The authorities continue with large-scale purges of Civil Society and prepare to replace the High Technology Park
The crackdown on civil society organisations and independent analysts and commentators continues. Meanwhile, the authorities evaluate the "IT Academic City" project, based at the Academy of Sciences, as a more controllable possible replacement for the High Technology Park.
Security forces have detained political scientist Valeria Kostyugova and BIPART research project member Tatsiana Kuzina as searches and arrests of activists in regions across the country intensify. The leader of the United Civic Party, Mikalai Kazlou, faces criminal charges related to alleged failure to cooperate with the police, and the number of political prisoners grows to more than 530.
Elsewhere, the number of telegram channels classified as extremist is increasing, and the Belarusian authorities demand that the Goethe Institute cease operations in Minsk by the end of July.
In an attempt to consolidate support from its political base, the regime is resorting to progressively more histrionic ideological rhetoric, most recently with allegations of yet another conspiratorial terrorist plot, this time involving arms from Ukraine. Meanwhile, state media stoke tension and sow disunity with relentless efforts to discredit Alexander Lukashenka's opponents.
For the first time in many years, there was no Independence Day military parade in Minsk on July 3. It seems Lukashenka lacks sufficient confidence in the loyalty of the security forces to risk a mass mobilisation of his "supporters" in this manner.
The crisis in the IT sector continues to worsen as more companies and employees prepare to relocate in response to the increasing hostility of comments and allegations levelled at them by representatives of the Belarusian leadership. The authorities are apparently planning to restrict the autonomy of the Hi-Tech Park and possibly revoke previously agreed concessions and guarantees.
The authorities continue to shore up finances by raiding private businesses. For currently unclear reasons, the management of the cosmetics firm "Modum" have been detained, and company operations suspended, making this the second firm which cooperated with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the manufacture of coronavirus hand steriliser gels to be raided.
Thus, the Belarusian leadership will continue to escalate confrontational rhetoric to consolidate its supporters.