Institutional Constraints and Possibilities in (Semi-) Revolutionary Belarus
11 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021
Date Written: September 21, 2020
Belarus' summer 2020 political crisis found many analysts struggling to make sense of both the sudden popular mobilization as well as the stiff resistance from the authoritarian state. Analysis has therefore focused primarily on these two angles: explaining the peaceful, mass popular mobilization’s contest with coercive dictatorship and its security apparatus. Although very important, this has left a relative gap that has ignored alternative routes out of the crisis beyond total regime change by the political opposition or a status-quo victory by way of full autocratic repression. The binary framing of a resilient street opposition versus an oppressive and totally closed regime elides multiple other pathways towards crisis resolution that we should be mindful of – especially in the realm of political and state institutions. Although rarely considered in the Belarusian context, political scientists have increasingly looked to such bodies as venues of surprising importance during periods of potential regime transition or reconsolidation in modern autocracies.
Keywords: Authoritarianism, Belarus, Post-Soviet Space
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