News analysis

Russia and West ready for high-stakes game over Belarus

Despite claims of a rigged election, President Lukashenko is determined to cling to power

After facing almost three weeks of massive public protests in the wake of an election whose results are widely perceived to have been rigged, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko remains determined to hold on to power.

Opposition leaders are being rounded up, the armed forces are putting up a show of force on the streets and Mr Lukashenko is increasingly being shown on state-controlled TV in a military uniform, often clutching a machine gun. The message is unmistakable: The Belarusian President is staying.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2020, with the headline 'Russia and West ready for high-stakes game over Belarus'. Print Edition | Subscribe