VILNIUS, July 22. /TASS/. The protests that broke out in Belarus after the August 2020 presidential election had been organized through the Telegram messaging service, Roman Protasevich, one of the founders of the Nexta Telegram channel deemed as extremist in Belarus, said in an interview with Lithuania’s Vakaro Zinios newspaper on Thursday.
"The protests were organized and coordinated through Telegram channels. They were the real leader that brought people to the street," he pointed out.
According to Protasevich, the Belarusian opposition that capitalized on the protest wave has now lost its course. "When it became clear that the existing resources are not enough to overthrow [President Alexander] Lukashenko and the protests died out, fighting began [within the opposition]. Today, the Belarusian opposition is struggling not for change but for money, actually destroying itself," the blogger noted.
"As for sanctions, apart from worsening Belarus’ economic situation, they are also boosting its integration with Russia. When the West is talking about new measures to influence Belarus, it seems to be unable or unwilling to understand it," Protasevich added.
On May 23, Protasevich was detained in Minsk after a Ryanair flight bound from Athens to the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius had been forced to make an emergency landing in the Belarusian capital following a reported bomb threat. The bomb threat came up empty after the aircraft had landed. In late June, Protasevich was moved from a pre-trial detention center under house arrest.