Friday, July 1, 2011

Hold Your Applause

By Andrew Roth Russia Profile

As Low-Scale Protests Continue in Belarus, the Opposition Will Need to Harness Discontent Over the Economic Crisis to Threaten the Regime

Belarus’ latest “silent protest” was roughly quelled on Wednesday evening in Minsk as police detained more than 200 participants in the demonstrations. In Belarus, zero-tolerance, heavy-handed crackdowns on opposition demonstrations are nothing new, but the protests are growing in size and extending beyond Minsk at a pivotal moment for Belarus, when analysts are looking closely for signs that the country’s economic crisis is weaking the current regime’s grip on power. Yet in a country where dissatisfaction does not equal political activism and the opposition is viewed with some suspicion by rank-and-file Belarusians, Alexander Lukashenko should not yet be counted out.

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