. They say it's not a European figure. We did 86".

In 2010 as in 2020, Lukashenko spoke a lot about Russia. "In recent years the Russian leadership has wanted to build with Belarus is entirely pragmatic relations. We are ready for it. But this pragmatism should not destroy everything that has been accumulated to date," — said the Belarusian President.

Then he got about 80 percent, the opposition again gathered "the square". An unauthorized rally was dispersed. In 2015 the vote will remember the arrest of two hundred Ukrainians. "You do not toss us over militants. We are tired at the border to detain them with grenades, bats, handguns and ammunition. Let's live together," chided Kiev Lukashenka. Shortly after the election, the detainees returned home.

This year Lukashenka's opponents have joined forces. In July, the opposition formed a General headquarters. Svetlana Tikhanovski involved in the election instead of her husband — Sergei Tikhanovski, the CEC refused to register. Maria Kolesnikova is a representative of the former banker Victor Babariko. Veronika Tsepkalo also replaces wife — Valeria, signatures in support of which he rejected.

"Combat friends" rallied around the country. Demonstration in Minsk found the most massive in the modern history of Belarus.

It seems that the situation in the Republic has changed a lot. Denis Melyantsou, program coordinator "the Foreign policy of Belarus" expert initiatives "dialog", Minsk recalled that the country "is prohibited (independent) polls". "However, after such large-scale actions of the opposition, it can be argued that the current Lukashenko's rating is lower than prior to the campaign," he said.

However, the landslide victory of Alexander Lukashenko, there is little doubt, says the Belarusian political scientist and economist Dmitry Bolkunets. Officially, the opposition will be minimal results. It can bring people to the streets, he warned.

Belarusians encourage each other to photograph the ballot, and after voting to send to the Internet platform alternative calculation. "Joined there about a million people. Most obviously, the opponents of Lukashenko. These resources will win Tikhanovski, and the opposition will claim that he received more votes than recognize the CEC. Thus the government itself will provoke resentment and create conflict," explains Bolkunets.

But the President is not idle. Lukashenko had almost not went campaigning in cities and enterprises. This time it's different.

Not only Minsk residents came out to the opposition rallies, says Melyantsou. "There were just people from small Belarusian cities. Never before has a periphery, always sympathetic to Lukashenko, was not involved actively in politics. This forced the President to visit factories, meet with workers, to talk about their achievements", — says the expert.

On the increased interest in the election campaign in all Belarusian cities and points Bolkunets. The country is very politicized, and this is a serious challenge for the government.

As soon as the areas will be closed and will start counting the votes, the opposition will take to the streets. The President immediately warned it will not allow them to vandalize. "Some continue to call people to the square. God forbid, we will build a fire in the center of Minsk and then we will scatter embers throughout the capital. We cannot and will not tolerate," warned Lukashenko.

His opponents have so far refrained from direct incitement to riot. But I clarify: if people gather in the square, then join them.

"Svetlana Tikhanovski and other alternative candidates distanced themselves from the unsanctioned rallies, as this could serve as the basis for their withdrawal from the elections. However, all say they intend to protect given for them to vote. This can be interpreted as the willingness of the opposition to the protests", says Melyantsou. In his opinion, dissatisfaction with "what happened in this election campaign, is not going anywhere and apparently, the steam will spill out in street protests".

About how important at this time, the position of the West, says Melyantsou. According to him, the EU and the US have invested much in the restoration of relations with Minsk. "So, if the picture in the media crackdown will not be as dramatic in Brussels and Washington will limit myself to critical comments on the authorities. Belarus is now seen in the West through the prism of confrontation with Russia. Strengthening sovereignty of the Republic of there are regarded as part of the strategy of the struggle with Moscow, so it is hardly against Minsk will impose new sanctions. Even if after the harsh crackdown of rallies sanctions will follow, it is likely that they will be targeted," concludes Melyantsou.