Operacja Śluza. Co naprawdę się dzieje na polsko-białoruskiej granicy

26 maja, kilka dni po tym jak Białoruś porwała samolot Ryanair z Romanem Protasiewiczem na pokładzie, Łukaszenko, w odpowiedzi na krytykę ze strony Unii Europejskiej, powiedział: “Zatrzymywaliśmy narkotyki i migrantów [na granicy z UE] – teraz sami będziecie ich łapać”.

No i się zaczęło. O ile przez cały 2020 rok litewscy pogranicznicy zatrzymali łącznie 81 migrantów, którzy nielegalnie przekroczyli białorusko-litewską granicę, tak począwszy od maja tego roku tylko na Litwie zatrzymano już ponad 4000 osób – 50 razy więcej.

Lukashenko’s Penultimate Elections

Aleksandr Lukashenko with his sons at the 9 May Parade in Minsk, 2019 (The Press Service of the President of the Republic of Belarus)

Lukashenko’s Belarus has long been a success story in the post-Soviet world. In the 2000s it had some of the fastest GDP growth in the world. Belarus had the lowest unemployment rate among all the countries of the former Eastern Bloc, the lowest level of poverty in the region, one of the best public health services, the best road infrastructure, and no foreign debt. In 2003 it became the third country in the region whose GDP returned to its 1990 level (after Uzbekistan and Estonia). Over the next five years, its economy had grown by another 60%. During the financial crisis of 2009, Belarus remained the only post-Soviet country whose economy didn’t shrink. These outstanding results made scholars talk about Lukashenko’s Belarus as the post-Soviet economic miracle. But what were the foundations of that miracle?

Belarus Gets a ‘National Rescue Government’

October 2018. President Lukashenko talks to the newly appointed prime minister Roman Golovchenko (right) who back then was the head of the State Committee for Military Industry. (ont.by)

On May 25 Belarus’ president Aleksandr Lukashenko announced that the country’s current government will step down before the August presidential election. The president stressed that appointing a new government ahead of the election is the country’s tradition, so that “people could see who we’ll be working with”. A quick search shows, however, that no such tradition ever existed and it’s the first time in 26 years Lukashenko reshuffles his cabinet right before the elections. So why now?

The story of how Belarus’ president broke the space-time continuum to jail his opponent

Yesterday morning Belarus’ president Aleksandr Lukashenko visited Minsk Tractor Plant, one of the remaining Soviet giant factories the preservation of which Lukashenko considers one of the main achievements of his 26-year rule. After a routine inspection, the president came out to the crowd of journalists for a brief Q&A session. In his speech he directly attacked three of his opponents in the upcoming presidential election – Tikhanovski, Babariko, and Tsepkalo – accusing them of causing disturbances, being on Russia’s payroll, and threatening that he has plenty of dirt on them.

Why This Year Belarus’ Presidential Campaign Might Be the Most Interesting in Decades

Elections in Belarus are always fun (minsknews.by)

Today Belarus’ Central Election Commission headed by its eternal chairwoman Lidia Yermoshina (she’s been in office since 1996) has completed the reviewing of the potential candidates’ initiative groups. This is the preliminary stage of the election campaign. The initiative groups will later be responsible for collecting 100 thousand signatures so that their respective candidates could make it to the ballot. Of the total of 54 applications, the Commission has approved 15. The basis for rejection in the absolute majority of cases was the candidates’ failure to prove that their initiative groups have at least 100 members. Some potential candidates were also born outside Belarus which disqualifies them from running straightaway.

2020 Belarus’ Presidential Election First Poll

Top to bottom: Sergei Tikhanovski, Viktor Babariko, Valery Tsepkalo

The first poll on the upcoming presidential election in Belarus is out. A few remarks: first, it’s not the list of candidates yet, just people who expressed their will to participate. The election will be held on August 9. The date was only announced last Friday which left the potential candidates less than a week to register their initiative groups and submit all necessary paperwork (they need to do it by tomorrow). So there is a chance not all of them will make it to the next stage.