Legislative elections in Belarus: “all this is just a show that they present as an election”

This Sunday, February 25, authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko is organizing legislative elections in Belarus, without any real opposition or any international control over the holding of the vote.

In recent weeks, hundreds of relatives of political prisoners have been arrested or searched.

These elections are only a “


” for Pavel Slunkin, associate researcher at the European Council for International Relations and former Belarusian diplomat. 

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in St. Petersburg, January 28, 2024. © SPUTNIK via REUTERS

By: Julien Chavanne Follow


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: How would you describe Sunday's elections in Belarus


Pavel Slunkin


I wouldn't call it elections.

This has nothing to do with democratic elections.

It's simply impossible.

Opposition candidates have not been able to register, even to participate in the campaign, because they are in prison or in exile.

Those who wanted to monitor these so-called elections were arrested.

Only pro-regime candidates are allowed to run.

And the results of this campaign are already known by those who prepared the lists of future members of Parliament.

It's all just a show, a performance, which they present as an election.

Can the opposition in exile influence the vote


They called for no participation in these so-called elections.

The opposition considers that these are not elections and that this will not change anything.

Given the level of repression,

the opposition in exile is content

to encourage the population not to participate without calling for demonstrations, because it is too risky.

At the same time, the Belarusian pro-democracy movement no longer really has any political effect.

They have been in exile for four years and the government in Minsk has successfully cut all ties between them and the population.

They isolated independent media.

So this call from the opposition in exile is not really going to influence people.

Then quite often the government forces people to vote, telling them that if they don't, they will be fired from their jobs, or they will be arrested.

So, these people will be forced to vote.

The others will ignore the vote.

Are Western countries interested enough in Belarus



was widely followed during the 2020 presidential election, but not really over the last ten years.

And it is a big mistake to forget about Belarus.

It was from Belarus that Russia tried to conquer kyiv and it was from there that they attacked Ukraine.

Belarus can also be the starting point for an attack against the Baltic countries or Poland.

All this can happen from Belarusian territory.

Russia has also said it wants to install nuclear weapons in Belarus.

I think the level of attention the international community has on Belarus, knowing what is happening in the country and how strategic it is, is deeply insufficient.

Opposition representatives and I believe that the conflict in Ukraine can be resolved, not only on Ukrainian soil, but also by considering Belarus as a resource for Putin.

When we see that the population wants a regime change as we saw in the 2020 presidential election, if the West invested politically and financially in Belarus, the country could be a means of resolving the conflict.

Today it is a problem, but in the future it could be a resource for peace.

But the international community is not aware of this, unfortunately.

Also read: Ukraine: “Europe must understand that the key to victory may be found in Belarus”


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