Democratic forces achieve success in the USA, Poland, and Lithuania, but the influence of civil society within Belarus continues to wane
Democrats continue to strengthen their influence on western (Washington, Warsaw, Vilnius) relations with Minsk and support civil society. The protest movement in Belarus continues to weaken, but individual underground actions in the regions continue despite pervasive repression.
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya addressed the US Congress, promoting isolation of the Lukashenka regime, the formation of an international tribunal, promoting a European destiny, and cancelling integration projects with Russia. Work on a new law on democracy, sovereignty and human rights in Belarus has begun in Congress, and Washington will appoint a special envoy to work with Belarusian democratic forces.
US President Joe Biden praised the speeches of and Natallia Pinchuk, the wife of Nobel laureate Ales Bialiatski, at the Summit for Democracy held in Washington.
After discussions with the Belarusian diaspora and Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the Polish government agreed to issue foreign travel document to Belarusians free of charge.
Civil society organisations and democrats are attempting to mitigate restrictive measures imposed by Lithuania against Belarusian citizens. The draft law on restrictions on Belarusians and Russians was amended in the Lithuanian Seimas. The Joint Cabinet continues consultations with the Lithuanian government on issuing residence permits to Belarusians.
Tsikhanouskaya’s cabinet is endeavouring to widen divisions in the Belarusian regime, particularly among the military, and strengthen the Belarusian anti-war movement in the wake of the announcement of Kremlin plans to deploy nuclear weapons to Belarusian territory.
Protest movement activists in the regions continue to engage in partisan resistance actions, despite large-scale arrests and searches.
It should be noted that, pro-Russian sentiments may increase among ordinary Belarusians due to their gradual isolation, restrictive measures on the Belarus’ western borders, the reduction of the influence of independent media, and the expansion of the influence of Kremlin media with synchronisation of state ideologues.
Despite criminalization of public activism, residents continue to initiate petitions and protest campaigns in response to unpopular measures by local authorities. The apartments of the activists collecting signatures to object to the extension of the Kamunarka factory in Minsk, were searched.
The influence of democrats on the Belarusian domestic agenda will continue to decrease along with the narrowing of their audience.
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Situation in Belarus