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A woman in a former Belarusian national flag reacts as opposition supporters gather during a rally to protest the official presidential election results.

The Belarusian crisis and the influence of Russia

The Belarusian Crisis

April 2021, Number 11.01

“The election in Belarus are proof that many Belarusians are not ready to accept the victory of incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko that was announced by the Central Election Commission. According to the official results, he won more than 80% of the votes. The situation was further aggravated by the unprecedented level of police violence against protesters who took to the streets to express their disagreement with the official election results. The Belarusian authorities relied on Russian support and accused the West of organizing protests with the aim of overthrowing the government. However, Lukashenko made similar accusations against Russia before the election protests. Why did the situation turn upside down? Let us consider the reasons.

Lukashenko has ruled the country for 26 years and is the longest-reigning leader of a European country (not counting monarchs). He was first elected in 1994, and reelected in 2001, 2006, 2010 and 2015. In 2004, he initiated a referendum that removed from the constitution a limit to the maximum number of terms the same person can hold the presidency. During his tenure, Lukashenko has repeatedly been accused of restricting civil rights and freedoms and usurping power...”

Excerpt from Pavlo Troian, “The Belarusian Crisis,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 11, No. 1, 2021: 54-59.

About the Author

Pavlo Troian is a diplomat who has served in the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2009. He has worked in the ministry’s press service and U.S. and Canada office as well as in the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the Commonwealth of Independent States (in Minsk, Belarus) and the Embassy of Ukraine in Belarus.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.