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September 23 – September 29, 2019
Society and political parties

Civil society focuses on historical memory and keeps aloof from political activity and elections

The situation has not changed
Civil society focuses on historical memory and keeps aloof from political activity and elections

Last week, the primary focus of discussions among civic activists on social media was the issue of reburial of the remains of national hero Kastus Kalinouski. Human rights activists from Viasna are further engaged in the election observation, however, civic activists’ interest in the ongoing election campaign is weakening.

Last week, independent media and social media discussed the possibility of reburial of the remains of Kalinouski in Belarus. It is worth noting that there is no consensus in society about the place of reburial. Some activists advocate for Belarus’ more active role in the reburial, the Belarusian diaspora mainly insists on the reburial in Vilnius. Some civic activists advocated for the reburial of Kalinouski remains in Belarus.

In the past, civil society was more actively involved in the election process, including organizing observation and voter-mobilization campaigns. In the ongoing election campaign, civic organisations play a relatively small role. This trend is likely to retain during the presidential campaign in 2020.

The media to some extent has responded to criticism for scarce information about candidates and the elections. For instance, Nasha Niva has published an interview with political emigrant and “European Belarus” leader Sannikau. Meanwhile, TUT.BY, one of the most popular portals in Belarus, so far has been avoiding political themes and ignoring the ongoing election campaign. The portal does not even have a section about the ongoing parliamentary elections, albeit they are picking up steam.

During the election campaigns of 2019/2020 many public initiatives and pressure, groups are likely to attempt to resolve their issues and promote their agenda and in the case the authorities demonstrate responsiveness timely, they may abandon their political ambitions.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of leading Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries to the most topical and relevant issues, including on behind the scenes processes ongoing in Belarus, in Russian and English.
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