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Professor Ivan Katchanovski specializes in politics and conflicts of post-Soviet states. He can comment on the current protests in Belarus, in comparison to the Euromaidan in Ukraine.
“Belarus has been largely terra incognita in the West until the beginning of current events. The presidential elections in Belarus were not free and fair. Belarus is a dictatorship, and the opposition candidates were persecuted, excluded, arrested and had to flee Belarus because of political persecution. The killing of a protester during anti-government protests in Belarus in widely publicized videos means the conflict has significantly escalated.
The deadly violence by the government forces could backfire and produce significant state repression and the possible toppling of the Lukashenko regime; or produce a more violent suppression of the protests and the introduction of martial law. Anti-Lukashenko protests and strikes at major industrial plants and state TV provide another indication Lukashenko's hold on power is shaky.
Public statements by Lukashenko coupled with the recent deployment of the military forces in Minsk and other cities to guard World War Two monuments from the protesters, plus PR videos showing Lukashenko and his son with Kalashnikov assault rifles during the recent opposition rally near the presidential palace suggest he is ready to use force to stay in power. While violence has marked the current protests in Belarus, they differ significantly from the Maidan in Ukraine.” – Professor Katchanovski