Belarus opposition gets long prison sentences: Draconian leadership of Lukashenko
Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Belarus remains firmly under the grip of the draconian leadership of Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka). Hence, the announcement of heavy prison sentences against leading opposition forces was expected.
America, the Russian Federation, and the European Union are miles apart. This in turn is utilized by Lukashenko. However, events in Belarus aren’t serving the interests of any outside nation. Instead, individuals who seek democracy have little hope of international pressure because of the geopolitical dimensions of Belarus.
The most potent opposition leader, Sergey Tikhanovsky, was jailed for 18 years. Other leading figures have also been given heavy prison terms. Therefore, Lukashenko is continuing to crush internal discontent.
TASS News reports, “His associates, Artyom Sakov and Dmitry Popov, were sentenced to 16 years in jail, while opposition activist Nikolay Statkevich to 14 years. Defendants Igor Losik and Vladimir Tsyganovich were given 15 years in prison.”
The BBC reports, “A popular YouTube blogger, Tikhanovsky, 43, was convicted of organizing mass unrest, inciting hatred and other charges following a months-long trial behind closed doors.”
In recent weeks, concerns over migrants entering the European Union via Belarus have hit the headlines. However, just like the internal political clampdown in 2020, Lukashenko seems determined to enact draconian ways in order to preserve power.
Grigory Ioffe, The Jamestown Foundation, said, “The political crisis in Belarus is far from over. Its internationalization along the lines of a geopolitical tug-of-war between Russia and the West began well before the current showdown over Middle Eastern migrants. Stuck at the Polish border (see EDM, November 11), the masses of people apparently being compelled westward by the Belarusian authorities have placed Belarus at the center of global attention, just like the harsh government crackdown on post-election protests did in August–September 2020. It is, however, safe to say that the “balance sheet” of this tug-of-war does not tilt in the West’s favor, at least at the present time.”
The BBC reports, “Mr. Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994 but his re-election as president last year was deemed illegitimate and not recognized by Western countries.”
It appears that Lukashenko is strengthening his already tight control over society. Hence, his power concentration policies are ruled by fear and allowing the legal system to rubber-stamp his leadership by imprisoning all opposition forces.
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