Weiss Rot Weiss - Instytut Pileckiego

In view of the mass protests against Alexander Lukashenka’s regime, which have been taking place regularly since even before the rigged presidential elections on 9 August 2020, we may be inclined to say “much is new in the East”, to paraphrase a classic. People took to the streets to reject corruption, state despotism and the lack of freedom of expression. Over 40,000 people have been arrested, tortured or otherwise abused and humiliated since the protests began. They face a combination of repression and fatigue, which the West has only countered with half-hearted measures.

Unlike last year, there is unfortunately not much of this story in the media today; a kind of fundamental scepticism has spread, caused by the lack of prospects for quick success, and the assumption that we have only limited scope for action due to geopolitical circumstances or even the fact that Belarus is a moderately important country simply because it is far away.

Karoline Gil and Patryk Szostak refuse to  accept this and question these assumptions by letting experts, Belarusians, international observers and politicians have their say. It is in the nature of things that this sometimes leads to different assessments, but there is agreement on one point: it would be a fallacy to believe that the marginalization of the topic in the public sphere is due to real foreign and domestic political circumstances and conditions on the ground, for example an alleged “stabilization”. Quite the contrary.