Every Friday, Law Decoded delivers analysis on the week’s critical stories in the realms of policy, regulation and law.
The political machinations of Eastern Europe have dominated recent headlines. Protests unprecedented since the fall of the Soviet Union have rocked Belarus for weeks. Outrage over the Aug. 8 election that has seen challenger Svetlana Tikhanovskaya flee the country has threatened the longtime dominion of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko, the so-called “last dictator in Europe.”
Protestors are calling the 80% win for Lukashenko a fraud. The regime has tried to crack down with its traditional tactics of disinformation and police violence, but resistance continues. As the EU prepares a sanctions package, the world watches for the reaction of Russia, which has long supported Lukashenko. But while Putin has hesitated to commit support to Lukashenko’s crumbling regime, a new scandal is racking his own.
Aleksei Navalny, the most visible political opposition to Putin left in the country, fell ill on a flight from Siberia to Moscow, necessitating an emergency landing in Omsk. As of press time, Navalny remains in a coma, with many believing him to have been poisoned by regime operatives. The hospital hosting him is doing nothing to alleviate suspicion, initially preventing his wife from getting to him and stonewalling work to evacuate him to Germany.
Former members of the USSR have long been powerhouses of blockchain development based on a combination of strong technology education, murky business environments, and political processes that oscillate between opaque and ominous. Use cases for anonymity or immutability flourish where governments flout election numbers or poison political opposition.