A very good question. I’ve been thinking about writing a post for a while, but there is a long backstory and what is happening now is not at all clear.
Belarus just had a contested election. Alexander Lukashenka, who has been president since the breakup of the Soviet Union and an official before that, was seriously challenged by Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Lukashenka claimed victory with 80% of the vote. Unofficial polls suggest it may have been the other way around. I’ll let Olya Oliker explain. This is the best short explanation I’ve seen.
Large demonstrations have been going on across the country since the weekend. Some of the police response has been horrendously brutal. Several people have died.
But there is also some friendly police response, with police simply walking away.
Some photos and videos:
Vladimir Putin is being cautious. He must be extremely alarmed at the prospect of losing his man in Belarus, but on the other hand, Lukashenka has defied Putin on a number of things, including refusing to allow Russian airbases in Belarus.
It’s not at all clear how this will turn out.
Cross-posted to Balloon Juice