The explosion in the subway promises tough time for the opposition


Reuters has published under the title comment on the investigation progresses, the explosion in the Minsk metro, and yesterday's statements by Alexander Lukashenko on the opposition. Below — the comment.

For the weak and fragmented opposition Belarusian seems, there comes a more difficult time after, as the country's president Alexander Lukashenko connected it with the terrorist attack on the subway.

Explosion in Minsk, in which 12 people were killed and more than 150 were wounded, weakened the position of Lukashenko. Combined with serious financial problems, loss of foreign exchange reserves and sanctions from the West explosion did Lukashenko very vulnerable. When he visited the metro station was blown up with his young son, his face was ashen.

But on Wednesday, he said that the security forces responded to his call and found guilty. Moreover, the suspects confessed to the other two unsolved cases — an explosion at a rock concert in 2005 and the explosion at a cafe in Vitebsk in 2005.

But what caused a tremor in his opponents, Lukashenko was an order to the security services have studied the application of "political activists" — that the president often refers to the opposition. Alluding to the relationship between the suspects and the opposition, he said: "We are now looking for a partner and customers may be, these so-called politicians from the fifth column we will disclose card and tell who is ordered (the attack)?"

Authorities will use the blast to tighten the screws …

"There is every indication that the government will use the blast to tighten the screws" — said Milinkevich, Leader of the Opposition, who competed against Lukashenko for the presidency in 2006.

Assuming that Lukashenko seeks to divert attention from the deepening of the problems faced by Belarus, Milinkevich said: "One of the reasons that the government accuses the opposition, it's economic problems. Second reason — it's growing discontent."

Harassment of opposition

Opposition ranks have been thinned out considerably as a result of arrest and prosecution.

More than 15,000 people gathered in central Minsk in December last year in protest against Lukashenko's re-election as president for a fourth term. Riot police dispersed the demonstration, were initially detained seven of the nine presidential candidates — Lukashenko's rivals.

Hundreds of protesters and activists were detained.

At least four presidential candidates are still awaiting trial on charges of rioting, which in theory could lead to 15 years in prison.

Another former presidential candidate fled abroad after allegations that he was tortured by the KGB. Several well-known dissidents, also left the country.

I do not know who will be Joan of Arc, we must be willing to …

"We have to wait a couple of" show trials. " I do not know who will be Joan of Arc, we have to be ready, "- said in an interview with our agency Anatoly Lebedko, leader of the opposition United Civil Party.

The huge outflow of foreign exchange reserves was caused by pre-election spending, the implementation of Lukashenko promises to raise the average salary and standard of living.

Against the background of the disappearance of the devaluation of the dollar and expectations of the population began to panic-buying consumer goods.

After the dissolution of the shares on December 19 the EU and the U.S. imposed sanctions against Lukashenko and his associates.

Previously, he was laughing with such sanctions, but the current situation makes it more problematic opportunity to turn to the IMF for financial assistance at a critical moment.

Insulation also increases its dependence on Russia, a major oil and gas delivery for Belarus.

Some analysts have questioned the veracity of the statements Lukashenko that the perpetrators of the explosion in the Minsk metro, were quickly arrested as a result of a brilliant police operation.

It says more about the highly politicized nature of the incident …

"It is said that the perpetrators of the attack have been arrested and confessed to carrying out this act of terrorism as well as the previous two. This is more evidence of the highly politicized nature of the incident than on the effectiveness of the Belarusian security services," — experts say the London Research Centre Exclusive Analysis.

"No matter who was actually responsible for the attack, heavily politicized statements that have been made in the media indicate that the incident will be used for political purposes," — said Exclusive Analysis. Some analysts also believe that in a country that has little history of political violence, Lukashenko risks losing the trust of the people, saying the relationship between the terrorist attack and its political opponents.


Milinkevich Lebedko, Reuters, Exclusive Analysis

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