April 1 – April 7, 2024
Society and political parties

The Coordination Council: A Toxic Asset or a Key Element of the Democratic Forces’ Architecture?

The situation has not changed
The Coordination Council: A Toxic Asset or a Key Element of the Democratic Forces’ Architecture?

The Coordination Council (CC) has transformed into one of the most controversial projects of the democratic forces. It serves as an important platform for aligning the interests of various civil society players and is part of the architecture of the democratic movement led by Tsikhanouskaya. The CC balances the ambitions of different political entities striving to monopolize representative positions and, accordingly, resources. On the other hand, the CC has significant negative ratings with a trail of scandals, disappointments, and resonant accusations against its members.

The Coordination Council seeks to integrate a wide range of actors from the democratic movement into its activities. However, certain leaders from the opposition environment are hardly interested in participating in this institution. Isolation from the CC allows attracting critics of the Tsikhanouskaya coalition and developing personal political projects.

Personalized political projects remain more popular among Belarusians than attempts to create joint platforms. This is due to both the absence of a prolonged experience of parliamentarism in civil society and a general decline in interest in socio-political activities during the authoritarian reaction.

The CC emerged during a period of high political mobilization of society in a situation of leadership vacuum. After the 2020 presidential race, Tsikhanouskaya was in forced emigration and did not manage to claim political leadership. At this time, the main players of the democratic movement within the country consolidated efforts to strengthen positions, engage a wide range of Belarusians, and create a unified entity for negotiations with the regime. This was facilitated by the positive expectations in society of a rapid democratic transition. Gradually, the role of the CC in the movement transformed as a result of several waves of repression, as well as the strengthening of Tsikhanouskaya’s leadership.

In 2024, the democratic movement is dominated by ultimatum rhetoric and disintegration processes against the background of a prolonged authoritarian reaction, narrowing audience, and decreasing resources.

Thus, the CC remains an important tool for aligning interests within the democratic movement, as well as for building effective communication with foreign partners and promoting the interests of civil society.

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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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