Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, has often been called the last dictator of Europe. One of the reasons for that is that he has been serving as the president for 26 years now, which isn’t usual in real democratic countries. Unfortunately, the terrors of his dictatorship go way beyond manipulating the votes.
Who is Alexander Lukashenko?
The Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko was born in 1954 in Belarus when it was still part of the Soviet Union. After many years spent in the military, Lukashenko became Deputy to the Supreme Council of the Republic of Belarus in 1990. In 1991, when the Soviet Union was about to be dissolved, he was the only deputy who was passionately against it. But, Belarus did become an independent country and when the time came for the first president to be elected, Alexander Lukashenko won the majority of the votes. He became president in 1994 and has stayed in that role for 26 years now, which makes this one of the longest presidencies in Europe.
Soon after he became the president, it became clear that Belarus, although independent and seemingly democratic, was more of a dictatorship. Using the KGB, the country’s secret service he has spread fear and terror throughout the country in order to secure his everlasting rule. In order to remain president for as long as he has, he even had to change the Constitution to be in accordance with him. Moreover, any form of opposition has disappeared in Belarus, or better said, it was silenced. In Belarus, there is no freedom of speech, no ability to protest, and people have been stripped of many of their human rights. All in all, the country is far from being democratic.
The case of Vladislav Kovalev is just one of many that perfectly explain the current state of affairs in Belarus. In 2011, after Lukashenko won yet another election, huge protests started that received a lot of media attention. As dictators do, Lukashenko started silencing the protestors, sending them to jail and putting them to trial for simply speaking their minds. Western countries picked up on what was happening and Lukashenko got a lot of criticism all over the world. Then, a bomb went off in Minsk that killed 15 people and wounded almost 200. This became the only thing on everyone’s minds, and suddenly, nobody was talking about Lukashenko’s ruthless grip on the nation. Vladislav Kovalev, a passerby, was taken to jail and tortured into signing the confession to the crime, but everybody knew that Vladislav Kovalev was an innocent man. And everybody knew who was actually to blame for the bombing.
Besides neglecting human rights in Belarus, Lukashenko has also had a lot of controversies regarding things he has said in interviews or during speeches. Supporting and admiring Hitler has to be one of the worst ones, although it is difficult to choose. He praised Hitler’s authority, stating that a country with a firm hand always remains strong. Moreover, he appeared as anti-semitic and homophobic in many of his interviews, which isn’t something a leader of a country should be proud of.