Solidarity campaign catalyzes Belarusian society; most civil and some political organizations declare support for Tsikhanouskaya
By Zmicier Kuchlej
Belarusian society has united as never before in response to the atrocities of security forces against demonstrators and ordinary citizens. As part of this campaign of solidarity, record sums are being raised by civil society, the diaspora, businesses, and the IT sector in defiance of oppression.
Following unprecedented violence by security forces on the streets of Belarusian cities, women initiated peaceful street actions dubbed chains of solidarity. These decentralized and spontaneous initiatives took place in many cities, variously mobilizing several dozen to hundreds of participants.
Attempts by the authorities to interdict the crowdfunding mechanisms created by civil society in support of Babaryka’s presidential aspirations proved futile and fundraising initiatives in support of the victims of recent repression are proliferating. For example, the “ByHelp” platform has already raised over USD 2.2 million for victims and ex-patriates all over the world are launching their fund-raising initiatives to consolidate aid for a free Belarus.
The Belarusian IT sector is also actively engaged in the solidarity campaign and is donating significant funds. Viktar Prakapenya, who was previously loyal to Lukashenka, donated USD 100k for the rehabilitation of the injured. Doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs are providing free assistance to victims of the authorities’ atrocities.
Media coverage, civil society, human rights activists, and political organization’s efforts aimed at their partners abroad have had a significant impact on the position of the EU and the United States with emphasis on non-recognition of the recent election results.
Workers have begun leaving official trade unions, creating opportunities for independent trade unions to strengthen their positions while spontaneous strikes at large state-owned enterprises may help to revive an independent trade union movement.
Amid the internet lockdown and the brutal actions of security forces, political organizations were disoriented for several days. However, later some political organizations and trade unions made a joint statement in support of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. This has led to civil society and some political organizations establishing a joint platform around Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya, however, this tactical solidarity may eventually fall prey to recriminations given the divergent agendas of some of the actors.