Thursday, February 25, 2021

Protests in Belarus inspire anti-Putin Russians


In front of an official building frozen in its Soviet appearance, a small crowd jumps in place and chants: “Put Lukashenko in a van!” [de police] ». This slogan, familiar during the major demonstrations of summer 2020 in Belarus after the contested re-election of Alexander Lukashenko as head of the country, has traveled some 2,000 kilometers. On January 31, he reappeared in southern Russia, in Krasnodar, in the midst of supporters of Alexei Navalny who took to the streets to protest, as in many Russian cities, against the imprisonment of the Kremlin opponent.

In Moscow, the red and white flag of Belarusian protesters was also seen, waved by two young girls who were quickly arrested. Simple signs of solidarity between demonstrators from culturally close neighboring countries? Not only. From Minsk to Moscow, the protest movements are fighting against authoritarian regimes, both marked by the wear and tear of their leaders: Alexander Lukashenko has been in power for twenty-six years in Belarus, Vladimir Poutine presides over the destinies of Russia for almost twenty-one years. And the displayed support of the Russian head of state for his Belarusian counterpart, who was to receive him again in Moscow on Monday, February 22, accentuates the mirror effect.

Read also From too much rigged election to repression: the timeline for understanding the crisis in Belarus

It is also true of repression. While refusing everything “Parallel” between the demonstrations in Belarus and Russia, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, made this comparison himself: in the two states, he declared on February 3 according to the Tass agency, “Power structures are doing their duty (…) against provocateurs and unauthorized demonstrations ”. The same images of demonstrators arrested with brutality in the two countries or appearing in the box of the accused in courts, have poured in on social networks. “What is there to compare? They are the same. And we will win ”, commented Klaramikh30 on Twitter. “It is not the protests that must be brought together, but their repression”, said another Belarusian internet user.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also In Belarus, more and more anti-Putin demonstrators

After the particularly fierce repression of the Belarusian security services, the monster demonstrations in this small country of ten million inhabitants gave way to new actions, less massive, but also scrutinized with the greatest attention in Moscow.

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