The people of Belarus suffered a trauma as a result of the presidential election, similarly to the trauma that a society suffers as a result of a civil war, Belarusian publicist Valery Karbalevich believes.
According to preliminary results of Sunday's presidential election in Belarus, sitting President Alexander Lukashenko received 80.2 percent of the vote, while his main rival, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, received 9.9 percent, the Central Electoral Committee of Belarus reported on Monday.
None of the other candidates scored even ецщ percent. The turnout was 84.2 percent. As many as 6.02 percent voted against all candidates.
Many Belarusians, disagreeing with the announced figures, took to the streets. Protesters erected barricades in the streets of Minsk. Law-enforcers used rubber bullets, water cannons and noise grenades against the protesters. The protests in the capital subsided at around 2 a.m.
Spokespeople for security services of Belarus confirmed the use of "special measures" against the protesters in Minsk.
"Law enforcement officers were forced to take special measures against the participants in the riots. Special equipment and flash-noise grenades were used," press secretary of the Interior Ministry of Belarus, Olga Chemodanova said.
According to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, 39 law enforcement officers and more than 50 civilians were injured as a result of the riots on August 9. Protests sparked in 33 cities of the country. As a result of the riots, about 3,000 people were detained, Belta news agency reports with reference to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. On August 11, it was reported that one person was killed in violent clashes with riot police.
Spokespeople for the Investigative Committee of Belarus announced that criminal cases were filed into facts of riots and violence against the police. Participants and organizers of the riots face up to 8 and 15 years in prison.
Valery Karbalevich, Belarusian political scientist and publicist told Pravda.Ru, that the figures announced by the Central Electoral Committee of Belarus have nothing to do with the actual voting of people, because "elections in Belarus have not existed as an institution for 20 years already."
"The most curious thing is that they actually counted the ballots at eight polling stations. It turned out that Tikhanovskaya left Lukashenko far behind, by a margin of 2-3-4 times. I think that the situation in Minsk is the same," noted the publicist.
In his opinion, it is "quite obvious" that "in the electoral sense Lukashenko has lost the election."
According to Valery Karbalevich, there is neither single leadership nor a single plan in street protests. The protests are rather spontaneous and were violently suppressed by the authorities for the first time.
When asked whether the West is going to support the protest, Valery Karbalevich said that "the West has nothing to do with it. "This is a revolution - the spontaneous eruption of public unconscious protest."
"Rioting like on Maidan is bad. Yet, what should people do if the authorities do not want to count their votes? The West has nothing to do with it. Interestingly, during the entire course of the election campaign, the Belarusian authorities have never accused the West of interference. On the contrary, they accused Russia of that. I do not think that Moscow actually intervened, but that was the rhetoric of the Belarusian authorities, "the publicist said.
Valery Karbalevich believes that people will not calm down, but he found it difficult to predict whether the protests in Belarus are going to last long.
"The society of Belarus suffered a trauma during this election campaign. For the majority of Belarusians, the election results came as a shock. It is obvious to everyone that the majority of the population want Lukashenko to step down. The legitimacy of the elections, Lukashenko's power and his political regime is very doubtful. The Belarusians will have to live with this trauma further - this is the most important conclusion of this election," Valeriy Karbalevich said.
Vladimir Putin congratulated Alexander Lukashenko on his victory in the presidential election. Presidents of China and Kazakhstan also sent their congratulations.
First president of Belarus, Stanislav Shushkevich, said in an interview with wiadomosci.onet.pl that Moscow would accept Lukashenko "no matter what happens today."
"Lukashenko is not the dictator who runs away. He will use the army against protesters - he will not abandon his power," Shushkevich said.
Congratulating Lukashenko on victory, Russian President Putin noted that he hoped Lukashenko's work "will contribute to the further development of mutually beneficial Russian-Belarusian relations in all areas, deepen cooperation within the Unified State, build up integration processes through the Eurasian Economic Union and the CIS, as well as strengthen military and political ties within the Collective Security Treaty Organization."
After the recent attacks of the Belarusian president against Russia, doubts arose that Moscow would congratulate Lukashenko on his victory at all. Of course, everyone knew that he would win.
However, Russia and Belarus are parts of the Unified State, and if Putin had not congratulated Lukashenko, it would have given rise to a new portion of rumours about problems in the relations between Moscow and Minsk.
The leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Gennady Zyuganov, congratulated Belarus on the "excellent result."
"According to the results of the elections in Belarus, one should congratulate the Belarusian people and Lukashenko on the excellent election result. We should congratulate all of us, because the stability of Belarus means stability in the Russian Federation," Zyuganov told Interfax on Monday.
He accused the Belarus opposition of the lack of experience and respect for their history and understanding of the current state of affairs. Zyuganov also said that "the security services of Belarus handled the crisis very well." He apparently did not want to draw attention to reports of the arrests of Russian journalists (from publications of completely different ideological orientations), and the unclear situation with the "mercenaries" who were detained last week.
Western countries will not introduce any sanctions against Alexander Lukashenko, even if they consider that the announced results of the presidential election in Belarus do not reflect the real situation. They will be ready to "forgive" the Belarusian leader for all violations thanks to his "confrontation" with Russia on the eve of the vote.
Since the likes of the traditional Inauguration Day in the national Capitol are likely never to be witnessed again, take this opportunity from one who has been there to relate some truth about the experience