June 3 – June 9, 2024
Society and political parties

Personnel shortage of democratic forces

The situation got worse
Personnel shortage of democratic forces

The results of the elections to the Coordination Council have solidified the structure of democratic forces with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s leadership. Despite high competition in the elections, opponents of the Lukashenka regime face a shortage of skilled personnel and a decline in activism due to the authoritarian response.

Despite winning the elections to the Coordination Council (CC), Pavel Latushko’s coalition did not obtain an absolute majority of votes or, consequently, delegates in the new assembly of this political body. It is unlikely that the politician will be able to consolidate a predominant majority of CC members to challenge Tsikhanouskaya’s leadership.

Moreover, surveys by independent sociologists have confirmed the stability of Tsikhanouskaya’s position. She remains the most recognizable leader with the highest level of trust among the pro-democratic core. In the context of authoritarian reaction, the president-elect of 2020 remains a key element of the democratic forces’ architecture, and her activities meet expectations.

Additionally, high ratings for Tsikhanouskaya’s advisor, Franak Viacorka (3rd in the ranking), indicate the potential for developing his own political project. This could occur if Tsikhanouskaya steps down from activity or if there is a crisis in her legitimacy. However, distancing from Tsikhanouskaya is unlikely to happen soon. For now, cooperation with the leader of democratic Belarus brings more rating benefits than losses.

The depoliticization of Belarusian society and the lack of social mobility do not foster the emergence of new leaders. The most active and popular opponents of the regime risk being added to the lists of extremists and terrorists. This opens up prospects for them to end up in prison (if residing in Belarus) or to lose property in Belarus (if residing abroad). Even the most moderate critics of Lukashenka are either in prison (like the leader of the dissolved “Greens” party Dmitry Kuchuk) or forced to wait for better times after release (like former presidential candidate Andrey Dmitriev).

Meanwhile, promising democratic projects, such as the “New Belarus” passport, face a shortage of candidates for high positions. This lack of candidates is explained by potential persecution by the regime.

Nevertheless, democratic forces continue to successfully develop relations with the USA within the framework of strategic dialogue. The US Congress has published a draft of the updated Belarus Democracy Act. Tsikhanouskaya’s coalition maintains influence on the Belarusian-European agenda. The document expresses support for the Coordination Council and the United Transitional Cabinet. Official Washington considers them legitimate institutions for negotiating a peaceful transfer of power.

Thus, the personnel problem may affect the deterioration of the quality of communications of the democratic forces both with Western capitals and with the audience inside Belarus.

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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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