Solidarity with Belarus
The Kremlin fears a repetition of the Belarusian scenario
Russian authorities are wary of the events in the neighboring country
Against the background of unceasing mass protests in Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko has to turn to Russia for help. However, behind the Kremlin’s response lies a complex combination of geopolitical and domestic issues..
Protests in Belarus inspire pro-democracy activists around the world.
The Russian authorities are wary of the events unfolding in the neighboring country.
Like Lukashenko, Russian President Vladimir Putin has played a dominant role in national politics for over twenty years..
Last week, the Russian leader made it clear that the Kremlin is ready to intervene on behalf of the Lukashenko government to keep the country under Russian influence if necessary..
“Alexander Grigorievich asked me to form a certain reserve of law enforcement officers, and I did it. But we also agreed that it will not be used until the situation gets out of control, “Putin said..
Analysts believe that geopolitical interests are hidden behind Putin’s calculations, as well as fears about how the Belarusian pro-democratic movement may haunt Russia.
“On the one hand, it could be a political infection, an infection from Belarus. On the other hand, we have our own infection in Khabarovsk, “notes Andrei Kolesnikov from the Carnegie Moscow Center.
In Khabarovsk, thousands of people took to the streets for weeks after a popular local governor was removed from office and arrested on murder charges.
Alleged poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny heightened public outrage.
Kremlin refuses to open a criminal case, insisting that conclusions about poisoning are premature.
Navalny’s supporters call this situation another sign that the political system of Russia is as corrupt and cruel as in Belarus..
Navalny worked to convince as many people as possible to vote for government opponents in the regional elections scheduled for September 9..
However, some candidates are already expressing concern that Belarus may cast an unwanted shadow over the vote count..
“People do not even ask whether there will be falsifications. Everyone is confident that they will. The main question is, will there be falsifications in the Belarusian manner? ” – notes political scientist Boris Kagarlitsky.
Lukashenko’s claims of victory with 80 percent of the vote fueled public anger and contributed to the erupting political crisis.
As Russians prepare for the elections, the credibility of their results may show whether Belarus is a harbinger of things to come..