“In Moscow, during the discussion of the Constitution and a little bit earlier, the authorities suddenly began to convince people that they are subjects having the right to express their opinion and to make suggestions. Almost the same situation occurred in Minsk, when Alexander Lukashenko allowed the opposition to organize some events.”
The protest actions in Russia's Far Eastern Khabarovsk territory and Belarus look similar because they have the same demand for free elections, says political analyst Ivan Preobrazhensky.
“Since the regimes have a lot in common, protest activities in Russia and Belarus are similar as well,” said Preobrazhensky. “Obviously, Khabarovsk and Belarus have the same quest for free elections. There were no free elections either in Khabarovsk or Belarus. By the example of the Khabarovsk region, one can see that they have been over almost at all levels in Russia. There are only municipal elections that the government is currently trying to “clean up.”
According to the analyst, the authorities have made the same mistake both in Moscow and Minsk.
“Putin and Lukashenko have made the same mistake,” said Preobrazhensky. “In Moscow, during the discussion of the Constitution and a little bit earlier, the authorities suddenly began to convince people that they are subjects having the right to express their opinion and to make suggestions. And some Russians understood it literally. Almost the same situation occurred in Minsk, when Alexander Lukashenko allowed some opposition events to happen. He released some oppositionists in order to demonstrate his independence to Moscow, as well as the fact that he had to take into account people’s opinion in Belarus. And suddenly, these people believed that their opinion had to be taken into consideration by the authorities, and tried to influence the government.”
At the same time, Preobrazhensky admits that due to the growth of protest moods against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kremlin “will have other things to worry about apart from Belarus” in the immediate future. So, it is more likely to focus on domestic concerns.