Opposition fails to attract more participants in its events
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Belarus’ independence, the opposition organised several events in Minsk. However, unlike the celebration of the Declaration of Sovereignty of Belarus, the 25th Anniversary of Belarus’ independence was less popular among the population. Party activists and opposition supporters were scattered among different initiative in Minks and regions: the centre-right propaganda picket near Komarovsky market, the BPF rally near the Sports Palace, the unauthorized procession organised by the "Malady Front" and other regional initiatives. Many activities with a small number of participants have created the impression of a larger participation. That said, the authorities also emphasized the importance of the independence and sovereignty of Belarus in their rhetoric and almost did not interfere with the oppositional activity.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.