The White-Red Revolution of Belarus

Giovanni Sale, SJ

 Giovanni Sale, SJ / Politics / 2 December 2020

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In Belarus, a revolution has been underway for over three months. It is a peaceful, popular protest led by three courageous women linked to people who before the presidential elections were either imprisoned by the police or forced into exile. The “White-Red Revolution,” as it has been described, began immediately after President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years, officially announced the results of the presidential elections of August 9, 2020. He claimed 80.23 percent of the popular vote, which has been described as an “indefensible exaggeration.”

In any case, the election was preceded by a disastrous election campaign, marked by threats against political opponents and arrests, by unlikely attacks on the sovereignty of the country by some foreign powers, primarily Putin’s Russia, and by too many inappropriate jokes about the coronavirus, to be fought with vodka and sauna, instead of seeking to stop its spread by following the advice given by the World Health Organization.

The popular protests began immediately after the announcement of the result of the polls, while different sources reported electoral fraud as well as violence against people who had worked in the polling stations. Even so, some claim that even without these manipulations and violence the president would still have won the election, probably with a lower majority.[1] Lukashenko’s actions, which some observers have described as arrogant, authoritarian and narcissistic, confirm that his legitimate right to rule has come to an end.

Regardless of how much longer his regime will last and despite the fact that he has officially taken office for the sixth time as the head of state (September 23), for many Belarusians “the bác’ka (dad) has lost his parental authority.”[2] Clearly, he no longer has the support of the country.

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