Belarusian Political Crisis of 20202021: The First Stage

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-5-88-97
A. Suzdal'tsev,
National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20, Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation.

Received 24.05.2021. Revised 27.12.2021. Accepted 03.03.2022.

Abstract. The article is devoted to the analysis of the causes of the Belarusian political crisis and the struggle of A. Lukashenko’s regime opponents against the Belarusian authorities in 2020–2021. The paper examines the scientific discussion on the nature and specifics of popular uprisings in Belarus in August–November 2020. The Belarusian authorities used the terms “color revolution” and “mutiny”. At the same time, A. Lukashenko gradually came to a conclusion that the main reason for the crisis is the external interference of neighboring countries of the European Union and NATO. The study provides examples of assessments of events in Belarus by foreign researchers. In foreign scientific articles, the leading role of the Russian factor in the Belarusian political crisis is fixed. In Russian political science, the thesis is defended that in 2020, a “color revolution” took place in the Republic of Belarus. The article primarily analyzes the internal socio-economic and political reasons for popular uprisings in the cities of Belarus in August–October 2020. As part of the analysis of the dissatisfaction among the Belarusian population with A. Lukashenko’s economic policy, the negative role of the oligarchic capitalism formed in Belarus is noted. Particular attention is paid to the reasons for the developing of the protest potential of Lukashenko’s electorate at the beginning of 2020. The study analyzes the political phenomenon of Belarus – the presence of a base (main) electorate. For almost a quarter of a century, the inertia of the political orientation of the base electorate ensured stable support for A. Lukashenko’s regime. The article states the fact that the Belarusian authorities, in their populist and demagogic policy regarding the COVID 19 pandemic, failed to assess the catastrophic fall in A. Lukashenko’s rating in time. The failure of the Belarusian authorities in the fight against COVID 19 launched the formation of the protest vote against the candidacy of A. Lukashenko in the 2020 presidential election. The article analyzes the tactics of street protests and the actions of the Belarusian authorities against their political opponents. The author notes the impasse in the political system of Belarus, the expansion of the public split, and the lack of dialogue between political opponents. Until now, the Belarusian authorities have been able to maintain control over the country, but no real way out of the political crisis has been found. One of the consequences of the crisis was the growing dependence of the political regime on Russia. However, this dependence did not translate into an acceleration of economic integration between the countries. The way out of the political crisis chosen by A. Lukashenko in conducting constitutional reform (the referendum on February 27, 2022) can lead to dual power and end with political destabilization similar to Kazakhstan (January 2022).

Keywords: Republic of Belarus, Belarusian political crisis, Belarusian revolution, Alexander Lukashenko, color revolution


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For citation:
Suzdaltsev A. Belarusian Political Crisis of 20202021: The First Stage. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 5, pp. 88-97.

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