What is happening to Belarusian authoritarianism? Shmatsina's article in The Guardian
From the residential area of Minsk where I’m writing, I can hear the incessant honking of car horns. The sound marks the expression of popular protest in the Belarusian capital against Alexander Lukashenko, and his desire to stay in power and add one more presidential term to his already 26-year rule.
On Sunday, when the preliminary results announced by the central electoral commission indicated an “elegant victory” for Lukashenko, with nearly 80% of support, people took to the streets to defend the votes they cast for the opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who officially got only around 10%.
While the official figures indicate a clear victory for Lukashenko, independent exit polls showed strikingly different results: with almost 80% for Tikhanovskaya and less than 10% for the incumbent. The discrepancy in the vote count – coupled with the way independent observers were prevented from staying at polling stations – boiled over in an unprecedented way.