The inauguration was done remotely, on Zoom, and without credentials. On Thursday, December 10, the Belarusian opposition held an online conference during which it inaugurated a dozen “people’s embassies”, alternative representations supposed to duplicate the diplomatic network of the Belarusian regime, deemed illegitimate by the opposition.
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Initiative of the organization “Belarusians abroad”, which brings together members of the diaspora, the idea of opening these embassies received the support of Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa, leader of the opposition and unsuccessful candidate for the presidential election. . This poll marred by fraud ended in August 2020 with the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, and the start of a protest movement unprecedented in the history of the country. Chased by the regime, the representatives of the opposition were forced into exile.
A severely repressed movement
« It is very symbolic that today, on World Human Rights Day, people’s embassies are opening all over the world.said Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Belarus must not leave the international agenda. By fighting against a power that violates human rights, we show the world the importance of human and civic positions. “
The repression which has been exercised on the Belarusian opposition movement for four months now has matched the demonstrations, which have sometimes brought together more than 100,000 people in Minsk. In a capital locked by the police, the demonstrators no longer manage to form the large processions which marked the spirits at the start of the mobilization, and fell back on the outskirts of the city. Many student and worker leaders have been excluded, dismissed or arrested.
Find new perspectives
At the end of October, the call for a general strike launched by Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was unsuccessful. This setback came to remind the opponent of the limits imposed by the spontaneous, decentralized, and self-organized nature of this protest. A movement that sees in her less a leader than a living symbol of her struggle.
Although still popular, this current is losing visibility. For the opposition in exile, the challenge now is to give new perspectives to the protesters. “The call to strike did not achieve its objective because it encountered the terror of the government, declares to The cross Franak Viačorka, adviser to the opponent on international issues. We want to maintain economic pressure on the regime, but no longer exerting it from inside the country, but from outside, which is why we are calling for the implementation of sanctions. The goal is to fracture the cohesion of the power elite, and to push them to consider alternatives to Lukashenko. “
More recently, the opposition submitted to Belarusians an online vote to ask them if they would approve of the opposition asking for the exclusion of banking institutions deemed close to the Swift financial network regime, which allows international bank transfers. A majority of voters agreed. “It would be a measure even more radical than the sanctions, which is why it would only concern two banks, and that we would only ask for it if the terror continues after the other means have been exhausted”, explique Franak Viačorka.
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It remains to be seen whether the opposition will be able to convince international organizations and foreign governments of the desirability of these measures. Inaugurated in a dozen countries including France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Sweden and Ukraine, these “people’s embassies” are designed in part as the instruments of this lobbying.