Disputed Elections – week 18

Pretty much the same-old-same-old with Belarus. The protests in Belarus drag on with no clear end in sight. The demonstrations this weekend were stated to include “thousands” of demonstrators protesting at a reported “more than 70 different sites” or “more than 120 marches.”

Clearly it is no longer “tens of thousands” protestors and far from more than hundred thousand protestors that we saw on some of the weekends. The strike called last month didn’t seem to do much. Does that mean that the protests are losing virulence, or are they just hunkered down for the long term? The Belarus opposition is now opening up “People’s Embassies:” in a dozen countries and has support in many countries in Europe. Meanwhile, Belarus has closed its borders to try to combat the Coronavirus. Considering that Lukashenko has never taken the virus seriously before, most likely it is to try to stem the “brain drain” of talented and young people bailing out of Belarus.

This is beginning to look a whole lot more like the failed protests in Venezuela than the various color revolutions in Eastern Europe that overthrew the governments of Ukraine and Georgia. Lukashenko may be able to suppress/contain the protests but it will be at considerable long-term cost to the economy. The country already has a declining population (see graph below). Turning a country of 9.4 million into a new type of Gulag in hardly the basis for a modern, growing economy.

There were more than 130 or 170 protestors detained/arrested this weekend. Many news reports state that over 30,000 people people have been detained in Belarus since the start of the protests in August. Many accounts are reporting that four people have died since this started as a result of government crackdowns.




P.S. The picture of the detained protestor is from previous months, I just happen to like it (“Beauty and the Beast”). She 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.
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.
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).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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