Alexander Lukashenko: Can Europe’s ‘last dictator’ cling on to power?

The regime has been building resilience for 26 years but that doesn’t mean there isn’t trouble ahead, writes Oliver Carroll

Tuesday 11 August 2020 17:19 BST
Protesters in Minsk following the close of polls on Sunday
Protesters in Minsk following the close of polls on Sunday (EPA)

If Alexander Lukashenko is anything, he is a survivor. You don’t remain in power for 26 years without an instinct for self-preservation.

In battle after battle, Belarus’s “dictator” has applied the tactics of a sumo wrestler, smothering his political opponents, before dispatching them to prison or exile.

He’s also dealt with post-election controversies before. In 2010, for example, his security forces brutally suppressed an opposition rally in under eight minutes. Since then, he has only consolidated his security apparatus further, boosting loyal departments like the KGB, the security agency that still goes by its Soviet name, special forces and his interior ministry soldiers.

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