Not really sure about Lukashenko’s strategy at this point.
In the morning, he was telling booing factory workers that they would have to “kill him” if they wanted new elections. Which is admittedly a very Chad move, if tempting of fate. A few hours later, he was promising elections after a nationwide referendum on a new Constitution (without specifying timelines).
I suspect he is losing the plot at this point. State media has defected. Siloviks haven’t, at least not openly.
Signs that the protests have been co-opted by a clique of Atlanticist ideologues who intent to force a radical zmagarist platform involving a complete break with Russia continue to build up by the day.
(1) The document that I summarized here proposing exit from the Union State, ejecting Russian military from Belarus, de-Rusification, banning Russian TV channels, and applying to the EU and NATO has also been in discovered directly at ReformBy.com, the official list of reform proposals agreed to by the united opposition and directly linked to from Tikhanovskaya’s website (to which the other two major opposition figureheads, the imprisoned oligarch Babiriko and the exiled technocrat Tsepkalo, also subscribe to). Perhaps tellingly, it is only available in the Belarusian language, but not in Russian. I am screenshotting it and attaching it here for reference in case it gets removed (see right), link to archived version here. If Russia’s MFA are smart they would be seeking a clarification on the meaning of this prompto.
(2) Speaking of Tsepkalo – the opposition candidate who fled Belarus ahead of a suspected arrest to Russia, before departing for Ukraine. On August 14, perhaps influenced by his new comrades, suggested that Belarus would construct along the lines of Ukraine’s “Peacekeeper“, which which lists “enemies of the Ukrainian people” that are not to be allowed into Ukraine and/or subject to Ukrainian prosecution – its “stars” include everyone from Russian nationalist pundits, to Russian airmen involved in bombing ISIS in Syria.
But three days later, in a slapstick development, it emerged that Tsepkalo was himself on that Peacekeeper list for some old comments in which he called the Ukrainian conflict a civil war (Ukraine’s position is that it is Russian aggression), and a band of Ukrainian nationalists cornered him and forces him to apologize.
He has since fled on from the land of democracy ascendant to Poland.
(3) The biggest development has been the release of the names of the members of the “Coordinating Council” by Olga Kovalkova, a “trusted face” of the Tikhanovskaya campaign. This “Coordinating Council”, which was conceived of as the “best way to represent the Belorussian people,” is to oversee the transitional period between now and and new Presidential elections.
It so happens that most of these names seem to be from the “well known in narrow circles” of the pro-Western “creative” intelligentsia:
Svetlana Alexievich – Nobel Laureate in Literature
Lyudmila Antonovskaya – Chairman of the Association “Innovative Instrumentation”
Pavel Belous – the founder and owner of Symbal.by
Ales Bialiatski – human rights activist, chairman of the human rights center “Viasna”
Andrey Vitushko – pediatric resuscitator, candidate of medical sciences.
Lilia Vlasova is an international mediator and lawyer
Vitaly Volyanyuk is the director of Probusiness
Alana Gebremariam is an activist of the Youth Bloc
Yuri Gubarevich – politician, chairman of the movement “For Freedom”
Pavel Daneiko – Manager of IPM Group of Companies,
Alexander Dobrovolsky is a politician, a member of the UCP Political Council
Ales Duko – administration of the park “Great Stone”
Vladimir Dunaev – Professor, Expert of the Public Bologna Committee
Andrei Egorov – political scientist, director of the Center for European Transformation
Maxim Znak is a lawyer
Svetlana Kalinkina is a journalist
Olga Kovalkova is Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s trustee
Nikolai Kozlov is a trustee of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya
Maria Kolesnikova, coordinator of Victor Babarico’s staff
Dmitry Kruk is an economist
Igor Kabushkov is a representative of the student community
Andrei Kureychik – screenwriter, playwright, director, publicist
Evgeny Livyant – teacher, head of the tutoring center “100 points”
Sergei Makeikov is a BMZ delegate
Tatiana Marinich is the founder of the BELBIZ group of companies
Vladimir Pugach – J-MORS, musician, lawyer
Vitaly Rymashevsky is the BCD co-chairman
Anna Severinets – teacher, writer, literary critic
Andrei Strizhak is a BY-COVID campaign activist
Yuri Khvaschevatsky is a film director
Alexander Center – Head of A-100 Group of Companies
Vladimir Tsesler is an artist
Sergei Chaly is an independent analyst and economist
Julia Chernyavskaya – culturologist, professor
Alexey Shchurko is a GURTAM businessman
This is basically like if in Russia the vatnik workers at Uralvagonzavod were to overthrow Putin, and a clique of pro-Western Muscovite elites (the collective “Shats-Kats-Albats”, as they’re known here) were to sidle into the resulting political vacuum claiming to represent their interests. It would be a complete farce.
The first name on the list, Svetlana Alexievich, who won a Nobel Prize for her substandard prose – or perhaps, rather, her prolific anti-Russian polemics after a Soviet career writing odes to Felix Dzerzhinsky – is the perfect figurehead.
Here are her opinions on Russians (and ordinary Belorussians):
We have to preserve this fragile peace established after the last war. We are talking about the Russian man, who in the past 200 years has spent 150 years of them at war. And never lived well. For him, human life is worthless, and his conception of greatness is not in the sense that people should live well, but that the state should be great and armed to the teeth with rockets. This gargantuan post-Soviet landscape, especially in Russia and Belarus, where the people were first lied to for 70 years, then looted for the next 20, has bred very aggressive people, who are very dangerous for the entire world. …
Of course Russian TV corrupts you. What the Russian media says today – they simply have to be prosecuted for it. For what they say about Europe, about Donbass, about Ukrainians… But this isn’t all. The problem is that people actually want to hear this. We can talk today about a collective Putin, because there is a Putin sitting in all Russians. The Red Empire has vanished, but its people have remained.
No wonder, then, that with such people in the couloirs, who consider themselves to be surrounded by a horde of aggressive subhumans next door and ruling over a horde of easily manipulated drooling idiots within, would want to immediately wage an aggressive culture war, apply to join NATO, and enshrine journalistic and speech freedom for themselves (read: Atlanticists) while calling for the the prosecution of corrupting pro-Russian journalists and activists.
It is increasingly clear that in the event of Lukashenko getting overthrown, the assumption that pro-Russian platforms and candidates will be given a level playing fields with zmagarists in the runup to the new Presidential elections may be becoming an increasingly untenable one.