Alexander lukashenko

What does Belarus’s opposition leader want?

There is an assumption that those fighting tyranny must instead want Western-style democracy, that the arc of history bends towards liberal representative government, allied inevitably to Washington and Brussels. Many former Soviet Union countries saw their politburos overthrown by young middle-class people espousing the desire for this kind of politics — from the Rose Revolution in Georgia to the Orange Revolution and Euromaiden protests in Ukraine (whether or not they eventually received that form of government is a different matter). But there is no logical imperative that connects dissatisfaction towards an autocrat with the kind of government and geopolitical order that will replace him, whether in Eastern Europe or elsewhere. Belarus,

Is this the end for Europe’s last dictator?

Alexander Lukashenko, labelled by the Bush administration as ‘Europe’s last dictator’, was never going to go down without a fight. In his final public address before Belarus went to the polls he offered a thinly veiled warning to those who wish to remove him from power: ‘[Our Belarus] is rather naive and a little bit fragile but she is beloved and when you love something you do not give it up.’ On election day, Lukashenko delivered on his grim campaign promise. Official exit polls gave the incumbent an implausible 80 per cent of the vote: his fifth landslide in 26 years at the helm. The lion’s share of presumed electoral