Eurasia This Week: February 10, 2022

February 10, 2022

A weekly review of news and analysis of elections in Eurasia, usually posted on Thursdays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.

The Intercession Cathedral in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Artemka (public domain)

Upcoming Eurasia Elections

Belarus Constitutional Referendum: February 27, 2022

Belarus’s dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, has called a constitutional referendum for February 27, 2022 as a way of extending his time in power (he has been president since 1994 – the first and only president of post-Soviet Belarus). The proposed changes would allow Lukashenko to remain in office until 2035. Belarus’s elections and political processes are neither free nor fair.

The country las held a presidential election on August 9, 2020. In a vote widely deemed not free and not fair, Lukashenko declared victory. However, the opposition declared that Svetlana Tikhanovskaya had in fact won. Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have taken to the streets in protest to demand free and fair elections, even in the face of assault and arrest by security forces. Protests and political defiance continue. 

In addition, Russia has been moving troops to Belarus in preparation for a possible invasion of Ukraine or other neighboring countries. More

Igor Ilyash, openDemocracy (February 9, 2022): Why is Belarus hosting Russian troops? Lukashenka’s crackdown on dissent at home has pushed his country into a deeper military alliance with Putin

Glenn Kates, Coda Story (February 7, 2022): Belarusian hackers on what it means to be a “Cyberpartisan”

Daniel McLaughlin, Irish Times (February 4, 2022): Belarus’s pro-democracy leader warns against using it to attack Ukraine

Ukraine Parliamentary Elections: By October 2023 and Presidential Election: By March 2024

Ukraine holds parliamentary elections in 2023 and a presidential election in 2024. In the last presidential vote, in 2019, Actor and comedian Zelensky beat incumbent Petro Poroshenko running on an anti-establishment platform. However, since then, the country’s traditional pro-Europe and pro-Moscow political forces have regained ground.

Russia’s military aggression, which began in 2014, continues, and the threat of further invasion looms large.

Derek Mitchell, The Hill (February 8, 2022): Why democracy matters in the Ukraine crisis

Past Eurasia Elections

Russia Parliamentary Elections: September 17-19, 2021

Russia held parliamentary elections September 17-19, 2021. Russian elections are neither free nor fair. Nonetheless, the opposition has been making some gains in recent regional elections, helped by opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s “Smart Vote,” a campaign of tactical voting, in which they developed a list of candidates the best chance of beating Vladimir Putin’s United Russia.

Consequently, the Kremlin launched a brutal crackdown on the opposition, including imprisoning Navalny. Candidates who have worked with Navalny or supported him were banned from the election. Only one genuine opposition party – the liberal Yabloko – was able to field candidates. 

Moreover, international technology companies such as Google and Apple assisted the regime by removing apps associated with Navalny’s Smart Vote. More

Ben Dubow, CEPA (February 8, 2022): With Enemies Like Russia’s Communists, Putin Doesn’t Need Friends: Russia’s President is blessed with an opposition more bellicose than he is.

Kazakhstan Legislative Elections: January 10, 2021

Kazakhstan held legislative elections for January 10, 2021. The country’s elections take place in the context of an authoritarian system in which critics of the government face harassment and arrest. As such, no genuine opposition has representation in the legislature.

A series of protests in January 2022 rocked the country and left as many as 225 people dead, as well as a reported 12,000 people in detention. Russia briefly sent personnel under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), its military alliance of several post-Soviet states. More

Joanna Lillis, Eurasianet (February 5, 2022): Kazakhstan: Almaty protest calling for mayoral elections draws small crowd – The demonstration, which city hall allowed, passed peacefully.

Eurasia Elections Coming Up in 2022 and 2023

Belarus Constitutional Referendum: February 27, 2022

Armenia Presidential Election (indirect): March 2022 (proposed)

Russia Regional Elections (some regions): September 2022 (due)

Turkmenistan Parliamentary and Local Elections: March 2023 (due)

Moldova Local Elections: October 2023 (due)

Ukraine Parliamentary Elections: By October 29, 2023 (due)

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here.

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