sierakowski63_Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images_belarus protest Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

Lukashenko in His Bunker

After two weeks of nationwide protests following a fraudulent election on August 9, Belarus remains in a state of political upheaval and uncertainty. But one thing is clear: while the opposition has continued to gain momentum, President Aleksandr Lukashenko has increasingly lost touch with reality.

MINSK – After weeks of nationwide protests over a fraudulent election on August 9, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko seems to have realized that he has lost popular support for good. His last resort is to radicalize his core base and try to terrorize everyone else into submission.

After being publicly booed by Minsk factory workers last week, Lukashenko has been desperate to regain his standing. The regime has staged “astroturf” rallies, furnishing bused-in lackeys with prefabricated posters to create the impression of a grassroots mobilization.

I attended one such rally in Grodno, a city that has almost completely liberated itself from Lukashenko’s rule. The state media has joined the protesters, the jails have been emptied out, and the authorities have begun to give in to the opposition. In response, Lukashenko has announced that the army will be deployed to bring the city back into line.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading and receive unfettered access to all content, subscribe now.



Unlock additional commentaries for FREE by registering.