Continued Protests in Belarus – week 6

Well sizable protests continued this weekend in Belarus, although they may not be as big as before. May have been less then 100,000 people. News reports are saying tens of thousands, while one opposition paper is claiming 150,000. The Belarus police claim 20,000 protestors all over the country. As both sides are expected to over/under estimate crowd sizes the real number of probably somewhere in between these two estimates. I suspect the protest in Minsk was less than 100,000. There may have been 200,000 protestors a couple of weeks ago. There were also protests in Brest, Gomel and other places.

Lukashenko’s police were a little heavier handed than in the last two weeks, detaining or arresting over 400 people on Sunday.

Not sure I know what was decided in Lukashenko’s meeting with Putin last week, but so far nothing significant has happened.

It does appear that this is turning into a waiting game, where Lukashenko is trying to ride out the protests and hope that over time they loose virulence. This is all being done in an environment of the coronavirus and what is certainly a declining economy. In the case of the coronavirus, it is reported for Belarus (population: 9.4 million, 80K square miles of area, GDP 63.6 billion, per capita income $6,744 or $21,233 PPP) that they have 75,898 cases and 785 deaths. Just to compare to the U.S. state of Virginia (population 8.5 million 42K square miles of area, GDP 476.4 billion, per capital income $56,047), Virginia has 141,022 cases and 3,019 deaths. There is reason to suspect the accuracy of Belarus’ statistics. See the two graphs below.

It is hard for governments to stay in power in a declining economy (although Venezuela manages) and between protests and coronavirus (and declining population and potential “brain drain”), it is hard for this economy to anything other than decline.

This may go on for a while.

 

P.S. Population of Belarus over time:

P.P.S. The Belarus coronavirus graph:

In light of the all the protests and the lack of social distancing efforts by the government, it is hard to believe that the number of cases have declined from their peak and have not rebounded.

P.P.P.S. The Virginia coronavirus graph:

P.P.P.P.S. The detained protestor was identified over twitter (@A_Sannikov) as Natalia Petukhova. The arresting officer has not been identified. Picture came from @svirsky1 via @XSovietNews

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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