Political organizations engage new supporters through social media; civil society has resumed a debate about a dialogue with the authorities
By Zmicier Kuchlej
Political parties and leaders have revised their strategies and now focus on social media to promote their agenda amidst unpopular decisions of the authorities to address the COVID-19 spread. Analysts have initiated a discussion on reducing the polarization in Belarusian society and promoting dialogue among the opposition, civil society, and the authorities.
Tell The Truth and center-rightists further promote alternative strategies to address the coronavirus spread in Belarus meant to accommodate those discontent with the unpopular decisions of the authorities. Additionally, they have reached out to new and increased their audiences thanks to online petitions, for instance, a petition to abandon the Victory Day parade on May 9th in Minsk. They appear to be gaining in popularity among those discontent with the measures taken by the authorities to counter the COVID-19 epidemic.
Since media outlets primarily focus on covering coronavirus-related issues, public interest in the nomination of alternative candidates for the upcoming presidential elections has further subsided. About 1500 people have participated in the online voting. Two runners up in the primaries have taken a shape, that is, Kazlou from the UCP, immediately followed by Yuri Hubarevich from For Freedom. In addition to the candidates participating in the primaries, the following politicians have voiced their presidential ambitions, Siarhei Charechyn from the BCD, former MP Kanapatskaya, Aleh Haidukevich from the LDP and, presumably, Dzmitryeu from Tell The Truth.
The #BYCOVID-19 civic initiative focusing on medical supplies has received requests from 800 healthcare facilities from across the country, raised more than USD 135,000, and delivered more than 50,000 respirators. Last week, the Health Ministry reported about 400 doctors being infected with the coronavirus, announced high premiums for doctors and banned them from communicating with the media about appeals to civic initiatives for assistance. According to the Health Ministry, doctors hold out.
Belgazprombank Chairperson Babaryka gained in media popularity last week for mild criticism of the authorities in independent media. He is appealing to those who are tired of the long-lasting rule of the incumbent president, including among businesses and managers.
The expert community has initiated a discussion about the need to consolidate society in the face of an increasing threat to Belarusian sovereignty amidst the crippling economic crisis and falling confidence in public institutions.
In turn, youth activists and bloggers have launched a public campaign in support of Belarus’ independence, promoting national and cultural values and uniting supporters of national democrats, entitled “Hodna” [Worth it].