The Belarusian opposition has not lost hope that the head of the Republic Alexander Lukashenko will refuse to lead the country. After his main rival Svetlana Tikhanovski announced the creation of the coordinating Council for transfer of authorities, another ex-presidential candidate Valeriy Tsepkalo — has announced a meeting in Warsaw with some “serious politicians” of the United States. All this happens against the background of the next toughening of Lukashenko’s rhetoric, which has already announced the possibility of military assistance from Russia and gathered the first since the election of the Pro-government rally in Minsk. This situation creates risk for both the Belarusian regime and the opposition.

August 16 in Minsk at the Independence square near the House of government held a rally in support of the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko for the first time since election day, passed a week ago. Analysts have wondered why the government does not use this time-tested for unstable modes method. According to experts, this is due to the fact that the authorities corny nowhere to take human resource: even before loyal to Lukashenko part of the population against the background of harsh detentions and beatings changing its position. As part of the security forces who still live with the other citizens of Belarus.

According to the officials, the demonstration in support of the President was about 65 thousand people — the figure novosely for capital, given the protests taking place across the country. But followed the Pro-government rally, the opposition rally gathered, according to some estimates, up to 200 thousand people only in Minsk, not counting the other six subjects (regions) of the Republic. However, the authorities have not lost hope on the support of security forces — including from abroad, in particular from Russia.

When it comes to the military component, we have an agreement with the Russian Federation in the framework of the Union state and the CSTO. These points come under this agreement. So today with the President of Russia, I had a long, detailed conversation about the situation. I must say, I was even more surprised — absolutely dedicated to what’s happening, stated on 16 August Lukashenko and added that “standing in front of the Belarusians to their knees”.

In these circumstances, the Belarusian opposition is increasingly asserting itself. After the former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovski, announced the establishment of the coordinating Council for transfer of authorities, other competitor Lukashenka Valery Tsepkalo, who was “rejected” by their signatures, approved the establishment of the Committee of national salvation proposed by the head of “URALCHEM” Dmitry Mazepin.

All this poses a serious challenge to Lukashenka, especially in the conditions of toughening of the Western position, and the EU and the US have threatened Belarus with new sanctions. In addition, the projections the Belarusian leader about a possible Russian intervention seem an exaggeration: after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent sanctions, the Kremlin is behaving more cautiously.

As noted in conversation with Belarusian political analyst Artem Agafonov, the creation of foreign Belarusian opposition is to be expected. Moreover, the “government in exile”, is now being formed, fits in with the political traditions of the country.

a Artem Agafonov, Belarusian political analyst and Chairman of the movement “Civil harmony”:

the West did not recognize the elections and the victory of Lukashenko. So if he will retain power, most likely, will merge now created structures for long-term pressure on the President. And the creation of the opposition “government-in-exile” headed Tikhanovski in this case, it is likely. Such a “government” in the face of the Rada of the Belarusian people’s Republic already has more than 100 years and is perceived as a curiosity, because it consists mostly of immigrants in the second and third generations, have long lost touch with their homeland. That’s a reason to brush up on the concept and composition of the participants.

However, it is still unclear what tactics you will choose Lukashenka. On hand he would play the protracted negotiations with foreign opposition. This would reduce the intensity inside the country (including peace calls Tikhanovski) and to create a positive image for the European Union and the United States. On the other hand, the Belarusian leader is too afraid of separation from Russia, which, as shown by the events of recent days, it remains the only guarantor of security of the neighboring country, despite the contradictory position of Minsk.

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Jennifer Alvarez is an investigative journalist and is a correspondent for European Union. She is based in Zurich in Switzerland and her field of work include covering human rights violations which take place in the various countries in and outside Europe. She also reports about the political situation in European Union. She has worked with some reputed companies in Europe and is currently contributing to USA News as a freelance journalist. As someone who has a Masters’ degree in Human Rights she also delivers lectures on Intercultural Management to students of Human Rights. She is also an authority on the Arab world politics and their diversity.