November 27 – December 3, 2023
Society and political parties

Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment is gaining attention, and elections for the Coordination Council are facing serious challenges

The situation has not changed
Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment is gaining attention, and elections for the Coordination Council are facing serious challenges

The Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment is expanding its influence within the democratic movement, attempting to unite representatives of democratic organizations under the common platform “Path to Freedom.” A broad coalition led by Tsikhanouskaya is urging supporters of change to abstain from participating in social and political activities including the regime’s “elections”. Meanwhile, loyalists of the regime are trying to disrupt the campaign for the elections of new members of the Coordination Council and discourage activists through repression.

About 150 representatives from various political organizations participated in the extensive Kyiv conference, “The Way to Freedom.” The organizers successfully brought together representatives from the broad coalition led by Tsikhanouskaya (Office, United Transitional Cabinet, Coordination Council) and its critics, such as the “Free Belarus” initiative led by Zianon Pazniak.

The Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment aims to take the lead in consolidating National Democrats and plans to launch the consultation site “The Way to Freedom” for collaborative efforts.

The broad coalition of democrats is actively campaigning to dissuade people from participating in elections for the new parliament and local councils. Tsikhanouskaya presented five ways for Belarusians to respond to the single day of voting, none of which involve mobilizing supporters for change, including no mention of an alternative campaign for electing a new member of the Coordination Council.

Simultaneously, the intensification of repression against representatives of democratic organizations diminishes activists’ motivation to participate in the elections for the Coordination Council. About 200 searches were conducted in Belarus in connection with the “Coordination Council case.” It is likely that the broad coalition of forces will increasingly focus on the safety of activists and supporters of change, prompting organizers to abandon the large-scale campaign.

It’s worth noting that the influence of democrats on the domestic agenda is waning, partly due to the shrinking audience of independent media.

Democrats have achieved some success in the international isolation of certain Government-Organized Non-Governmental Organizations (GoNGOs) under the control of the Lukashenka regime, including limiting their foreign funding. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies suspended the membership of the Belarusian Red Cross Society (BRC) due to the refusal to remove the controversial General Secretary Shautsou. This decision followed a substantial campaign by the United Transitional Cabinet and the National Anti-Crisis Management, led by Pavel Latushka, to exert pressure on international structures due to the BRC head’s support for Russian aggression in Ukraine.

In conclusion, among supporters of change, the positions of those advocating a forceful change of power are strengthening. However, disagreements and tensions may arise in the near future due to attempts to seize leadership within the democratic movement.

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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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