Belarus protests: How will Putin react? | To the point
Events in Belarus: Ukrainian reaction
Politicians and analysts of Ukraine – about the processes unfolding in the neighboring country after the expiration of the term of the People’s ultimatum
Workers of Belarusian enterprises are joining the strike movement throughout the country. Belarusian Internet publications report on October 26 that after the expiry of the terms of the People’s Ultimatum, thousands of Belarusians took to the streets to support the striking workers..
The telegram channel HEXTA-live reported that on the morning of October 26, about two hundred people gathered near the checkpoint for the strike in Grodno-Azot..
“The siloviki came to the plant and began to harshly push back and detain the factory workers who did not want to leave. There were about fifty people detained, ”the message says..
The organizers of the strikes urge citizens to take to the streets and protest not only in Minsk, but also in other cities of the republic – in Brest, Grodno, Vitebsk, Mogilev, Gomel, Zhodino, Baranovichi.
“Messages about strikes come from Grodno-Azot, MTZ, MZKT, MAZ, Atlanta, Belkommunmash and other large factories. Students, builders and service workers are on strike. In many places, due to road closures, congestions have formed, ”notes HEXTA-live.
As reported by Deutsche Welle on October 20, the Telegram channel Nexta changed its name to HEXTA shortly after a court in Minsk recognized its materials and logo as extremist..
The website Charter97.org broadcasts the protest march in Minsk online and notes that thousands of protesters are chanting the word “Strike”. According to the Internet edition “Nasha Niva”, the Minsk column numbers 5,000 people.
Former presidential candidate in Belarus Svetlana Tikhanovskaya believes that the national strike announced on Monday in the republic began “very actively”, Interfax-Ukraine reports..
“Today a national strike has begun, it has started very actively,” Tikhanovskaya said in an interview on the Country for Life youtube channel..
She noted the fact of solidarity with Belarusian strikers in the world, citing as an example the launch of an action to collect money for them. “People are transferring their daily earnings to funds to help the strikers, and according to my data, they have already collected more than seven million dollars,” said Tikhanovskaya..
In her opinion, today’s strikes are “just the beginning” and they “will continue.”.
By 6:00 pm local time, the Belarusian service of Radio Liberty announced that 210 people were detained in the country. Eyewitnesses said that in Minsk, after the start of a protest near the Palace of Culture of Trade Unions, “severe detentions began, some were beaten.”.
“One of the protesters was beaten so badly by the security forces that he was lying on the ground, the riot police picked him up and dragged him onto the bus. Dozens of people were detained, ”emphasizes the Belarusian service of Radio Liberty.
Conditions of the People’s Ultimatum
According to the Charter’97 website, on October 13 Svetlana Tikhanovskaya presented the conditions of the People’s ultimatum to the Lukashenka regime.
“Two months of political crisis, violence and lawlessness have passed – and we’ve had enough. On October 25, we announce the People’s Ultimatum. The regime has 13 days to fulfill three mandatory requirements: 1. Lukashenka must announce his resignation. 2. Street violence must stop completely. 3. All political prisoners must be released, “Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said..
From October 26, in accordance with the requirements of the People’s Ultimatum, Belarus will “start a national strike of all enterprises, blocking of all roads, a collapse of sales in state stores.”.
The position of the Belarusian authorities
The actions of the protesters in the KGB of the republic are called “extremist” and they believe that they can be qualified as an act of terrorism. Head of the KGB Investigation Department Konstantin Bychek told reporters on October 26, BelTA informs..
“In recent days, cases of extremist manifestations by protest-minded persons have become more frequent in Belarus. Thus, during an unauthorized action that took place on October 25 in Minsk, radical citizens attempted to seize the building of the Central District Department of Internal Affairs, “said Konstantin Bychek.
Representatives of the Internal Affairs Directorate of the Grodno Regional Executive Committee called on citizens “to show prudence and not succumb to destructive appeals from untrustworthy sources,” BelTA informs..
Ukraine’s reaction to events in Belarus
Ukraine will join the sanctions imposed by the European Union against Belarus. This was announced on October 13 during an online briefing by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba.
“As for the sanctions that have already been introduced, we will join them. As for any new sanctions, we will act according to an agreed algorithm, that is, first the EU adopts the sanctions, and then we consider the issue of joining them, ”Dmitry Kuleba said on the air on the Facebook page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
During an official visit to Slovakia on September 24, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukraine supports the position of the partner countries and the European Union regarding events in Belarus and calls on the Belarusian authorities to find a dialogue with the people.
“If the authorities do not find an opportunity for dialogue with their relatives, this power will not exist. And here Ukraine will always support our partners, and here we are like-minded people with all European countries, ”said President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, according to his press service..
The fight continues
Chairman of the Razam (Together) solidarity movement Vyacheslav Siuchyk notes that the authorities of Alyaksandr Lukashenka directed their actions to disrupt the national strike in Belarus.
“On Sunday, regular marches took place – the security forces again used special equipment. Today there is information from different cities of Belarus about strikes at enterprises and attempts to hold them, ”Vyacheslav Siuchik told the Voice of America correspondent.
He calls the events connected with the People’s Ultimatum a large-scale Belarusian protest.
“But you need to understand how the citizens themselves are able to join. I think that the mass strikes that have begun today will be protracted and the struggle will be protracted. Citizens are ready for protests, and the authorities’ repression against them will stimulate people to continue the struggle, ”emphasizes Vyacheslav Siuchyk.
When asked about international support, he notes that for almost 27 years the West “had no strategy” towards the Lukashenka regime..
“And today we see that there are no systemic decisions on the part of the West regarding Belarus. Ukraine, for its part, is only now beginning to understand what is happening in Belarus. However, Kiev itself is in terrible conditions of the fight against the hybrid aggression of Russia, ”says Vyacheslav Siuchyk.
Ultimatum of power – for the first time
Ihor Tyshkevich, an expert on international and domestic policy programs at the Ukrainian Institute for the Future, notes that the People’s Ultimatum is the conditions that Lukashenka’s opponents first put forward to the current government..
“Lukashenka’s opponents actually announced a specific date and called for active action. But the very essence that their actions will be an all-Belarusian protest – this did not happen. There is strike activity at some factories, street activity is going on, but if we compare it with the failed protest in August after the presidential elections, the current protests are not showing much progress, “Igor Tyshkevich said in a conversation with the Voice of America Russian Service..
At the same time, Tyshkevich noted the desire of the Belarusian society to change the government. The core of the protests, according to the expert, is the Minsk middle class.
“Yes, in many ways they are active, but this is only one social group that cannot win across the country if the base of protests is not expanded. The workers need to be involved in the strike, this has not happened yet. There is no regional expansion either – protest activity covers Minsk and some cities, “Igor Tyshkevich emphasizes..
The expert emphasizes: Without expanding the protests in other cities, without involving various social groups in them, it is difficult to talk about victory.