President of Belarus Aleksander Lukashenko will not remain in power for long but it all depends on how long the special forces and Belarus' KGB (state security service) will support him, head of the Eastern Partnership Center, Gert Antsu, told ETV current news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Monday.
Antsu said after the violence displayed towards citizens of Belarus, it is unlikely that Lukashenko can remain in power. "It depends on the support of the special forces and KGB, how long will they back him, but no dictator has ever stayed in power after an event like this," he said.
Last week thousands of Belarusians were arrested for protesting after the country's election committee said Lukashenko won 80 percent of the votes at the rigged presidential election. The security forces have beaten people, there are rumors of torture taking place in prisons and two people have died in the crackdown against peaceful protesters.
On Monday, August 17, videos of alleged convoys of Russian military equipment were seen heading towards the Belarusian border spread online. Antsu said that the interest of Moscow is clear: To maintain power over Belarus but Russia can not do so with force.
"There are no nice choices in Russia. To bring in the troops, occupy, establish their own power, raise the Russian flag - nobody is planning to do it," Antsu said.
He said anyone who rises to power after Lukashenko's retreat must take Russia into account anyway, because the Belarusian economy depends a lot on its biggest neighbor.
Regarding potential new leaders, Antsu noted there are competitive companies in Belarus, whose leaders or owners are people who have seen the world and how other societies are run. "Perhaps there are others who could contribute to building a normal, modern state," he said.
The leaders of the European Union will discuss the situation in Belarus on Wednesday, August 19, at a special meeting. Antsu said the Belarusians should not expect support from the EU and that they should decide on their future themselves.
"It is a popular myth especially from the Eastern countries that the west and Russia are fighting, that they want to acquire one territory or another. But actually, Belarus needs to decide what happens with the country. Of course, we are hoping for the best, that everything will go happen with low bloodshed. Europe can offer to mediate the dialogue, but it doesn't seem that Lukashenko is interested in it," Antsu said.
Lukashenko has been the president of Belarus for 26 years. This year's elections were not deemed free and fair and international election observers were banned from carrying out monitoring. Opposition candidates were banned from running and some were jailed.
Opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is assumed to have won and gained a better result than the 10 percent of votes awarded to her by the official results released by the election committee. Tikhanovskaya became a candidate after her husband was banned from running in the elections and put in prison.
Editor: Roberta Vaino