Arab Today, arab today the last dictator in europe
Last Updated : GMT 05:55:37
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

The Last Dictator in Europe

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today The Last Dictator in Europe

Minsk - Arabstoday

Every evening, at the entrance to the Red Church in the centre of Minsk, a dozen or so citizens, with bright red and white scarves hanging from their necks, gather around the imposing sculpture of Archangel Michael, the patron saint of Belarus. Cast in bronze, the angel wears an expression of righteous fury as he runs his spear through the mouth of a vanquished dragon. Those assembled at his foot begin with a silent prayer. Then they join hands and sing a hymn. At the end of it, someone reads from a small notebook: a memorial roll call for the friends, sons, daughters, mothers and husbands who have been killed, imprisoned or simply disappeared for opposing president Alexander Lukashenko. Belarus. Flat, forested and landlocked between Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine and Russia, it resembles not so much a country as a desolate captive. Absorbed into Bolshevik Russia in 1919, it re-emerged as a sovereign state from the detritus of the Soviet Union seven decades later. But what seemed like the end of history to triumphant spectators in the West was, for many Belarusians, the beginning of an inscrutable future. \"The popular view\", Brian Bennett writes in his authoritative new book on post-Soviet Belarus, The Last Dictatorship in Europe: Belarus Under Lukashenko, \"was that the break-up of the USSR had brought uncertainty.\" As Britain\'s ambassador to Minsk from 2003-2007, Bennett studied Lukashenko closely. His book offers an unsparingly detailed account of his rise from obscurity and his ruthless accretion of power. Appointed in 1993 as chairman of a committee investigating corruption, Lukashenko seized the day. A populist by instinct, he \"made a rousing speech vowing to recreate the Soviet Union on a new, higher plane\". He was energetic and youthful, not yet 40. Politicians \"sensed that Lukashenko was not someone to mess with\", although dictatorship seemed a distant prospect, given that the speaker of the Supreme Soviet (the interim parliament of Belarus) was averse to the idea of a presidential system. Then, in January 1994, Bill Clinton, the US president, visited Belarus and members of the Supreme Soviet, seduced by the presence of a young and charismatic leader, sidelined the speaker and opted for a presidential system. In July, six months after Clinton\'s visit, Lukashenko won a run-off election. One of his first acts as president was to order the shooting down of two Americans who had strayed into Belarusian airspace in a hot-air balloon; their deaths were described as an accident at the time, but Bennett discloses that those involved in the shooting \"were decorated\". Within Belarus, Lukashenko moved rapidly: he issued 350 presidential decrees in not much more than a year after assuming office. By 1996, he had consigned the constitution to the rubbish bin, introduced the death penalty, had his opponents arrested and consolidated his control over the media. Parliamentarians who refused to rubber-stamp his laws had their salaries withheld. Lawyers who opposed him were disbarred. A former speaker of parliament who did just that was refused a licence because he had a criminal record: \"He had stepped off the pavement and onto the road during a demonstration in 1997.\" By 1999, several prominent figures in the Belarusian opposition had disappeared. Quoting from suppressed official reports, Bennett establishes that the dates on which the official execution pistol was signed out corresponded with the dates of the disappearances. The orders came from the top.

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today the last dictator in europe Arab Today, arab today the last dictator in europe

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Jordan airline suggests flyers 'talk'

GMT 11:59 2017 Friday ,24 March

Jordan airline suggests flyers 'talk'
Arab Today, arab today Sheds light on major steps in 12-year career

GMT 06:07 2017 Monday ,27 February

Sheds light on major steps in 12-year career
Arab Today, arab today Dozens dead in US-led Syria strikes

GMT 08:35 2017 Thursday ,23 March

Dozens dead in US-led Syria strikes
View News in Arabic - Culture: مراجعة كتب
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Yemen children dream of school

GMT 07:25 2017 Friday ,24 March

Yemen children dream of school
Arab Today, arab today MP submits a petition to dismiss university head

GMT 06:21 2017 Friday ,24 March

MP submits a petition to dismiss university head
Arab Today, arab today Salvage of South Korea's Sewol ferry

GMT 04:51 2017 Friday ,24 March

Salvage of South Korea's Sewol ferry
Arab Today, arab today Prepares to give stargazers an eyeful

GMT 13:38 2017 Monday ,06 March

Prepares to give stargazers an eyeful
Arab Today, arab today Audi RS 5 Coupe acquires new design

GMT 13:22 2017 Thursday ,23 March

Audi RS 5 Coupe acquires new design
Arab Today, arab today Renault Trezor wins design award

GMT 11:56 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

Renault Trezor wins design award
Arab Today, arab today Merna Waleed praises her work with Soad Hosni

GMT 07:03 2017 Wednesday ,22 March

Merna Waleed praises her work with Soad Hosni
Arab Today, arab today 2017 already marked

GMT 15:25 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

2017 already marked

GMT 07:12 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

Donia Abdel Aziz participates in "Game of Silence"

GMT 22:00 2017 Thursday ,23 March

Number of unwedded girls amounts to 2.5m

GMT 10:34 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

Mexico threatens to ditch US corn imports

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 07:38 2017 Friday ,24 March

Pass health bill Friday or he'll move on

GMT 07:36 2017 Wednesday ,22 March

US, Britain ban laptops on flights

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday