Aljaksandr Lukashenka

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Aljaksandr Lukashenka (2020)
Cyrillic ( Belarusian )
Аляксандр Рыгоравіч Лукашэнка
Łacinka : Alaksandr Ryhoravič Łukašenka
Transl. : Aljaksandr Ryhoravič Lukašėnka
Transcr. : Aljaksandr Ryhoravich Lukashenka
Cyrillic ( Russian )
Александр Григорьевич Лукашенко
Transl .: Aleksandr Grigor'evič Lukašenko
Transcr .: Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko

Aljaksandr Ryhorawitsch Lukashenka ( Russian: Alexander Grigorjewitsch Lukashenko ; emphasis: Alexánder Grigórjewitsch Lukashenko ; most used in German-language media: Alexander Lukashenko ; born  August 30, 1954 in Kopys , Belarusian SSR ) is a Belarusian politician and the President of Belarus since July 20, 1994 . Political scientists and observers often refer to him as “ Europe's last dictator ” because of his authoritarian style of government .

Lukashenko ousted with several generally assessed as undemocratic referenda the Council of the Republic and the House of Representatives called Parliament . Since then he has ruled the country as a de facto sole ruler. The European Union has no longer recognized him as the legitimate head of state since the allegedly falsified presidential election in 2020 and the subsequent mass protests in the country . The authorities reacted with violence to the mass protests against Lukashenka's rule in 2020. On September 1, 2020, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said it had received reports of over 450 documented cases of torture and ill-treatment since the day of the presidential election. This included cases of violence against women and children, as well as sexual abuse and rape.


Lukashenka studied agricultural science at the Agricultural Academy in Horki and history at the Pedagogical University in Mahiljou . From 1975 to 1977 he worked as an instructor for the border troops of the USSR in Brest . From 1980 to 1982 Lukashenka was a political deputy in a tank company of the Soviet Army . He then became secretary of the CPSU and director of a sovkhoz . He supported the 1991 August coup in Moscow against Mikhail Gorbachev .

Lukashenka claims that he was the only member of the Byelorussian Supreme Soviet (parliament) to have voted against the detachment of the Byelorussian Soviet Republic from the Soviet Union . In 1993 he was elected chairman of the parliamentary anti-corruption committee and accused leading members of the government of corruption , including the speaker of parliament and head of state Stanislau Shushkevich , who was forced to resign. In the subsequent election campaign marked by corruption allegations and classified as questionable by the OSCE and the USA , he was elected as the country's first president. He immediately took action against the press, which was politically and economically oriented towards the West, and repeatedly denounced the financial transfers by political organizations - including the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation - to friendly organizations and the media in Belarus.

Politics in the presidency

Lukashenka and Yeltsin at the signing of the Russian-Belarusian Union Treaty (1997)

First term of office (1994-2001)

As one of the first measures after his election, state symbols were introduced, clearly reminiscent of the Soviet era. Lukashenka turned away from the West, stopped privatization and sought a new edition of the Soviet Union including Russia , Ukraine and Belarus. To this end, in the second half of the 1990s he and Boris Yeltsin signed various, mostly without consequences, union treaties such as the one for the Russian-Belarusian Union . Only the defense and temporarily the customs union were implemented.

In 1999 and 2000, five politicians and members of the press who were opposed to Lukashenka disappeared (see the section on allegations of disappearances ).

Second term (2001-2006)

When Vladimir Putin took office , the climate in relation to Russia initially cooled, so that Lukashenka increasingly isolated his country towards the east. In 2001, he was confirmed as president in a questionable vote, although his first term had expired. In addition to foreign policy contact with Russia, Lukashenka gives priority to relations with North Korea , Turkmenistan , Qatar , Iran , Cuba , the People's Republic of China , Sudan and Venezuela (until 2003 also with Iraq and until 2011 with Libya ).

In 2002 the youth organization Belarusian Republican Young Union was founded, which is loyal to Lukashenka and is the successor to the Komsomol .

In the economy, Lukashenka follows a course without the reforms carried out in other Eastern European countries (among other things, he introduced a statutory minimum wage ). After the 1990s, an upswing began with annual growth rates of seven to eight percent. About eighty percent of the gross national product was generated in 2005 by state-owned companies.

