The extraordinary campaign to unseat Belarusian 'dictator' Alexander...
Bias Score Calculation:
This article includes the following sentiments, providing an average bias score of 84% Liberal:
- 1 positive sentiment for LGBT Equality
84% Positive Sentiment + Policies: LGBT Equality = 84% Liberal
96% "What followed was equally extraordinary. Defying predictions the opposition would find it difficult to unite, Tikhanovskaya snapped in common language with Maria Kolesnikova, the head of Viktor Barbariko's presidential campaign, and Veronika Tsepkalo, wife of Valery, the other barred candidate."
89% "Over the next two weeks, Alexander Lukashenko faces the fight of his life."
84% "On this, as on much else, the old-fashioned autocrat has found himself behind the curve of modern social media and meme culture."
78% "Valery Tsepkalo also retains links with the Belarusian security elite -- and fled to Russia with his children shortly after his non-registration."
70% "The fact Tikhanovskaya was registered in the first place."
60% "I understand the need to have well-prepared soldiers ready just in case, he said."
50% "But it was a fear the whole county shared, she insists."
-51% "Nationalistic opponents of Sergei Tikhanovsky have also criticised his production contracts with Russian stars."
-60% "Tikhanovskaya, who has evacuated her children out of Belarus, tells The Independent that there wasn't a moment where she didn't feel very, very frightened."
-71% "Svetlana Tikhanovskaya rejects the criticism as silly rumours that are impossible to engage with."
-77% "Ask yourself who the pro-Russian candidate really is."
-82% "It's the beginning of the end for him -- perhaps not in two weeks time, but not far beyond."
-92% "One unofficial online poll had him at 3 per cent."
-94% "The basics of an agreement were hammered out in 15 minutes, and a full oral understanding in under a couple of hours."
We have listed the top 15 sentiments. More sentiments do exist. Please review the full article for more information.
*Our bias meter rating uses data science including sentiment analysis, machine learning and our proprietary algorithm for determining biases in news articles. The rating is an independent analysis and is not affiliated nor sponsored by the news source or any other organization
Contributing sentiments towards policy:98% : For some, the optics were too perfect.
96% : What followed was equally extraordinary. Defying predictions the opposition would find it difficult to unite, Tikhanovskaya snapped in common language with Maria Kolesnikova, the head of Viktor Barbariko's presidential campaign, and Veronika Tsepkalo, wife of Valery, the other barred candidate.
94% : In conversation with The Independent, she delivers weighted positions that disguise the lack of formal political experience.
92% : For the first time in many years, viewers were told about political prisoners and arrests.
92% : For most of his time in office, the president kept his side of an "unspoken contract" -- good pensions and living standards in exchange for political submission.
91% : On Russia, the policy was to be "friends with everyone" - but reduce dependence on oil and gas handouts.
89% : Over the next two weeks, Alexander Lukashenko faces the fight of his life.
84% : She would stay middle of the road on the most controversial social issues like gay marriage: "I'm totally fine with same-sex relations and think any love is wonderful, but perhaps our country isn't ready for a decision on this just yet".
84% : On this, as on much else, the old-fashioned autocrat has found himself behind the curve of modern social media and meme culture.
82% : "Don't think it was some campaign prepared months ago.
82% : The women leaders.
82% : Elements of the Belarusian opposition converged with an unusual ally, Lukashenko, in blaming the invisible hand of Moscow -- an ungraspable law of nature in these parts.
78% : Not with a sophisticated system of modern authoritarianism -- one that made independent political activity the preserve of the brave and foolhardy.
78% : She says she anguished as saw surveillance and arrests step up in line with Sergei's YouTube popularity and informal campaign around the end of last year.
78% : Valery Tsepkalo also retains links with the Belarusian security elite -- and fled to Russia with his children shortly after his non-registration.
77% : It was all about the situation we found ourselves in."
77% : Tikhonovski was a leader in protests against closer integration with Russia, and spent 30 days in prison for his trouble: "We know all about Lukashenko's road maps with Russia, which will slowly but surely lead to full unification.
75% : That figure is highly misleading given the president's historical electoral base.
74% : The instant agreement.
73% : Out went Valery Tsepkalo, a former ambassador to the US, Viktor Babariko, a banker, and Sergei Tikhanovski, advertising entrepreneur and popular political blogger.
73% : The fear has gone.
71% : As a registered candidate she was allowed a short broadcast on state TV, and she used it to extraordinary effect.
70% : The fact Tikhanovskaya was registered in the first place.
