The expert explained how the failure of protests in Belarus will affect young people
Protests in Belarus can not be called natural because they Mature before the presidential election, the lack of leadership and structured prevents protesters to enlist mass support, and possible failure of the protest movement, the opposition could force young people to do social projects or to emigrate, says researcher Berlin Centre for East European and international studies Kostiantyn Fedorenko.
The evening of 9 August, after the presidential elections in Belarus, in a number of cities began mass unauthorized protest, which continued Monday. Protesters in Central Minsk erecting barricades out of garbage cans. The militia used against them tear gas, water cannons and stun grenades, and drove the protesters from the city centre. On Monday, the interior Ministry reported that one protester was killed, he tried to throw an unidentified explosive device in the direction of law enforcement. Tuesday protests in Belarus continues.
"The protests were predicted for a few weeks before the election... In that sense, the announcement of the results was the trigger for the protest movement, which is already Mature. That is called spontaneous protests - would be wrong. However, given the relatively weak at the moment, coordination of the protesters – when compared, for example, with protests in Kiev in 2013-2014 – and the lack of actual political leaders of the protest, it is possible that they will decline. A long standoff, the security forces require tactical discipline, and structured. Without access to the Internet, by the way, it is much more difficult," - said Fedorenko in comments to RIA Novosti, answering a question whether the protests are the beginning of a serious movement of opposition, or rather a spontaneous expression of discontent.
He explained that a horizontal movement without leaders may exist, but they are harder to articulate a positive program "to explain to the population not involved, what exactly will happen after a possible victory of the protesters." "New free elections and freedom for political prisoners – it appears to be the only thing now protesters converge. This may not be enough in order to attract more support. And without mass support for the protest has no future", - the expert believes.
In his opinion, the tough action against opposition protesters and the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko took the risk. "He would, instead of winning with a score of about 80% for you to organize, say, a score of 55-60% in favor. Yes, it is somewhat undermined the political monopoly of the regime. But it didn't seem so obvious fraud and weed out the would of the possible protesters. The regime would rather quietly endured it. It is likely, so the mass mobilization Lukashenko was not expected and suggested that can easily suppress the power of mass peaceful protests in the spirit of December 2010. But the protesters used a different tactic – small decentralized protests that flare up here and there, and even in some places ready to use force. In this situation, the regime hard to take a step back – it would mean a serious weakening, it will have to make unacceptable compromises," continued Fedorenko.
The expert believes that if this tactic of the violent suppression of the protests will be successful, the preservation of the Lukashenko government "will extend". "Then after you "tighten the screws" tight. But this is a game with high risk. If the protests will continue, to involve all new people and make new forms – such as today's industrial strike (information about the strike spreading in social networks, enterprise officially denied it - ed.) – and if the protesters are willing to use violence, the regime can simply not resist. Especially considering that, apparently, even from Russia can expect unequivocal support is not necessary," - said Fedorenko.
The statement of the opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovski, which called for an end to the protests, according to the source, it won't take effect, because "Tikhanovski – not that a full-fledged leader of the protest, but rather a symbolic figure, but one that can easily move over time into insignificance in comparison with the basic motivations of the protesters."
Unsuccessful from the point of view of the opposition the end of the protests, he said, could lead the authorities to tighten the control that "hit it first, of course, young people, urban middle class".
"And this is precisely the environment from which come many of the activists. It should also be understood that in Belarus the opposition movement was virtually destroyed, and why, in fact, we see a fairly unstructured horizontal protest. The less likely it seems their appearance in case of unsuccessful completion of the current protest wave. In such circumstances, many people, disillusioned possible negative outcome of the protests 2020 and seeing that the political self-organization impossible, will either go to some non-political social activist projects, or, Yes, to leave the country", - said Fedorenko.