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September 13 – September 19, 2021
The ruling elite

Unity coerced by repression as the authorities repeat the COVID-19 mistakes of spring 2020

The situation got worse
Unity coerced by repression as the authorities repeat the COVID-19 mistakes of spring 2020

The ruling class enforces a high cost for participation in the country’s socio-political life in monetary terms and restrictions on freedom. The state cannot maintain medical social guarantees at prior levels due to the fourth wave of COVID-19 and the skills shortage arising from the politically motivated dismissals of doctors. In the face of intensifying sanctions, the security forces remind entrepreneurs of the informal pact regarding non-participation in politics and shore up the budget with expropriations from businesses.

Regardless of a declared “Day of National Unity”, the repressive agenda of the authorities towards civil society and supporters of change remains. NGOs continue to be liquidated every week, and the activities of independent media inside Belarus are suppressed. Persecution of dissidents continues via the courts, criminal cases, searches, arrests, and fines.

The “Day of National Unity” is a ruse by the ruling class to consolidate its supporters and intensify the ideological indoctrination of young people. The leadership confirms prior guarantees to the security forces providing immunity for the use of excessive force, including the murder of demonstrators.

The authorities are experimenting with the reaction of the international community, Civil Society and the population by mitigating persecution of some dissidents. Lukashenka has paroled 13 political prisoners, but more than 660 remain in gaol, regularly joined by new detainees.

Despite the increase in coronavirus cases, the Ministry of Health is slow to adapt hospitals for Covid patients and largely adheres to the same approach that failed in spring 2020 by, among other things, abandoning quarantine measures and distance learning. This again causes an increase in the discontent of the population.

One of the core elements of the informal contract between the ruling class and business is that the latter abstain from independent socio-political activities, financing opposition criticism of the ruling regime.

Security forces continue to shore up the state budget with expropriations and seizures from entrepreneurs. Last week the security forces raided the premises of the ViM Union customs and logistics services group.

The ruling elite demonstrate their determination to retain unfettered control over state policy without reference to the opposition or the citizenry. This serves to progressively demotivate supporters of change.

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