BELARUSALERT – DAY 16
Date: 25 August 2020
Hitting the leaders, another call to the Kremlin
Another demonstration in the center of Minsk took place without any obstacles or forceful actions of the regime. On Monday it was reported that Svetlana Alexievich – awarded Nobel Prize in Literature, who sits in the seven-person presidium of the opposition’s Coordination Council, was summoned to the Investigative Committee on Tuesday. She is to be questioned in connection with a criminal case initiated against the Coordination Council. On the same day, two other members of the Council’s leadership were detained on the street under the pretext of administrative matters. Evidently Lukashenko punctually hits the leaders of the protests, being unable to cope with the scale of the demonstrations. Furthermore, another phone conversation between Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin took place on Monday. According to the Belarusian state news agency BelTA, the presidents agreed that the Belarusians will take part in the third phase of testing the Russian coronavirus vaccine. Moreover, Belarus is supposed to be the first country (after Russia) to receive the vaccine. It is interesting, however, that in the Kremlin’s communiqué about the conversation there is no such information – only a statement that the presidents discussed the issue of cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Support of Russia for the Lukashenko’s regime is not so unambiguous. This may be evidenced by the information that the Russian Ministry of Finance has prepared a set of rules to be followed by Russia when granting state loans to other countries. It turns out that Belarus (in addition to Armenia, Venezuela and Cuba) can forget about receiving such a loan on general terms. This would be a significant signal at a time when Belarus is plunging into economic crisis and it is already clear that without significant Russian subsidies Lukashenko will not save the economy from bankruptcy. Importantly, Putin has not yet personally spoken about the events in Belarus. He is still waiting for the events to unfold, not willing to repeat the mistake from Ukraine in 2014 when he bet on the underdog – Viktor Yanukovych.
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