a Belarusian Central election Commission (CEC) has finished accepting applications for registration of initiative groups to nominate candidates for the presidency of the Republic. This line has overcome and the two main, as is commonly believed, a potential rival to the incumbent ex — Ambassador of Belarus in the United States Valery Tsepkalo and the former head of Belgazprombank Viktor Babariko. Immigrants from the Belarusian state system, they are considered serious competitors to Alexander Lukashenko. But it is not clear yet what is behind their sudden appearance on the political arena.

The period of registration of initiative groups for nomination of candidates in presidents of Belarus was originally supposed to end on may 15. Tsepkalo and Babariko managed to submit their documents at the last moment, and the CEC unexpectedly for a few days postponed the consideration of their applications. All this has once again stepped up speculation that both candidates for the presidency — only “shell duck” and “whipping boys”, whose participation in the electoral process organized by the Belarusian elite to simulate democratic elections. The expert community does not exclude that the nomination Tsepkalo and Babariko could be initiated by the Kremlin to exert pressure on Lukashenko on the background of complications in Russian-Belarusian relations.

As noted in conversation with Belarusian political analyst Artem Agafonov, while both of the candidate — “dark horse”. Tsepkalo, loudly announcing himself, he hadn’t been able to get a good pace at the start. As a result of his initiative group has less than 600 people gathered in excess of admissible period of time. As the experience of previous campaigns very little in order to gain the necessary 100 thousand signatures for the subsequent nomination of a candidate, the expert reminds.

the Current campaign from an organizational point of view would be significantly different from the previous one — in the first place so that it will pass in conditions of a pandemic, which will further complicate the work of the action teams. In this regard, the chances that Tsepkalo will be included in the final list of candidates is extremely small, the analyst believes.

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

Now the main part of the experts switched to a discussion of Babariko, who this week managed to collect in their group not by much fewer people than Lukashenko, ruling 26 years old and have at their disposal the administrative resource. He is a man of ambiguous. On the one hand, Babariko making clear overtures to the nationalists and Pro-Western opposition, and his son and the head of the electoral headquarters of Edward and all heads popular among nationalists and liberals crowdfunding platformshave that helps them raise money for their projects. On the other, he is pragmatic and understands the integration within the Union state and, as competent economist recognizes that there is no alternative.

As for the Kremlin, then there is, of course, do not mind to see the head of Belarus more predictable and coherent policy than Lukashenko. Not necessarily it has to be a staunch supporter of the “Russian world”. It can even be a liberal, but a pragmatist who understands the real interests and Outlook of the state, and not radical, for decades accustom to the Western trough.

Under such criteria, Babariko suitable, he said, but to make Moscow a bet on it as a successor to Lukashenka is still an open question. Now the Belarusian leader seems invincible, but the situation in the Republic is tense, and many factors, including the epidemic of the coronavirus, but can’t play in his favor.

The initiative groups collecting signatures in support of candidates begins may 21 and will continue through 19 June. After that the CEC will check the documents, and from 5 to 14 July needs to be registered for those candidates. who have fulfilled appropriate requirements.