What Did Lukashenko Accomplish in 26 years in Belarus?

  • It was announced that Lukashenko won by a landslide. However, it is not accurate.
  • Lukashenko used to smuggle products into Russia.
  • Belarus seems to be of little use outside the former Soviet Bloc.

Belarus held presidential election on August 9. The winner of the election is Alexander Lukashenko. It should be noted that he has been in power for 26 years. There is video footage that was leaked via drone video recording, showing people climbing through windows to switch the ballots.

Presidential elections were held in Belarus on Sunday, 9 August 2020. Incumbent Alexander Lukashenko won a sixth term in office, having won every presidential election since 1994, with all but the first being labelled as neither free nor fair.

It was announced that Lukashenko won by a landslide. However, it is not accurate. Furthermore, the protests continue in Belarus. On August 10, there were multiple explosions reported in Minsk. There are myriad of injured from both sides. The injured include protesters and the law enforcement personnel.

There is an order to have all law enforcement report back to work and much needed reinforcements. Additionally, protests spilled outside of Minsk onto other regions.

So, what did Lukashenko accomplish during his more than quarter-century rule in Belarus?

  1. In recent years, Lukashenko has made huge profits by smuggling sanctioned food products from Europe to Russia, as well as by smuggling cigarettes to Russia. According to unconfirmed reports, Lukashenko personally protects the smuggling of goods to Russia under the sanctions radar.
  2. He developed cross-border deliveries of food and light industry to neighboring regions of Russia (Bryansk, Smolensk, Pskov, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kaluga, Tula and Oryol). Often these shipments were also smuggled without paying duties.
  3. The only great point for Lukashenko is he managed to maintain almost perfect employment stats, and was able to preserve jobs. The unemployment is one of the lowest, including great social subsidies and government support, which is completely opposite what is happening in the neighboring Ukraine. The politicians in Ukraine actually take away from the citizens.

The Belarusian economy is largely based on the natural resources exports in the agricultural sector.  The main trading partner and buyer of the Belarusian exports is Russia. In turn, Russia was supplying Belarus with oil and gas.

Alexander Lukashenko is a Belarusian politician serving as President of Belarus since the office was created on 20 July 1994. Western opponents of Lukashenko have described Belarus as ‘Europe’s last dictatorship.’

That was a sticking point this year betwixt Russia and Belarus. Lukashenko wanted to have prices lowered on Russian oil and gas, threatening to start buying it elsewhere.

One of the biggest disadvantages is that Belarus does not have any warm water access. That makes it less attractive to align itself with NATO, etc. That is one of the main advantages of the Baltic States in successful partnership with NATO.

There are no exits to the sea. Belarus is on the way of land transit of goods from Russia to Europe. In other words, from a transit point of view, it is interesting only to Russia and partly to Europe. However, Belarus is trying to interest China from a transit point of view (so far with little success).

There are no new large scale projects or cutting edge technology being developed in Belarus under Lukashenko. To note, Minsk does have bone marrow transplant center from unrelated donors, which accepts patients from the former Soviet Bloc. Nations like Ukraine, to this day, do not have even one facility of such nature.

Lukashenko’s main support base is close to 60. A majority of them were born and raised during the Soviet Era. They enjoy the communist structure, and are not interested in the change of the political climate in Belarus. The younger generation wants change and new opportunities.

Belarus is undergoing changes, and the result of this changes will outline the course for Belarus in the near future.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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