68% : Tikhanovskaya's campaign has not shied from taboos.
68% : On Friday, he said he had "learned the lessons of 2010," when protests erupted following this latest overwhelming victory.
66% : The latter two were arrested and jailed for their troubles.
64% : This time around, the regime did all the things it usually does.
62% : In a sign of increasing nervousness, Belarus' long time leader has started to to hint at the use of force.
61% : And yet, the election is gearing up to be the political story of the summer.
61% : A former translator, secretary and, for the last 10 years, a shy, stay-at-home mum, she tells The Independent she is no politician.
60% : But Tikhanovskaya says she knew she had "no right" to stop her husband, and the last time he was arrested, vowed to continue his work.
60% : "I understand the need to have well-prepared soldiers ready just in case," he said.
59% : "Coronavirus and economic problems have conspired to undermine a belief Lukashenko can deliver," he says.
58% : Tikhanovskaya has grown in self-assurance since the unexpected start to her political career.
58% : "I hope they will listen to their people -- and never, ever send in the tanks or soldiers," she says.
57% : Viktor Babariko made his money as a manager for a bank owned by Russia's Gazprom.
56% : Battered by criticism over his Covid-19 denialism, Lukashenko appears to be in real trouble: regularly upstaged by opposition forces, with unprecedented protests taking place across the country.
52% : She attacked the president's Covid-19 denialism and alleged low ratings.
51% : Tikhanovskaya appeared with a clenched fist, flanked by Tsepkalo with a "V" for victory sign and Kolesnikova, with a heart.
50% : But it was a fear the whole county shared, she insists.
49% : Nationalistic opponents of Sergei Tikhanovsky have also criticised his production contracts with Russian stars.
48% : Those who wanted evidence found it easily enough.
48% : If they were Russian agents, they'd have a bit more cash in the bank, she reasoned.
47% : On the "painful" subject of Crimea, "de jure" it was Ukrainian, "de facto" Russian, and she wouldn't drive people further apart by committing to either.
46% : Quite how popular the president is is unclear, given that independent polling is illegal in Belarus.
43% : There would be just three pledges: to free political prisoners, reverse authoritarian changes to the constitution made in 1996, and to run new, free elections within six months.
40% : Tikhanovskaya, who has evacuated her children out of Belarus, tells The Independent that there wasn't a moment where she didn't feel "very, very frightened".
39% : Even more embarrassing for a macho leader who claims the presidency is "too much for a woman" to handle, his most obvious nemesis is female. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the wife of jailed Sergei Tikhonovsky, was propelled into politics following the arrest of her husband in May.
39% : She saw how he had "looked for kopecks" to pay for petrol while campaigning.
35% : Now, the model is broken.
35% : "We don't want blood, we just want change."
33% : David Marples, a professor at the University of Alberta, Canada, and long time Belarus watcher, suggests that a free vote could be quite evenly split.
31% : She spent much of the last year persuading her "opinionated" husband to do what everyone else in the country did -- lie low.
31% : She registered as a candidate.
29% : Svetlana Tikhanovskaya rejects the criticism as "silly rumours" that are "impossible to engage with".
23% : Election officials refused to register the three strongest challengers from the field.
23% : The three women announced their decision with a now-iconic photoshoot.
23% : Ask yourself who the pro-Russian candidate really is."
22% : She couldn't speak on behalf of the other campaign teams, but as far as her husband was concerned, she was "more than sure" of his propriety.
21% : The symbolism was "spontaneous," Tikhanovskaya insists, and one of the very few things the group committed to paper.
21% : But it has become somewhat of an opposition slogan, and was unwittingly amplified by the president himself when he complained about the growth of "3 per cent" Lukashenko jokes.
18% : "It's the beginning of the end for him -- perhaps not in two weeks time, but not far beyond.
15% : As the registered candidate, Tikhanovskaya would lead the campaign platform.
14% : "There is no obvious or honest way for Lukashenko to get the 65 per cent any respectable dictator needs," Marples says.
12% : Not with a self-styled dictator who has previously declared election victories with 75.6 per cent, 82.6 per cent, 79.65 per cent, and 84.14 per cent of the vote.
8% : One unofficial online poll had him at 3 per cent.
6% : The basics of an agreement were hammered out in 15 minutes, and a full oral understanding in under a couple of hours.
5% : Extraordinarily for a declared opposition candidate in Belarus, she was allowed to run.
4% : It was never supposed to be like this -- not in Belarus.