Opposition leaders have either been detained or forced to leave the country as massive protests - a first of their kind - gather steam.
Belarus’s Russian-backed autocratic leadership has cracked down on the opposition as large-scale protests against the country’s longtime leader, Alexander Lukashenko, continue to hit the capital Minsk.
Several opposition leaders, who have been instrumental in launching the anti-government protests after last month’s allegedly rigged presidential elections, now fear for their lives - many have already left the country.
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Lukashenko's main challenger, who was recently filmed walking towards the presidential palace with a rifle, left Belarus for Lithuania, a neighbouring state. With elections around the corner, she is out of the picture as she felt her life was in danger.
Another prominent opposition figure, Veronika Tsepkalo, left Belarus for the Baltic state of Lithuania, formerly part of the Soviet Union, the predecessor state to the Russian Federation.
Most recently, Belarus, which appeared to use the expulsion of prominent opposition figures as a tactic to weaken the anti-government movement across the country, has also forced another leading opposition leader, Maria Kolesnikova, to flee.
According to the opposition Coordination Council, some plainclothes and mask-wearing state operators abducted Kolesnikova in the centre of Minsk, driving her and two other council members to the Ukraine border.
But she refused to leave the country, triggering the government to arrest her. Even some social media accounts suggested that she tore up her passport to prevent her forcible banishment from Belarus to Ukraine.
Both Ukraine and Lithuania, which were formerly under Russian political influence, have turned their faces toward the West. Moscow strongly backs Lukashenko, even offering military assistance if needed.
Belarus: a Russian satellite state?
Belarus, which means White Russia, is a Russian-majority state in Eastern Europe.
Some analysts have argued that Lukashenko’s troubles are a bad omen for Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose approval ratings have dropped to their lowest levels, according to different surveys.
Lukashenko, an ally of Putin’s, appears to emulate Moscow's tactics, known for its brutal practices including exiling, poisoning and assassinating its political enemies.
The loss of Belarus could leave Russians with an unbearable pain to bear - it was forced to leave the Baltic states after the collapse of the communist Soviet Union in the late 1980s.
Since then, Moscow has also lost serious political ground in Ukraine. Anti-Russian opposition forces eventually claimed power in Kiev, a city with deep historical memories for Russians, especially since it was the old capital of their first state in the late 9th century.
“NATO troops are at our gates. Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and our native Ukraine are ordering us to hold new elections,” Lukashenko said last month as pressure has grown against his one-man rule.
Even he claimed that Belarus would “die as a state” in the case of new elections, portraying himself the ultimate saviour of the land-locked country.
“I have never betrayed you and will never do so,” he assured.
However, neither his fellow citizens, nor the EU leadership have been left impressed with Lukashenko’s version of patriotism.
The EU condemned the arrests in strong terms on Monday.
“Arbitrary arrests and kidnappings on political grounds in Belarus, including this morning’s brutal actions against Andrei Yahorau, Irina Sukhiy & Maria Kalesnikova (Kolesnikova) are unacceptable,” wrote EU foreign-policy chief, Josep Borrell, on Twitter.
Borrell also urged Belarussian authorities to act decently against its own citizens.
Despite Lukashenko's hard-headed tactics against opposition figures, and arrests of at least 7,000 protesters up to date, tens of thousands of people have still shown up in the streets of Minsk to protest the state’s suppressive policies at the weekend.