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November 16 – November 22, 2020
Society and political parties

Civil society shapes international agenda in respect of Belarus and restores crowdfunding infrastructure

The situation has not changed
Civil society shapes international agenda in respect of Belarus and restores crowdfunding infrastructure

By Zmicier Kuchlej

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya succeeds in promoting sanctions against the regime and proposes to start international legal action against those responsible for crimes against Belarusians. The Coordination Council has strengthened its political weight internationally. Crowdfunding platforms build infrastructure to support grassroots initiatives in Belarus and local community projects.

Solidarity and mutual support remain unabated, whilst civil society mobilizes support for affected groups. Last week, when the “Novaya Borovaya” residential area was left without tap water for three days, people from other districts of Minsk were bringing water for embattled residents.

The Coordination Council has been recognized as a legitimate body by the United States. Last week, the US Congress approved the Belarus Democracy Act and, among other things, recognized the Coordination Council as a legitimate institution for organizing a dialogue on the peaceful transfer of power in Belarus.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya continued to advocate for sanctions against the regime. She is appealing to start an international legal action against the Belarusian security forces and officials responsible for repression. Last week, Tsikhanouskaya announced the beginning of proceedings to recognized OMON and GUBOPiK as terrorist organizations. Apparently, this news has heightened tension within the power bloc and increased dissent among public officials, which Lukashenka addressed with staff reshuffles.

On the international arena, civil society is advocating for the relocation of the 2021 World Ice Hockey Championships from Belarus, and for additional EU sanctions against the regime, including the redirection of financial flows from the government to the civil society.

Civil society has restored the crowdfunding infrastructure, destroyed by the state, aimed at supporting victims of repression. Additionally, BYSOL’s crowdfunding platform has launched an initiative to fund grass-roots initiatives at a community level, expanding its activities. BYSOL campaign has raised EUR 743k in just three weeks to support the strikers, of which EUR 368k has already been paid.

In the face of tough repression by the power bloc, registered political organizations experience greater difficulties in organizing any activity as compared to decentralized community initiatives.

As the state mounts repression, the political emigration and former presidential candidate Tsikhanouskaya are likely to bolster the ultimatum and sanctions rhetoric.

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