From the Document: "In 2020, protests against allegedly widespread electoral fraud and a brutal crackdown on protesters led to the rise of a mass opposition movement in Belarus, on a scale unseen since the country became independent in 1991 (Belarus previously was part of the Soviet Union). The protests emerged in the wake of Belarus's August 2020 presidential election, during which opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya mounted an unexpectedly strong campaign against Aleksandr Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus for more than 26 years. Since August 2020, about 35,000 Belarusians reportedly have been detained or imprisoned. More than 450, including 65 women, are considered political prisoners. At least 10 individuals have been killed or have died under suspicious circumstances. The United States, the European Union (EU), and others have called for an end to the crackdown and for the government to hold free and fair presidential elections. [...] In recent years, U.S. assistance to Belarus has focused on independent media and civil society, private sector development, and vulnerable populations. From FY2015 to FY2019, the United States provided a total of about $49 million in obligated foreign assistance to Belarus. For FY2020, the State Department allocated $9.67 million in aid to Belarus. The President's FY2022 State and Foreign Operations budget request includes $15 million 'to support the democratic aspirations of the Belarusian people.'"
CRS In Focus, IF10814
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/