As anxiety rises inside the Kremlin, opposition activists and experts working in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia and internationally will speak about what they most fear and what they believe will happen next at an online event on Tuesday.
Democracy campaigner Olga Zubrilova will explain what it feels like to take to the streets in Belarus in the knowledge that one might be beaten up and arrested.
Another taking part is Ekatrina Ziuziuk who is mobilising the Belarusian diaspora.
Roger Casale, one of the organisers, said, “It’s clear from the attempted murder of Alexei Navalny that the Belarus crisis has to be seen as part of wider tensions in the region.
“We will hear from Ilya Ponomarev, the former Russian MP who voted against the invasion of Crimea, and from Moscow-based opposition activist Olga Kurnosova.
“Problems are mounting for Putin: protests in the Eastern region of Khabarovsk, threats to cancel Nord Stream, defeats for United Russia in regional elections.”
Commenting on the latest developments, Ilya Ponomarev said:
“The Kremlin is at a crossroads. Escalate the crisis by annexing Belarus? Or seek a compromise by creating a new political party ahead of parliamentary elections in Russia next year? I think the decision is being made literally as we speak.”
Oliver Védrine, Chief Editor of the Russian Monitor will chair a panel which includes former UN diplomat and Ukraine expert Bohdan Nahaylo, Russian watcher and international journalist Anna Zafesova, human rights campaigner, Professor Bill Bowring and the founding head of Brussels Press Club, Maria Laura Franciosi.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Olivier Védrine said: “The revolution in Belarus is very different to what happened 7 years ago with Euromaidan in Ukraine. It’s not about the EU – the protestors just want to get rid of Lukashenko. The best comparison is with Solidarity in Poland. In the end, Russia let go of Poland and Ukraine but Putin cannot afford to lose Belarus.”