could Lukashenko’s grip be shaken?

Sallie Anderson

When Alexander Loban flew back to Belarus at the end of March from the Netherlands, where he worked as an eye doctor for many years, he right away put himself in self-isolation.

From his living space in Grodno, the Belarusian eye doctor by development began a YouTube channel where he called the authorities of Belarus to close the borders and enforce containment. Ever since he’s launched an everyday video on Covid-19 in the nation.

Faithful audiences could have actually nevertheless observed a hiatus of 7 days. Since Dr. Loban had actually been put into quarantine in a regional healthcare facility after a female physician accompanied by a police officer came to knock on his door, that is.

Dr. Loban had no Covid-19 signs however she discovered his throat to be reddish and his temperature level (371 °), to be too expensive. The physician was subsequently required to the healthcare facility.

His 2 Covid-19 tests returned unfavorable.”I have no doubt the authorities are behind it. For a week, I was isolated and I couldn’t record any YouTube video”


Even if Dr. Loban is a bit scared of prospective retaliations as he criticises the authoritarian program of Alexander Lukashenko, he chose to speak out”to be able to look himself in the mirror”


Others medical professionals have actually been singing on social media too consisting of on the absence of medical protectiveequipment Among them, Nataliya Larionova was summoned to the district attorney’s office 2 days after she had actually knocked the official stats as “mythical” on

Certainly, the unique coronavirus has actually been spreading out actively in Belarus considering that it got in the nation by the end of February. 2,919 people were formally reported favorable and 29 had actually passed away by April 9th with significant break outs in Minsk and Vitebsk.

The official numbers are however not showing the reality alerts Dr. Loban: “A couple of days ago the variety of people contaminated by the coronavirus began to appear sensible. I presume it involves the WHO [World Health Organisation] delegation going to Belarus. The death toll is lessened.

I understand from my colleagues that under pressure a specific variety of deaths are requalified in pneumonia even when Covid19 tests are favorable”.

The physician can’t assist to draw a parallel with the Chernobyl catastrophe he experienced as a medical student back in1986 “Five days after the explosion, the soviet regime held its massive 1st of May parade. Now, we are in the middle of an pandemic and Lukashenko wants to celebrate the 9th of May,” he stated.

The President, who’s remained in power for 25 years has not just pretended to disregard the coronavirus, he’s likewise been dismissing the victims.”There are no virus here”


“Sport especially on ice is better than any antiviral medication,” he stated 2 weeks back, at a crowed hockey arena in Minsk. He has actually likewise called his fellow people to avoid this “psychosis” with vodka, tractors in addition to banya, a standard medical spa.

More just recently, in his office, on 9 April, he duplicated the significance of protecting the economy: “All this will go away, it’s already disappearing look at what is happening in Europe. But the economy will remain”.

Therefore no official containment procedure has actually been presented in Belarus: the factories are still working, dining establishments and bars are not required to close, however, in the “shadow”, medical facilities have actually been reorganised to be able to take care of Covid-19 clients and Easter vacations was lengthened for 2 weeks for school children.

“Lukashenko now acknowledges there is a problem but at the same times he goes on with conspiracy theories” analyses Aleś Łahviniec, a dissident who teaches political science at the European Liberal Arts University, a Belarusian university in exile in Vilnius.

Belarusians, who in big part are well notified reading independent online outlets and social media, have actually begun to execute social width the nation.

In Minsk, the city feels empty, hand sanitisers are all over and a great deal of dining establishments are closed. In Vitebsk, too. There Yuri (name altered upon his demand) just leaves home for shopping, keeping a 1.5 metre range from other clients. His spouse has actually been working online for 2 weeks.

“What Lukashenko says is absurd. But his position in ambiguous, it’s a fertile ground for fake news and older people may not understand the situation. In fact, you can still see a lot of them on the street with no mask when almost everyone else has one”, he stated.

Showcasing the outright lies of the program, the coronavirus crisis could be a severe fracture in Lukashenko’s program, just 4 months ahead of the next governmental elections. “But it would come at a high human cost” points out the physician.

“You would need a strong mobilisation of the population, a fragmented establishment as well as a more threatening Russia” includes Aleś Łahviniec.

If none of that occurs, loyal electoral commissions and a couple of other techniques will attend to Lukashenko’s next landslide triumph.

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