Lukashenka at a meeting of the Eurasian Economic Community in Saint Petersburg in 2006 with Kurmanbek Bakiyev , Nursultan Nazarbayev , Vladimir Putin , Emomalij Rahmonov and Islom Karimov

In October 2004, in a referendum described by Western observers as “undemocratic”, a constitutional amendment was approved, which made Lukashenka possible for a third term from 2006 onwards . Political opponents have been sentenced to prison terms for denigrating the president. The opposition receives financial and political support mainly from Germany, Poland, the EU (the EU and its member states take separate positions) and the USA.

In autumn 2005, Russia and Belarus made further efforts to integrate some ex-Soviet republics and to create joint constitutional acts. In addition to the existing inter-parliamentary assembly and a body of government representatives, a low cross-border budget was agreed. A customs agreement , according to which Russian officials are allowed to control the Belarusian- Polish border, is in force.

In a speech to the UN General Assembly, Lukashenka criticized outside interference in his country and the role of the UN .

A referendum on joint constitutional acts was announced by the Russian State Secretary Pavel Borodin for 2006. President Lukashenka was also confident, although the basic principles are still open (competencies of the supranational Union Council, extent of “equal rights” of states of different sizes, etc.). In 2002, Lukashenka rejected Vladimir Putin's plan to include Belarus as a province in Russia. This had led to violent dissonances, which are allegedly now resolved. But there are still frictions , as plans for a common currency show. It was supposed to come into force on January 1, 2006, but there was no agreement on the country in which the ruble would be printed.

Third term (2006-2010)

Before the presidential election on March 19, 2006, Lukashenka tightened his crackdown on critics. Belarusian and Russian politicians and intellectuals have repeatedly criticized European organizations for financial support for market economy-oriented politicians. Lukashenka won the election with 83.0 percent of the vote and started his third term. Allegedly, his result was much higher, but according to his own statement, he let it down because a result over 90 percent would "not be believed".

Lukashenka in December 2008 at a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

The current government policy based on state intervention in the economy is particularly popular with the middle class .

As a result of human rights violations and dissonances regarding the country's opening to the market economy, the EU imposed an entry ban on the Belarusian government in 1997. On April 10, 2006, the ban was extended to a total of 31 members of the Belarusian leadership. The EU expressly reserved the right to take further measures against executives, for example the confiscation of foreign assets. However, there is much to suggest that such measures are ineffective and purely symbolic in nature.

On May 18, 2006, the European Union decided to freeze President Lukashenka's accounts and 35 other government officials. On June 19, 2006, the United States also tightened its sanctions against the government, allegedly freezing the assets of the President and nine other members of his administration in American banks at home and abroad. Lukashenka himself stated in an interview with the Berliner Morgenpost that he had "nothing stolen [and] no accounts at foreign banks".

In November 2007, the White Rus party was founded in Belarus . Based on the model of the Russian presidential party United Russia as a mass party, it is intended to support Lukashenka's policy and, if necessary, offer him the opportunity to mobilize mass rallies in support of him.

Fourth term (2010-2015)

On December 19, 2010, presidential elections were held again . There were large demonstrations against the government, which were brutally suppressed.

In 2012, relations with the EU cooled significantly. The European Union withdrew all of its ambassadors from Belarus and tightened sanctions. The Belarusian ambassadors then withdrew from Belgium and Poland . Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said publicly that Lukashenka was the “last dictator in Europe”. Lukashenka responded with a personal attack on Westerwelle: "Better dictator than gay".

Because many Belarusians work in Russia because of low wages, Lukashenka passed a law in 2012 that forbids the 13,000 employees in the state-controlled woodworking industry from giving up their jobs and going abroad.

In the course of the Ukraine crisis , Lukashenka turned away from his pro-Russian policy. In April 2015, Lukashenka ironically did not refer to himself as the only dictator in Europe, but jokingly said, referring to Putin, that there is a worse dictator than him. He also said at a press conference that he "will never fight the West to please Russia" and maintained good relations with the then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko . Regarding Russia's justification for annexing Crimea , he said: “Then we can also go back to the time of Batu Khan , to the time of the Mongol-Tatar yoke . And then you will have to give Kazakhstan, Mongolia and others practically the entire territory of Russia and Eastern Europe. ”According to the NZZ, he condemned“ the territorial expansion ”of the Kremlin . In September 2014 and February 2015 the peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia were held in the Belarusian capital Minsk .

