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The Struggle for Belarus

As has long been anticipated, Belarus's president, Aleksandr Lukashenko, has promptly declared victory in an election marred, as usual during Lukashenko's 26-year rule, by widespread fraud and vote rigging. But this time, the opposition is organized, widely supported, and not going home.

MINSK – Belarusian opposition leaders knew beforehand that they would be protesting the falsified result of the presidential election this past weekend, and had already adopted three governing principles. Their demonstrations must be absolutely peaceful, they must be sustained, and they must seek specific objectives, including free elections and the restoration of the country’s democratic constitution.

Now that Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has essentially nullified the election, claiming – preposterously – that some 80% of Belarusians voted for him, supporters of the opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, are putting these principles into practice.

The regime’s opponents are disciplined and technologically savvy. Because the central authorities completely control the official media, an alternative media ecosystem has emerged online, where independent publications’ readership has grown by 300-400% in recent weeks.