Belarusian authorities ready for dialogue with opposition to mitigate protest activity
The Belarusian authorities have demonstrated willingness to provide a platform for the opposition to communicate with the population - in the last two weeks, the Belarusian TV broadcasted three programmes with opposition leaders - Yanukevich (BPF), Kostusev (BNF), Dmitriev (Tell the Truth!) and Kalyakin (Fair World). Leaders of the pro-presidential parties also have been invited, including Gaydukevich (LDPB), Ulakhovich (former presidential candidate in 2015, BPP) and others. Most likely, the authorities are seeking to mitigate protest moods by engaging in a dialogue with the opposition and to reduce the pressure of the electorate on the authorities. In addition, the authorities seem to be considering options for strengthening political parties’ role in the country’s political life, however, without empowering them, or allowing winning seats in the elected bodies.
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.