Authorities probe oppositions mobilisation capacities ahead of elections
Minsk authorities have sanctioned the demonstration and opposition rally on March 25th under the slogan "Together for peace and independence!" dedicated to the Freedom Day (Dzien Voli).
The authorities have decided not to ban the traditional opposition rally, but have readjusted the timeframe – from 3 pm to 6 pm (instead of 6 pm to 9 pm) in order to create additional inconvenience for the organisers and to reduce participation. In addition, by observing the demonstration the Belarusian leadership will assess the opposition’s mobilisation capacity and evaluate the security forces’ readiness to control the situation during mass opposition actions ahead of the presidential election. Depending on participation and the course of the demonstration, the Belarusian authorities will choose more or less rigid scenario for the election campaign in 2015
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.