September 7 – September 13, 2020
Society and political parties

Coordination Council is likely to evolve into a nation-wide movement, some political parties aim to create a joint platform

The situation has not changed
Coordination Council is likely to evolve into a nation-wide movement, some political parties aim to create a joint platform

By Zmicier Kuchlej

The Coordination Council, which was created to overcome the political crisis, is gradually transforming into a social movement, but its positions as the only negotiating platform between society and the authorities, are weakening due to repression. If the national dialogue on constitutional reform takes place in Belarus, only registered parties are likely to be allowed to participate. Civil society continued to develop its crowdfunding infrastructure and solidarity aid, regardless of purges by security forces.

The Coordination Council (the KS) aspires to strengthen its position as the only negotiating centre for dialogue between civil society and the authorities on the transit of power and has used “letters of trust” from civil society organizations, initiatives, labour collectives and ordinary citizens to justify its powers. The authorities are extensively using repression to weaken and undermine the Council’s influence on talks about the transit of power, but they failed to paralyze its activity. Despite the defeat of the KS praesidium, KS members continue their work and have launched a solidarity campaign “I/We are KS” and the transformation of KS into a national movement.

Some oppositional and pro-governmental political parties have become active in promoting national agenda. They aim to start a dialogue with the authorities to discuss new Constitution, political and electoral reforms. Ten of fifteen registered political parties signed a joint resolution condemning police violence and demanding new elections, avoiding harsh rhetoric about Lukashenka’s legitimacy.

Former presidential candidate Kanapatskaya has announced plans to create a political party and a public association. Having arrested key leaders, the authorities have significantly weakened the influence of Babaryka’s electoral HQs on the national agenda. That said, the latter also aimed to establish as a political party entitled “Together”.

Numerous funds offering financial and other aid to the victims of the authorities further have a significant impact on the national agenda, facilitate the attrition of public servants and security officials and prop up the protest movement. The authorities are unable to destroy the funding infrastructure in support for the repressed and compensations are being repaid regularly. The authorities have made several failed attempts to discredit fund’s activists, including oversight at the Imena platform, which was involved in supporting social projects.

Students continue to walk out of the state youth organization, the Belarusian Republican Youth Union, and workers – from the governmental Trade Union.

The arrest and charges against PandaDoc managers for the alleged involvement of this IT company in illegal activity have caused the opposite effect, increasing support (information, financial, etc.) from IT companies to the protest movement. Due to their high-mobility, IT companies can minimize costs for engaging in political activity.

Overall, several alignments are emerging inside Belarus, each aspiring to represent society in the negotiations with the authorities.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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