behind the headlines

Belarus Presidential elections: Lukashenko to stay in power?

Saturday, December 18, 2010 · Category Politics · comments 1


This decision has been taken today at a meeting between Lukashenka and head of the Central Election Commission Yarmoshyna. The presidential elections in Belarus are scheduled for the beginning of 2011, while elections to local councils are to take place in April 2010.

Lukashenko: “the last dictator in Europe”

Lukashenko is perhaps the most defiant political remnant of the Soviet Union. From a poor background in a rural district of Belarus, Lukashenko rose to become a collective farm manager in the Soviet era, and then made a transition to politics at the end of the 1980s.

Lukashenko: The Soviet Union still alive today

As a member of the Belarusian parliament he declared support for the hard-line coup against the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991. He was the only deputy of the Belarusian parliament who voted against the agreement to scrap the USSR and set up the CIS in its place in that year.

Lukashenko swept to power in 1994 on an “anti-Mafia” ticket, pledging firm state control of the economy and security, which had a powerful appeal to a people who had witnessed the ravages of shock therapy in neighboring Russia.

Lukashenko, his KGB and Hitler

He never made a secret of his authoritarian tendencies. Belarus is the only former Soviet State where the strong arm is still called the "KGB".

He also once praised Hitler as a model for the benefits of strong leadership, “as Germany was raised from the ruins thanks to firm authority, and not everything connected with that well-known figure Hitler was bad”. This was a remarkeble statement for more than one reason, but especially because since about a third of the Belarus population died in World War II.

Lukashenko's total control over Belarus

In 1996 he disbanded parliament after it tried to impeach him, and then strengthened control over the judiciary. Belarus became a presidential republic. Having almost completed two terms by 2004, Lukashenko again sought reelection, having first changed the constitution to scrap the nation’s two-term limit, following a referendum.

Foreign policy under Lukashenko has mirrored his often eccentric and prickly style. Reliant on Russia for political support, cheap energy and market for Belarusian products, he sought close ties with Moscow. However he resented any intrusion by Moscow in the local economy and fell out with the Russian government over rising gas prices and oil export duties.

Relations fell to a low in 2010 over his failure to tow Moscow’s line on recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. A thaw in relations seems to have taken place earlier this December when Lukashenko signed up to a common economic space with Russia and Kazakhstan.

Relations with Europe and the US remain problematic, due to criticism of his harsh regime and perceived lack of democracy. Yet he seems set to remain at the helm in Belarus as long as he is reluctantly tolerated by Russia and almost unopposed at home.


1. by Maryland about 7 years

Wow! Great to find a post koncknig my socks off!


Write code