Belarus election farce shows the age of dictatorship is not dead – Angus Robertson
Despite growing support for opposition candidates the Lukashenko regime is claiming victory with a preposterously inflated 80 per cent of the vote.
In scenes reminiscent of the last days of Romanian communist dictator Nicola Ceauscescu, security forces have been ordered onto the streets of the capital Minsk and other cities to crush the protests.
Even pro-Kremlin Russian media are critically reporting developments in neighbouring Belarus. In their coverage of the elections and the ensuing unrest the Moscow newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda reported that “The queues outside polling stations stretched for kilometres. These weren’t people desperate to vote for the authorities. Queueing up here were people hoping for change in Belarus, for an end to meagre salaries and [for] everything that’s unknown but new…The president of Belarus, guarding his ‘80 per cent’ with bayonets, will face difficulties. He has to find a way to explain what happened on the 9th of August.”
Belarus may be a country about which most of us know little, but its ten million people deserve better and the international community must act.
The Vienna-based Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe would normally be in the lead to stand up for human rights and democracy, but is sadly paralysed by internal diplomatic disputes.
It is time for the OSCE and the international community to act decisively on Belarus.