Political situation: the most notable trends in 2014
In 2014, the most notable trends in 2014 in Belarusian politics were:
- Electoral support for President Lukashenko rose amid a fall in real incomes and a high level of demand for change within Belarusian society persisted;
- Belarusian society were deeply divided over the events in Ukraine and attitudes among supporters and opponents of the incumbent president were polarised;
- The government paid more attention to public safety, for example, by strengthening the roles of law enforcement agencies and intelligence services in public administration;
- The authorities tentatively distanced themselves from the “Russian World” and initiated nation-building, inter alia, by incorporating some values of their opponents in the state paradigm;
- Minsk grew in importance through its attempts to ensure regional security and to preserve a balanced position in the Russo-Ukrainian confrontation;
- Contacts with Western capitals were more frequent as Belarus sought to normalise relations on her own terms;
- Belarus became more engaged in Eurasian integration and more dependent on the Kremlin.
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.