What Was Lukashenko’s Real Result?

Surprising as it is (but not really), but some of the more zealous/lower IQ Putinists and “Western Russophiles” are actually taking Lukashenko’s official 80.1% result at face value.

I wonder if they stop to reflect what that implies about Putin, who “only” got 76.7% in the 2018 elections, at a time when:

  • His approval rating was ~80%, at the tail end of the post-Crimean honeymoon.
  • There were no protests of any note whatsoever against him.
  • The pensions reform that dropped Putin’s rating by 15%, seemingly for the long-term, was still several months away.

If true, certainly doesn’t seem flattering to their idol…


In reality, the 80% was of course plucked out of thin air. Luka seems to have a fondness for the number, having gotten 80.4% in the 2010 elections, and 79.4% in the 2004 referendum that removed Presidential term limits.  It also coincides with the 80.6% he got in the (fair) elections of 1994. As one elections blogger speculates, perhaps that is when he got fixated on that number.

That said, I doubt that Lukashenko got just ~16% either, which is the number claimed by an unofficial exit poll (independent sociology is banned in Belarus).

Russian elections analyst Boris Ovchinnikov has (and others) have gathered up leaked photos of elections protocols, and posted their contents to this Google Sheet. As of today, Lukashenko scores 42% there, vs. 47% for his main rival Tikhanovskaya. And even though the districts where these numbers are leaked can be expected to be more oppositionist than average – they are disproportionately from Minsk and Minsk oblast, where Lukashenko is weak – is nonetheless proves that the claimed 80% is a fiction and that there should have at minimum have been a second round.

Moreover, balancing out regional unrepresentativeness – and then some – is the extreme degree of early voting, which was a truly incredible 42% in these elections (and 28% in the leaked protocols). Unsurprising, there’s a r= 0.66 correlation between % early voting and % Lukashenko vote share. Just considering the precincts with somewhat credible early voting shares (say, <20%) shows Lukashenko at perhaps 30% at best. So even with the above factor of Minsk overrepresentation counted in, it’s hard to see how Lukashenko could have possibly gotten more than 35%. Likewise, it is also hard to see how Tikhanovskaya could have gotten less than 50%, making her President without the need for a second round.

Well, minor details like control of the security forces aside, anyway. Which was very unambiguously demonstrated today by Tikhanovskaya’s videotaped groveling forfeiture of the election and exile to Lithuania. But sacrificing (what remains of) your reputation for a kolkhoz dictator who doesn’t actually care for your obsessions (pro-Putin/pro-Russia) doesn’t seem smart.


PS. On another note – I suspect that if Putin had not retaken Crimea in 2014, he would have had similar (real) numbers – and a corresponding political crisis – during the 2018 elections. Losing Ukraine + getting kicked out of Crimea + oil price-initiated economic crash that could not have been ascribed to Western sanctions = delegitimization. It was a smart move.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.

 

Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.

 

Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.

Comments

  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. Philip Owen says

    He has delegitimised his regime by being greedy. Putin is a wilier fox.

    I predict Lukashenko will win this round but a pro EU organized resistance will emerge. Putin has to have Lukashenko removed or Belarus will be a NATO candidate in the next election cycle.

  3. AltSerrice says

    A judicious application of force against the protesters early on seems to have secured the election for Lukashenko, regardless of the real results. I think this victory over the mob was to be expected in the sense that there is no core of anti-government activists (with various foreign or factional resources and backing) in Belarus. However, by falsifying the vote so blatantly and cracking down so harshly I think Lukashenko has begun the process of building that permanent (and militant) anti-Luka section of society which did not really exist until now. The 26 year stability has fractured and I don’t see any way to repair it independently.

    The Belarusian question has now been opened, not just for Russia but for the West too, and I suspect it will be answered sooner rather than later. I don’t expect his government to survive to the next election, unless perhaps they find themselves in a union state…

  4. AK there has to be some type of mistake you are making. You said in Twitter 80% support governments don’t get mass protests. However on the flip side government’s where support is split half half or even more towards opposition do not behave like Luka. Ukraine/US/France look like governments where society is split.

    Belarus looks like Germany with the way it is putting down opposition.

    Going on a tangent I am watching a lot of leaked video and it is almost completely anti cop/regime. Luka’s supporters seem to be sitting and waiting for cops to do their job.

  5. What makes you say militants did not exist? Who came out to fight for the last two days?

  6. https://youtu.be/jqETp-qnSp0

    They are screaming come out in a residential neighborhood. Does that look like mass popular revolt?

    I think the best explanation is that there is a rabid anti Luka core that sees this as their last chance to mount anything. This is separate from w.e we all think he actually got during the election.

  7. I’ve wondered if there is a natural hierarchy of loyalties among security forces, and if so what the underlying reasons might be.

    Generally, police seem the most apolitical and loyal, regardless of the type of regime. For military branches, loyalty seems to rely somewhat on politics.

    Historically, navies seem to go left through mutiny. If the regime is Leftist, then they support it. However, their support can be ineffectual, after the chain of command has broken down and officers have been executed.

    Armies seem to lean right, but purges can change this. (And they have happened in America.)

  8. Philip Owen says

    It turns out that Tikhanovskaya is Irish.

    At least, as a child refugee from near Chernobyl, she spent part of her childhood in Ireland over at least 10 years. She even worked there to pay for her university fees in Brest.

