Saturday, May 4, 2024

Lukashenka Intensifying Repression against Belarusians at Home and Abroad, Korshunov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 1 – Since the start of Putin’s war in Ukraine, Alyaksandr Lukashenka has been intensifying his repression of Belarusians at home and of Belarusians in the diaspora and will likely continue to do so at least through the presidential elections there in 2025, Gennady Korshunov says.

            The former head of the Minsk Institute of Sociology who now lives in exile in Lithuania where he prepares the Barometer of Repression in Belarus says that the situation in his country is getting worse with each passing month (европа/20240501-социолог-репрессии-в-беларуси-будут-только-нарастать-впереди-президентские-выборы-2025-года).

            And Korshunov acknowledges that his own hopes at the beginning of this year that Lukashenka’s repressions had reached a plateau and would not get any worse have thus been cruelly dashed, with the Belarusian regime rapidly moving from a harsh authoritarianism to a kind of totalitarianism.

            “In addition to the continuing militarization of the regime,” he says, Lukashenka has moved to liquidate the remaining structures of civil society, closing down 92 NGOs during the first three months of 2024, 35 percent more than he closed during the corresponding period a year earlier.

            The Belarusian dictator is rapidly increasing the number of video cameras with facial recognition technology in public places – there are now more than 35,000 of these -- in order to be able to monitor and then arrest anyone who takes part in any action not approved by the powers that be.

            And Lukashenka is now devoting “particular attention to Belarusians who live beyond the borders of the country” given that his regime views the diaspora as “its enemy.” Minsk officials are especially focuses on cutting off links between the diaspora and the Belarusian population at home lest the former inspire the latter to resist and protest.

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