Fifth term (2015-2020)

Lukashenka won the election in October 2015 with 83.5 percent of the vote and thus began his fifth term. The OSCE found discrepancies in the election; However, as there were slight improvements compared to previous years, the EU decided to initially suspend sanctions against Belarus for four months from November 2015.

Lukashenka is trying to strike a balance between Russia and the West. In 2016, the economy contracted by 3 percent according to projections, inflation is high and loan repayments in the billions to foreign donors were due this year. In order to pay the due foreign debts worth 3.3 billion dollars, Lukashenka applied for a new loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Belarus 2020, Lukashenka stood out due to his skepticism about the danger of the coronavirus. On the sidelines of an ice hockey game, for example, he said: “There is no virus here. Or do you see it flying around here somewhere? So not me". He described the pandemic as “psychosis” and advised that the virus be combated “with vodka, saunas and tractor driving”. On July 28, 2020, Lukashenka claimed to have survived a coronavirus infection. The pandemic was initially not reported on state television based on the views of the president.

In June 2020, Lukashenka dissolved the Belarusian government by decree and explained this with the Belarusian presidential election planned for August 2020 , for which he applied for a sixth term. Before the election, in July 2020, he had his greatest political adversary, Wiktar Babaryka , arrested and excluded from the election. Video blogger Sjarhej Zichanouski , who wanted to run for the presidential election, was arrested on May 29. Amnesty International has classified the two presidential candidates as political prisoners. In the place of Zichanouski, his wife Svyatlana Zichanouskaya ran , who managed to unite the electoral staff of Babaryka and the also unapproved candidate Valeryj Zapkala . Lukashenka responded to Zichanouskaja's candidacy by saying that Belarus is not yet ready for a woman at the top.

When there were mass protests in the country after the presidential election in August 2020 accusing Lukashenka of election fraud, he defamed the demonstrators as “people with a criminal past”, “alcoholics”, “drug addicts” and “foreign-controlled”. The Belarusian authorities, particularly the OMON units , mistreated arrested demonstrators. On September 1, 2020, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said it had received reports of over 450 documented cases of torture and ill-treatment since the day of the presidential election. At least six people are still missing. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer and 14 other UN human rights experts expressed concern about the reports and cases.

During a rally in Minsk, Lukashenka accused the demonstrators of destroying the country's future and being controlled from abroad. In doing so, he specifically spread propaganda statements in the country and contributed to their dissemination. Lukashenka said he would not allow the country to be destabilized.

Lukashenka gets out of his helicopter with a Kalashnikov in his hand

Aljaksandr Lukashenka stated that an election with a result of more than 80% could not be bogus, and also referred to the opposing demonstration during a public speech on August 16, calling on them to “not enter the country To bring disrepute, a peaceful, prosperous and calm land that is the envy of all in the world. Because of this, we have no friends and no followers. Everyone wants us to bend our knees. ”According to Lukashenka, the opponents are controlled by western puppeteers who do not want to see the course of the western Belarusian border near Brest and instead want to see them not far from Minsk as they did before 1939.

On August 17th he ruled out new elections during a factory visit and declared: “You have to kill me if you want new elections”. After demonstrators tried to march past the Palace of Independence , the residence of President Lukashenka, during a protest march on August 23 , they were blocked by police units. State media then showed how Lukashenka landed at the residence in a helicopter and got out with a bulletproof vest and a Kalashnikov . He had previously said that the demonstrators would "run away like rats". He was accompanied by his 15-year-old son Mikalaj , who appeared in full riot gear and also with a rifle at the ready.

Sixth term (since 2020)

On September 23, 2020, six weeks after the presidential elections and while protests were still ongoing against the allegedly falsified election result, Lukashenka was sworn in for his sixth term. Unlike usual, the ceremony took place without any major announcements. The European Union (EU) declared that the August 9 elections were neither free nor fair, and therefore denied Lukashenka's inauguration any democratic legitimacy. The United States , Canada , the United Kingdom and Ukraine made similar comments .

In early October 2020, the EU agreed on sanctions against 40 people accused of fraudulent elections and the crackdown on protests in Belarus. The exception was Aljaksandr Lukashenka. The reason for the exception is that this could make diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict more difficult and would deprive the EU of the opportunity to tighten its course again.