  9. AnonFromTN says

    It is crystal clear that Luka’s real support was not 80%. He is dumb and obnoxious, the people are sick and tired of him. However, it is equally clear that Tikhanovskaya numbers were way below 50%. She is a nonentity, her program is lots of hot air without explanation where the promised kudos will come from (remember, the key question is always the same: “who is gonna pay for it?”). However, one can safely speculate ad lib: we will never know the truth.

  10. AnonFromTN says

    Luka’s supporters seem to be sitting and waiting for cops to do their job.

    Yep. Pretty much like the “couch party” in Egypt: despite likely being the majority, they never came off their couches, just waited for Sisi to destroy Muslim Brotherhood crazies.

  11. As if anybody was voting for Tikhanovskaya, as opposed to against Lukashenko.

  12. Philip Owen says

    She is a native speaker of Belarus from the south west near Brest. She will have had support from urban liberals and from rural Belarus areas in former Polish territories. 50% was within her grasp on those identities alone. Plus she and her team were women. Older women are quite conspicuous in the daytime protests. I would guess the real vote would have demanded a run off at least. Ireland has placed an order for 4 fighter aircraft.

  13. AltSerrice says

    Where did you hear that about Ireland and fighter jets? I’m also curious why it’s relevant

  14. Philip Owen says

    She spent her summers from 12 years old to her early 20’s in Ireland.

    I saw a news article a few weeks back about the Irish jets. They had let the RAF do the job but the new government thnks differently. Brexit I suppose.

  15. I am noticing Russians online decided fuck Luka. A lot of Russian journos are reporting unfavorably and Luka is attacking journalists. Probably good for regime survival but terrible for foreign relations.

  16. AnonFromTN says

    There were four other “against Batska” candidates. Anti-Luka vote would have split between all nonentities, not all going to one of them. She might have gotten more than the others, being less obnoxious and a woman, but not all of it.

  17. AnonFromTN says

    Most people in Russia are disgusted by Luka. Putin often plays games that are too complicated for an average Joe (Ivan) to grasp. I am not in Russia or Belarus, but I would never vote for Luka. Maybe Putin knows something we don’t. Or maybe he just thinks that now he has both Luka’s balls firmly in his grip.

  18. Retaking Crimea was not only a politically astute move, it was strategically necessary.

    The next 10 years are critical to the future trajectory of Russia and the U.S. alike and it’s somewhat of a zero-sum game in the border nations between NATO and Russia.

    Allowing NATO free run of the Ukraine would likely have toppled the Belarussian domino by now or been such a threat to do so that the hot war with NATO that Russia cannot yet afford to fight would have been a serious risk.

    And that would have cemented American hegemony for another gods-know-how-many years in the West.

  19. That is clearly incorrect. Tikhanovskaya was the one around whom virtually all anti-Luka votes coalesced (something that even the official, made up tally recognized).

  20. So I am still following Belarussia info sphere and this is hilarious. Alexander Kots is reporting from there with neutral/less than friendly point if view. He said a ton of Belarussians are sending him stuff but no pro Luka people or cops. Asked for them to send him stuff too. This is a very interesting phenomena. That one side, the unhappy, are so active while the proles and content people are sitting this out.

    Another observation is how anti Luka/neutral people are reacting to mass beatings. They think this is overboard. I am coming to a realization that people are simply not capable of thinking several steps ahead. On the other hand they maybe lying and just trying to confuse the discourse.

    Lastly a lot of people are thinking the regime will fall due to such a response. I think that is a narrative used often but it is wrong. Yes there are examples of regimes falling after tough reprisals. But if you examine why they fell it tends to be due to outside factors and elites switching sides. Everything comes down to the elites.

  21. To illustrate my point about people not thinking ahead. This is pro Putinist telegram. Talks about no coverage of post coup power struggle in Bolivia by the people who cheered it on and now cheering on coup in Belarussia. So people who hate Luka on videos and call cops “уроды” и “твари” have no idea that the next step is. It is not their progressive democracy but people who sit in power and wield the same power as Luka but for their own ends.

    https://t.me/boris_rozhin/12410

    “Знаете что сейчас происходит в Боливии, например? Там временная президент не хочет слазить со стула и откладывает (дважды) президентские выборы под предлогом Covid-19. Сторонники Моралеса строят баррикады, а страна частично парализована. Горячая фаза протестов началась в воскресенье.
    Угадайте что будет если загуглить “CNN Bolivia” или “BBC Bolivia”. А вообще ничего! Вот вообще ничего. Можете BBC/CNN Belarus для контраста загуглить.
    Может Радио Свобода или Amnesty рапортуют о жэстачайшых избиениях? Или может госдеп или представители сатрапий США выражают обеспокоенность? Ничего подобного.
    Вы тоже не отвлекайтесь от белорусского диктатора на разные боливии. Не отвлекаться в такой хорошей компании очень прекрасно”.

    Важно напомнить, что эта временная президент пришла к власти в результате переворота, под лозунгами борьбы за демократию, свободу и права человека. Так оно и получилось.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/opposition-blocks-roads-demand-election-200811095306608.html

  22. AnonFromTN says

    Official tally is a pure work of fiction. That equally applies to reported numbers for Luka and every other candidate.

  23. This is nonsense and BS. You would see much larger protests and something more closer to the ukrainian scenario if opposition had the majority support of the population.

    In any case it would have been very, very divided country, very unstable country, if the majority of the population supported the opposition.

    It is much more likely that the election results are something like 57/43 for Lukash.