Belarusian Opposition Now Includes Pro-Moscow As Well As Pro-West Factions – OpEd

The political landscape in Belarus is rapidly changing, a Minsk commentator says. Until recently, it was entirely correct to view it simply as a contest between “Russia and Lukashenka,” on the one hand, and “the West and the opposition,” on the other. But now, Ales Kirkevich says, the ranks of the opposition are far less “monolithic.”

That reflects the increasing tensions between Minsk and Moscow and Russia’s support of pro-Moscow groups within Belarus as a way of promoting its interests. But makes analyzing the Belarusian opposition much more complicated (novychas.by/hramadstva/top-7-apazicyjanerau-jakija-stali-pryhilnikami-r; in Russian at belaruspartisan.org/politic/368476/).

“After the hysteria of Russian media about events in Ukraine,” Kirkevich writes in “Novy chas,” “one ever more often heard from ordinary people” that Belarus is a mess, “its president is bad,” but that “Putin is something else … Apparently, mass dissatisfaction can find another escape route for the release of negative energy and the search for a solution of problems.”

The commentator offers a brief discussion of seven leaders of such pro-Russian opponents of Lukashenka not with any pretense that it is complete or that it should serve as a list of those to be shot but rather because their roles, small now but apparently growing, may disorder the opposition even if they promote the end of the Lukashenka regime.

As such, the seven are people to be watched. And their names are: Vyacheslav Dianov, Artem Agafonov, Yevgeny Konstantinov, Aleksandr Shpakovsky, Sergey Trofimov, Dmitry Uss, and Igor Drako.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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