On November 6th, the first day of the new term of office, the EU, which had refrained from sanctions against Lukashenka in October, banned him, his son Viktor Lukashenka and 13 particularly loyal government representatives from entering the EU and freezing accounts. The government representatives include Lukashenka's press spokeswoman, the head of the presidential administration and the head of the Belarusian secret service KGB .

At the beginning of December 2020, Lukashenka, who has headed the National Olympic Committee (NOK) for 23 years , and his son Wiktar from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were provisionally banned from all Olympic activities, including the Summer Olympics in Tokyo (Japan) , as they were the Belarusians Insufficiently protecting athletes from political discrimination.

In a speech in mid-February 2021, Lukashenka announced his resignation from the office of president for 2022 at the earliest.

In May 2021, the four Berlin lawyers Mark Lupschitz, Onur Özata, Roland Krause and Benedikt Lux filed a criminal complaint with the Attorney General in Karlsruhe against Lukashenka as well as against security officials of his government "in the name and on the authority of victims of torture" . The attorneys had evidence of more than 100 cases of documented torture by officials in Belarus. The so-called world law principle allows Germany to prosecute international law crimes in other states.

Criticism and controversy

Statements about Adolf Hitler

Lukashenka caused a sensation in 1995 when, in an interview with the Handelsblatt newspaper, he praised Adolf Hitler's leadership style as a model for a Belarusian system of rule. Literally he declared: “It took centuries to restore order in Germany. This formation reached its climax under Hitler. This corresponds to our understanding of a presidential republic and the role of a president in it ”. He stated: "In its time, Germany was lifted from the ruins thanks to a very strict leadership, and not everything in Germany that had to do with the well-known Adolf Hitler was bad." A US State Department spokesman described the statements as "inappropriate" for the head of a state that suffered from Nazi aggression . Lukashenka refused to take the quote back, but stated that the consequences of Hitler's leadership style in foreign policy had been bad.

Disappearances of opposition activists

Demonstration in Warsaw in memory of Juryy Sacharanka, Wiktar Hantschar, Anatol Krassouski and Dzmitryi Sawadski

In 1999 and 2000 , four government opponents " disappeared ". These were the opposition politician Viktar Hanchar and Juryj Sacharanka , the businessman Anatol Krassouski and the cameraman Dsmitryj Zavadsky . Investigations by the Council of Europe suggested that they were kidnapped and murdered by so-called death squads with close contacts to the government. The Council of Europe held, among other things, the head of the administrative department of the administration of the President Viktor Uladzimirovich Scheiman and three other government officials directly responsible for the kidnappings and imposed entry bans into the European Union .

In 2000, the head of a special unit of the Belarusian Ministry of Interior was arrested in Belarus on suspicion of involvement in these crimes. Shortly afterwards he was released again on personal orders from Lukashenka and the investigating attorney general was dismissed.

In December 2019, Deutsche Welle released a documentary in which Juryj Harauski (Juri Garawski), a former member of a special unit of the Belarusian Ministry of the Interior, confirmed that his unit had arrested, taken away and murdered Hantschar and Krassouski.

Planned assassinations abroad

In 2021, a sound recording from 2012 was made public, which proves that Lukashenka had plans to assassinate opponents of the government abroad. Accordingly, the then head of the KGB secret service Vadsim Sajzeu said that the president would expect clear measures from the KGB and should have made one and a half million dollars available for them. Among other things, an attack on the journalist Pawel Sheremet living abroad is said to have been planned. Sajzeu said: “We are going to detonate a bomb and this damned rat will be torn to pieces.” In fact, Sheremet was murdered with a car bomb on July 20, 2016 in the Ukrainian capital Kiev . The recording of murder plans against three dissidents in Germany is also mentioned.

Dealing with protesters and plans to establish concentration camps

During the protests against Lukashenka's rule in 2020 , security forces used stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas. On August 10, 2020, the protester Aljaksandr Tarajkouski was shot dead as he approached special forces with his hands up. The stun grenades used left lacerations all over the body and the pressure wave of the explosion caused head and brain trauma. Several limbs were torn off as a result. Three prisoners suffered injuries in or on the way to Okrestino detention center, suggesting sexual violence. In October 2020, Lukashenka declared that no prisoners would be taken and threatened: "If someone touches a member of the military, they must at least leave without their hands."

