on 9 August in Belarus, despite the pandemic coronavirus, presidential elections. Lukashenko has demonstrated that he is not the devil’s brother when he held a Victory parade on may 9. All are confident that he will retain power, but is it really? Is there not among the candidates who will be able to challenge the undisputed leader of Belarus? We spoke with political analyst, senior researcher of the Department for Belarus of the Institute of CIS countries Yuri Baranchik.

whether in these elections, Lukashenka has serious opponents?

In my opinion, Yes. Is Victor Babariko, former Chairman of the Board of Belgazprombank. Quite a serious figure. Has authority among Belarusian financiers, Industrialists, entrepreneurs.

Valery Tsepkalo, a graduate of MGIMO, the former first Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs of Belarus and head of the election headquarters of Lukashenka in 1994. He was Lukashenka’s aide, then Director of the Park of high technologies. He also has some potential.

Why do you think that this is a serious figure? They can support people?

– In Belarus is serious enough economic crisis. If Minsk manages to maintain wages at an average of $ 500 in the regions, especially in the Eastern regions – Mogilev, Vitebsk, Gomel – we are talking about approximately two hundred dollars. Thus, during kindergarten you have to pay $ 100. People in life nothing remains.

– $ 200 – about 14 thousand Russian rubles. You are unlikely to surprise such salaries Russian province. Because we have, as you know, people with a salary of 17 thousand refers to the “middle class”, says our President…

it’s difficult for Me to judge, I know the wages in Moscow. Besides, it is necessary to compare the level of wages and the price level. In Belarus rather difficult economic situation. Plus all superimposed on the epidemic of the coronavirus. The Belarusian authorities have taken no measures to combat the epidemic. As a result, today Belarus is among the top five countries of Europe, where the highest number of confirmed cases of infection COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

Belarus has chosen “the Swedish model”…

Yeah, and Sweden is also among the leaders. Thought that will develop mass immunity, but this did not happen. Planned that, if nothing is done, the immune system will be 60-70% of the population, it is actually develop in about 7%. Causing issues a very large number of cases of infection with coronavirus in a supposedly low mortality. We can assume that in fact the cause of death is written not what really is. In reality, the situation is deplorable. People saw that the state is not going on nthem to take care of. It has become a very potent background for antilukashenkovskogo vote.

– These two “serious candidate” – because they are not public figures, and little known to the voters?

They held. But, judging by pre-election campaigning, they enjoyed great support of the population. The surveys conducted on different Internet sites, show that Babariko can even win in the first round. And for Lukashenko ready to vote only 6%. The signature was marrying him under duress and threats of dismissal.

Babariko can win in the first round?!

– If there is an honest vote count, then Yes.

who conducted the poll?

– Many sites nuzzled surveys. There is a great website Onliner with high attendance, the survey was conducted on it.

– These candidates are somehow connected with Russia?

Hard to tell. Rather, it is the game part of the Belarusian nomenclature. Today it became known that the signature for Babariko put the former Prime Minister of the Belarusian government Andrei Kobyakov. If the Belarusian nomenclature are grouped, it would be a sign to the population that Babariko is a good candidate.

– That is, the emphasis is on him?

– I think that’s a more serious figure than the same Tsepkalo, whom I know personally. He is a good Manager, but I think he lacks experience.

do You think that in Belarus the possible split of the elites?

– It’s been happening for a long time, since 2005-2007. In Lukashenka’s inner circle has always had two groups. One Pro-Western, the other Eastern. The Pro-Western group has won for a long time. Started and for many years he conducted the course “oil in exchange for kisses”. Russia gave resources, and in return received nothing besides rhetoric.

– is it Possible that Lukashenko loses the election?

– If you continue the old system of counting votes, then of course he will win the elections. The question is how this victory will be legitimate. This may be a “Pyrrhic victory”. The victory of another candidate is possible, if the item on the ground, which controls the counting of votes, decides to no longer participate in this farce.

– If people actually vote for another candidate, but Lukashenka will announce his victory, it is possible in Belarus, “cornflower” or a revolution?

– I think color revolution – this is a bad scenario. Because it reduces the level of political culture in the state. In Ukraine, every such revolution only weakened the state, and every new head of state was weaker than the previous one.