Belarus. The protests against the election of President Aljaksandr Lukashenka in December 2010 had far-reaching consequences during the year as the regime tried to crush the political opposition.
Hundreds of protesters had been arrested, and at the beginning of the year, a series of prison sentences were condemned for participation in the protests. for leaders and members of the opposition movement Young Front. Three of the opposition presidential candidates in the elections were arrested and one in house arrest. The charges against them concerned organized mass uprising. One of them, Ales Michailevich, was released in March, testified about torture and managed to flee the country and seek asylum in the Czech Republic. Civil rights fighter Natalja Radina, who was detained, also fled Belarus.
According to Countryaah official site, Presidential candidates Nikolaj Statkevich, Dmitry Uss and Andrei Sannikov were sentenced in the spring to six, five and a half and five years in prison for organizing protests. Sannikov’s wife, journalist Irina Chalip, as well as poet and presidential candidate Uladzimir Njakljajeu and opposition politician Vitalij Rymasjevsky were all sentenced to two years in prison. Njakljajeu had been beaten after the arrest. Dmitry Uss was released later in the year with poor health, while Uladzimir Njakljajeu was refused travel abroad for medical care.
A number of other protesters also received prison sentences. From Brussels, all political prisoners were required to be released, and the EU decided to extend its sanctions on Belarus.
Prohibited human rights center Vjasna’s president Ales Bjaljatski was subjected to prolonged harassment before being arrested during the summer, formally accused of serious tax fraud. After an unsuccessful trial, he was sentenced to four and a half years in prison and confiscation of property at the end of the year. Vjasna’s premises.
Bjaljatski had been arrested since the Lithuanian authorities helped the Belarusian regime with bank statements from Lithuanian banks, where money collected for the regime’s victims (such as fined protesters) was used. The prosecutor claimed that the money was Bjaljatski’s personal income, for which he must pay taxes.
President Lukashenka’s regime was shaken when a major terrorist attack hit the capital Minsk in April. At the large Oktiabrska station in the metro, 15 people were killed and at least 200 were injured by a heavy explosive charge. Lukashenka wanted to hint at foreign involvement while facing accusations against the opposition. He ordered opposition politicians to be asked about who ordered the blast. Several people were arrested, one of whom was opposition activist Uladzimir Shulzhitski.
Two arrests were brought to trial on terrorism charges, and after a trial that was considered flawed, both were sentenced to death, accused of making and placing the bomb. Their acknowledgments were suspected to have been enforced. The prosecutor presented no motive other than that they both wanted to destroy the country’s social order. No technical evidence linked them to the act. They were also convicted of a bomb attack in Minsk in 2008, when many were injured. The verdict was met by extensive international criticism. Belarus is the only country in Europe that carries out the death penalty.
Belarus’s economic crisis worsened during the year, the currency fell in value, shortages of goods arose and people hoarded food and fuel. In May, the Lukashenko regime decided to devalue the ruble by 36%, and in June it was decided to raise the gasoline price by 30%. This led to strong reactions and protests. The price increase was then mitigated to 12.5%.
On Facebook and Twitter, protesters were urged to gather in silent protests against the regime’s financial failure. Demonstrations were held in over 30 cities. The police used batons and tear gas against participants, many hundreds were arrested and several were sentenced to high fines or shorter prison sentences.
Lukashenka’s pressured regime was promised loans from both the Russian Federation and China and also hoped for loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). But the IMF set conditions for tougher reforms of the economy. privatization.
The financial situation was critical, and the regime was forced to barter and sell off financial assets. In November, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation declared that gas prices for Belarus would be reduced to half of what other European countries pay. According to Putin, Belarus would then save at least $ 2 billion. In exchange, the Russian Federation would take over about half of the gas pipelines in Belarus that were not already owned by the Russian Federation. In addition, the Russian Federation would have full control over the so-called Jamal pipeline to Europe through Belarus. Putin also promised that Belarus would borrow $ 10 billion for the construction of a nuclear power plant near the border with Lithuania.
In October, Belarus and seven other states signed a free trade agreement in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The states were the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.