In January 2021, a sound recording was released in which the commander of the internal forces and deputy interior minister of Belarus Mikalaj Karpjankou told security forces that they could cripple, mutilate and kill protesters in order for them to understand their actions. This is justified because anyone who takes to the streets would take part in some kind of guerrilla war. He is also discussing the establishment of camps, which are said to be surrounded by barbed wire, and in which the demonstrators will be held until the situation has calmed down. A spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry stamped the audio file as a fake. However, a phonoscopic examination of the audio recording confirmed that the voice on the recording belongs to Karpjankou. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe expressed concern about the statements. According to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty , such a warehouse near the city of Slutsk was actually said to have been used between August 13 and 15, 2020 . Many of the people detained there are believed to have been taken from the Okrestina prison in Minsk .

Public opinion and freedom of expression

Independent opinion polls are, as in general, the freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Belarus severely restricted. Surveys are monopolized by the government, which either does not publish their surveys or uses them for propaganda purposes .

According to a leaked internal survey, just a third of the population had confidence in Lukashenka. The last credible public poll in Belarus was a 2016 poll that found around 30 percent approval for Lukashenka.

Lukashenka's nicknames are "Sascha" (abbreviation of his first name) or "Batka" (little father).

Sympathizers and Reputation in Russia

Aljaksandr Lukashenka is so popular among Russian nationalists that Dmitri Rogozin wanted to nominate him as one of the presidential candidates in the 2008 Russian elections , but this would require Russian citizenship, which he does not have. The Lukashenko Movement emerged from this initiative in 2008 .

In general, however, Lukashenka's image in Russia is poor, which is not least due to the increasingly negative reporting in the Russian media.

Private life

Lukashenka with his son Mikalaj at a parade (2012)

Lukashenka is officially married to Halina Lukashenka , but she lives separately from him in a country house in Schklou . With her he has two sons, Dzmitryj Lukashenka and Wiktar Lukashenka . His youngest son Mikalaj Lukashenka (Russian Nikolai), who was born in 2004, comes from an officially unknown woman. Lukashenka likes to take Mikalaj to state visits and other events.

Lukashenka put his birthday on August 31st in order to be able to celebrate on the same day as his youngest son Mikalaj, but was actually born on August 30th, 1954.



In the bibliographic internet database RussGUS over thirty references are offered.

  • Heinz Timmermann: Lukashenko. Grabbing power in Moscow? In: Reports of the Federal Institute for Eastern and International Studies. (BIOst.) 34/1998, pp. 1-4.
  • Kirk Mildner: Belarus. Critical reflections on the politics and economy of the Lukashenko regime. In: Reports of the Federal Institute for Eastern and International Studies. (BIOst.) 12/2000, pp. 32-33.
  • Astrid Sahm: Lukashenko for the second. In: Sheets for German and International Politics. 46/2001, pp. 1173-1176.
  • Pawel Sheremet , Swetlana Kalinkina: Slutschainy president. Saint Petersburg, Moscow: Limbus-Press, 2004. ISBN 5-8370-0116-6 (Russian). The work takes a critical look at the regime of the Belarusian president. It describes the unlawful persecution and suppression of the opposition, political assassinations and kidnappings, and the manipulation of democratic processes and laws. One of the cases described in detail in this book is the trial against Pavel Sheremet himself after he and his colleagues from the Russian broadcaster ORT , the journalists Zavadsky and Ovchinnikov, reported on smuggling in 1997 and was subsequently imprisoned.

Web links

Commons : Aljaksandr Lukashenka  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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  77. Peter Hitchens. The comb-over Soviet-style tyrant who could soon be one of the West's favorite allies. DailyMail
  78. Anissa Haddadi. The Belarus Boy Wonder: Nikolai Lukashenko, 7, Anointed to become President IBTimes June 29, 2012
  79. Die Welt: Lukashenko sets out one day younger : welt online. September 1, 2010.
  80. В Москве Президенты договорились ( Memento from June 18, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  81. Aleksandr Lukashenko: Presidente de la República de Belarús
  82. Указ Президента Российской Федерации от 30 августа 2014 года № 577
  83. RussGUS under form search → Subject notations: 16.2.2 / Lukasenko * (freely accessible) ( Memento from April 8, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  84. PG Sheremet, Svetlana Kalinkina: Sluchaĭnyĭ prezident . (Biography of Aleksandr Lukashenko). Limbus Press, Sankt-Peterburg, Moscow 2004, ISBN 5-8370-0116-6 , p. 236 (Russian).
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