The Russian Federation’s war on Ukraine has the support of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, putting ordinary Belarusians increasingly at odds with and intolerant of their authoritarian government. After the Aug. 9, 2020 presidential election for the country’s first democratically elected government, incumbent President Lukashenka claimed victory in a highly disputed electoral outcome. The opposition, Democratic Forces, called for international assistance in supporting a peaceful political transition through the holding of new elections. IFES supports the Democratic Forces, civil society organizations and young people in their pursuit of a democratic transition through electoral reform, civic education and media monitoring. Since 2020, IFES has assisted democratic development in Belarus; facilitating an environment open for political competition by providing analysis of the electoral legal framework; drafting legal amendments in conjunction with opposition stakeholders; promoting election understanding through open dialogues; and fostering safe spaces for learning.
IFES works with universities, civil society and media monitoring organizations in exile to foster an environment that promotes informed political and electoral participation, civic education and media literacy to counter prominent propaganda and disinformation narratives. IFES also works with the Democratic Forces to analyze existing laws, regulations and procedures that govern elections in Belarus, including the law on elections to the presidency, the constitution and political party law. These efforts continue and are expanding even during the conflict in the region.