The idea of the referendum as a tool to solve the political crisis in Belarus appeared in public discourse in fall 2020. Belarusian authorities promoted the project of the referendum and a new constitution; however, it is still unclear what they want to achieve. The Referendum will probably be conducted in February 2022, but a new version of the Constitution has not been provided to the public yet.
Meanwhile, Belarusian democratic forces together with a diverse range of civic initiatives announced their own campaign focused on the mobilization of public participation in referendum and refusal of promoted by the authorities agenda. They call Belarusians to come to the referendum and to destroy their ballot papers to demonstrate to Lukashenka that the majority of the people are against him, that they support the agenda of democratic changes and a New Belarus.
What are the main ideas and motives behind the referendum for authorities and democratic forces? Is there an opportunity that the referendum may provoke mass mobilization in Belarus? What can be done after the referendum in case of massive falsification of its results? What can the international community do, how should it react towards referendum and actions of democratic forces, on the one hand, and authorities on the other?
These and other questions will be discussed during the expert discussion organized by the Office of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
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