The authorities of Belarus have found themselves in the most difficult situation in history. The society is in a mess, the economy is stagnating, reforms are not running, everything is asking for resources, which the country can not afford.
To make matters worse, Belarus will most likely have its relations with the West frozen. To crown it all, it will have to share sovereignty with Russia. It is not yet clear how Belarus is going to get out of the political crisis, but it is already clear that Belarus will never be the same as it was before.
Many experts believe that it was the Belarusian authorities that prepared a springboard for protests. It was in the beginning of the year, when Belarus, having exercised indifference to the coronavirus pandemic, launched the the process to politicise a huge mass of previously politically passive people.
The problem is that the people of Belarus, their vast majority, were in the mood for peaceful change this year. It is impossible to steal victory from the majority, as most popular opposition candidate Viktor Babariko said before his arrest.
The Belarusians as a nation have always had the cult of non-violence. Therefore, the events that currently happen in Minsk do not really make sense.
It goes without saying that the protest energy will always explode sooner or later. That was exactly what the Belarusian authorities were working for throughout the election campaign. When they jailed some of the opponents and denied registration to three popular candidates (Sergei Tikhanovsky, Viktor Babariko and Valery Tsepkalo), the state created hundreds of protesters.
Ordinary citizens were not allowed into electoral commissions, and persistent observers were detained right near the polling stations. Against such a background, protests were inevitable, even if the authorities had announced that Lukashenko had gained 60, instead of his traditionally victorious 80 percent of votes. In this case, Lukashenko's never-ending presidency would have been over.
As a result, the whole country started shaking with protests. Hundreds and hundreds of people took to the streets in more than 30 cities, but they met harsh and very brutal resistance on the part of the security forces.
One person was killed, many others were hospitalised with injuries. Detention centres are overwhelmed, the police beat the detainees. The Internet is blocked, the centre of Minsk is paralyzed, and there is no bright leader anywhere near. All this suggests that Belarus may become another Ukraine.
Authoritarian regimes, like Lukashenko's can hardly ever give up without bloodshed. Of course, neither Svetlana Tikhanovskaya herself nor her headquarters had anything to do with the protests at all. It's just that the people's anger found a way out.
So far, it is impossible to predict what Belarus is going to become. Minsk would not want Western sanctions, but the urge for reaction is stronger. In addition, no one will believe it, if Lukashenko says that the riots in Belarus were orchestrated by Western special services, that Belarus has fallen a victim to another color revolution.
Cooperation with the authorities of Belarus will become a highly toxic occupation. A considerable rise in levels of political and student emigration is likely. Having lost the support or at least the tacit loyalty of the majority, the regime will have to rely on security forces.
All this can reformat the regime to make it become a repressive one. Therefore, the most important question for Lukashenko now is money, and money is time. The future of the president himself is now in question.
Belarus is now divided into those who arrest and those who are being arrested ... Belarus does not calm down. protests. People continue expressing their protest - they are convinced that the election was fabricated. Lukashenko will be forced to either make serious concessions or step down, journalists in Belarus believe. At the same time, even if he leaves, his resignation may ruin all the positive achievements of one of the most prosperous countries on post-Soviet space, not to mention the fact that the new leader may not find common language with one main donor state - Russia.
Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus made a prank call to the NED administration on behalf of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a former presidential candidate at the Belarus election