Lukashenko angers pro-democracy opposition with the creation of Soviet-style ‘All-Belarusian People’s Assembly’

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Belarus’ Aleksander Lukashenko’s has created an “All-Belarusian People’s Assembly” to discuss reforms and the country’s development for the next five years, prompting an outcry by pro-democracy opposition, which sees the move as an attempt of the long-time ruler to cling to power. 

“A color revolution in Belarus was impossible. That is why, by getting support from certain domestic forces, attempted to organize not a color revolution, but a mutiny on the principle of a blitzkrieg. The blitzkrieg failed. We have managed to hold our country,” Lukashenko said during the opening ceremony of the Soviet-style assembly, on February 11. 

Reacting to the move, Franak Viacorka, the senior advisor of Belarus’ opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said in a Twitter post that “Lukashenka denounced six months of protests against his rule as a foreign-directed ‘rebellion’.”

“Speaking to 2,700 loyalists of the All-Belarus People’s Assembly, he charged that ‘very powerful forces’ abroad were behind the protests,” he added. 

Lukashenka denounced six months of protests against his rule as a foreign-directed “rebellion”. Speaking to 2,700 loyalists of the All-Belarus People’s Assembly, he charged that “very powerful forces” abroad were behind the protests. pic.twitter.com/GHGDIpqE2P

— Franak Viačorka (@franakviacorka) February 11, 2021

In a statement issued the same day, the US Embassy in Belarus said that “this ‘All-Belarusian People’s Assembly’ is neither genuine nor inclusive of Belarusian views and therefore does not address the country’s ongoing political crisis,” and called for an  inclusive dialogue through free and fair elections.

“Belarusians expressing their opinion about the All-Belarus People’s Assembly. It is held by Lukashenka and his officials today in Minsk, and it is so fake. Fake elections, fake inauguration, fake democracy. The regime holds Belarusians hostage” tweeted Tikhanovskaya, who has been recognised by the EU as the legitimate President of Belarus.