Attack on the reputation of President Lukashenko
Russo-Belarusian relations remain turbulent. Both parties are interested in mutual concessions and use different tools to put pressure on each other.
On July 25th Russian Olympic Committee Head Alexander Zhukov outraged in his Tweeter the denial of accreditation for the XXX Olympic Games in London for President Lukashenko. Later this information was confirmed by the British Embassy in Minsk.
The obvious implication of the ‘outrage’ by the Russian Olympic Committee Chairman was to draw attention to the EU visa sanctions against Belarusian leadership. Rapid reaction from the British Foreign Office and silence of the Belarusian government implies that it could be a planned action in order to exert pressure on Minsk.
In turn, the Belarusian authorities were not interested in attracting additional attention to the status of President Lukashenko as persona non-grata. Earlier, the Belarusian President attempted to accredit for the Olympic Games however was denied via informal channels. Therefore, on July 12th, during the opening of the ‘Slavic Bazar’ music festival in Vitebsk Lukashenko regretfully called the Olympic Games a politicized event.
Therefore, it is likely that the Twitter intercession by Mr. Zhukov meant to put additional pressure on the Belarusian authorities, which hold complicated negotiations with Russia on a number of issues, the main and the most controversial of which is the privatization of Belarusian enterprises.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.