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My position and the state will never allow me to become a dictator, but an authoritarian style of rule is characteristic of me, and I have always admitted it. You need to control the country, and the main thing is not to ruin people's lives.
~ Alexander Lukashenko, August 2003

Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko (born August 30, 1954) is President of Belarus, having assumed the post on 20 July 1994. Before his career as a politician, Lukashenko worked as director of a state-owned agricultural farm and spent time with the Soviet Border Troops and the Soviet Army. When he first entered politics, he was seen as a champion against corruption and was the only deputy to vote against the independence of Belarus from the Soviet Union.

Under Lukashenko's rule, the Belarusian government's conduct has been criticized in reports by international non-government organizations for violations of human rights and of international law. [8] [9] [10] Belarus has been called "the last true remaining dictatorship in the heart of Europe" by former and current European and American leaders.[11] [12] He and other Belarusian officials are also the subject of sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States for human rights violations off and on since 2006.[13][14] His domestic policies are similar to those of the former Soviet Union, maintaining government control over key industries and denouncing the privatization seen in other former Soviet republics. He is also highly Homophobic with him even saying “It’s better to be a dictator than gay”.

Biography

Lukashenko graduated from the Mogilyov Teaching Institute and the Belarusian Agricultural Academy. In the mid-1970s he was an instructor in political affairs, and he spent five years in the army. He subsequently held minor posts in the Komsomol (communist youth organization) and in local party organizations. From 1982 through 1990 he held management and party posts at collective and state farms and at a construction materials combine. He was elected to the parliament of the Belorussian S.S.R. in 1990.

In parliament Lukashenko created a faction called Communists for Democracy. He was the only deputy to oppose the December 1991 agreement that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He maintained a close association with conservative communist factions in independent Belarus and had links with similar groups in Russia. In 1994 he addressed the Russian State Duma in Moscow with an appeal for the formation of a new union of Slavic states.

Lukashenko was elected president of Belarus in 1994. Among other things he promoted closer ties with Russia and in the succeeding years signed a number of agreements with Russian President Boris Yeltsin that called for various forms of union between the two countries. In 1996 he persuaded voters to approve a new constitution that gave him sweeping additional powers, including the right to prolong his term in office, to rule by decree, and to appoint one-third of the upper house of parliament. An authoritarian and unpredictable leader, he resisted economic and political reforms, suppressed dissent in the media and among the people, and led Belarus into isolation from its European neighbours and the international community.

In 1999 Lukashenko and Yeltsin succeeded in signing a Treaty on the Creation of a Union State, which proposed broad cooperation but stipulated independence for both states. Although Lukashenko’s term of office had been scheduled to expire in 1999, he continued in office under the new terms he had negotiated. Reelected in 2001, he oversaw the passage in 2004 of a controversial amendment that allowed him to seek a third term. Lukashenko won the 2006 election amid allegations of tampering. Many countries and organizations condemned the election, and the European Union (EU) subsequently barred Lukashenko and a number of his officials from entering any of its member countries. In 2008, in an attempt to improve relations with Belarus, the EU temporarily removed its travel ban against the president. Lukashenko easily won another term as president in elections held in late 2010, and, as in 2006, there were allegations of voting irregularities.

On 11 October 2015, Lukashenko was elected for his fifth term as the President of Belarus. On mid-September 2017, Lukashenko oversaw the advancement of joint Russian and Belarusian military relations during the military drills that were part of the Zapad 2017 exercise. Just over three weeks later, he was inaugurated in the Independence Palace in the presence of attendees such as former President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, Chairman of the Russian Communist Party Gennady Zyuganov and Belarusian biathlete Darya Domracheva.

in August 2018, Lukashenko fired his prime minister Andrei Kobyakov and various other officials due to a corruption scandal. Sergei Rumas was appointed to take his place as prime minister. In May 2017, Lukashenko signed a decree on the Foundation of the Directorate of the 2019 European Games in Minsk. In April 2019, Lukashenko announced that the games were on budget and on time and eventually he opened the 2nd edition of the event on 21 June. Between 1–3 July 2019, he oversaw the country's celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Minsk Offensive, which culminated in an evening military parade of the Armed Forces of Belarus on the last day, which is the country's Independence Day.

In August 2019, Lukashenko met with former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who has lived in exile in Minsk since 2010, in the Palace of Independence to mark Bakiyev's 70th birthday, which he had marked several days earlier. The meeting, which included the presentation of traditional flowers and symbolic gifts, angered the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry which stated that the meeting "fundamentally does not meet the principles of friendship and cooperation between the two countries". On 29 August, John Bolton, the National Security Advisor of the United States, was received by Lukashenko during his visit to Minsk, which was the first of its kind in 18 years. In November 2019, Lukashenko visited the Austrian capital of Vienna on a state visit, which was his first in three years to an EU country. During the visit, he met with President Alexander Van der Bellen, Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein, and National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka. He also payed his respects at the Soviet War Memorial at the Schwarzenbergplatz.

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