D H
Jul 9, 2020 · Last update 1 yr. ago.

Why is Belarus Europe’s last dictatorship?

Belarus is a landlocked country, bordered by Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, and formerly part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Belarus is often called Europe’s last dictatorship on account of the country only having one authoritarian government since 1994, that of Alexander Lukashenko. Lukanshenko is so repressive and comfortable with these authoritarian accusations he is even been famously quoted as saying, “better to be a dictator than be gay.” But what is it about Belarus that enabled such a stable dictatorship and allowed the country to remain a European outlier? Why is Belarus Europe’s last dictatorship? telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belarus/9122050/Better-to-be-a-dictator-than-be-gay-declares-Belarus-leader.html
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Historical becomes cultural
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The Nazi's influence
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Hungary anyone?
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It’s all on one man
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History and relations with Russia
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Historical becomes cultural

Belarus has had fleeting examples of truly autonomous leadership prior to the 20th century, and this history has influenced the cultural climate of the country, giving Belarusians no tradition of true self-governance on which to base a less dictatorial model of government. Belarusian history has been dominated by foreign intervention, the region was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian Empire, The Republic of Central Lithuania, the Second Polish Republic, and finally as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic before independence in 1991. There was one brief exception to this pattern, between the years of 1918 and 1919 there was an attempt to create an independent Belarusian state, however the experiment failed due to subjugation from German and Russian Imperial forces before the Bolshevik Red Army finally came to dominate the region. Resultantly, even the language is a mixture of Polish and Russian, and the Belarusian national identity is a fairly recent development.

youtube.com/watch?v=1i5OaRwSLMI bbc.com/news/world-europe-17941637 crwflags.com/fotw/flags/by_1991.html radabnr.org/usthramaty/hramata3

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D H
Aug 24, 2020
Created

The Nazi's influence

Belarus has experienced some dark chapters in its history that have hindered the country’s transition to a free democratic society with a healthy political landscape, and Nazi occupation is by far the darkest. During the Second World War around a quarter of Belarusian population was killed as Nazi forces captured the country. As part of the Russian Empire's ‘Pale of Settlement’, Belarus was home to large Jewish, Slavic and Roma populations, all of whom were targeted by the Nazi forces as they destroyed 5295 Belarusian villages, murdering all the inhabitants of 628 of those. The Nazi’s had planned to kill around 75% of Belarusians through their Eastern Europe ethnic cleansing campaign, Generalplan Ost. This shocking period of history gave the country a weaker foundation and decimated the Belarusian identity for decades to come.

blog.oup.com/2015/09/holocaust-memorial-belarus military.wikia.org/wiki/Khatyn_massacre

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D H
Aug 24, 2020
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DH edited this paragraph
Belarus has experienced some dark chapters in its history that have hindered the country’s transition to a free democratic society with a healthy political landscape, and Nazi occupation is by far the darkest. During the Second World War around a quarter of Belarusian population was killed as Nazi forces captured the country. As part of the Russian Empire's ‘Pale of Settlement’, Belarus was home to large Jewish, Slavic and Roma populations, all of whom were targeted by the Nazi forces as they destroyed 5295 Belarusian villages, murdering all the inhabitants of 628 of those. The Nazi’s had planned to kill around 75% of Belarusians through their Eastern Europe ethnic cleansing campaign, Generalplan Ost. This shocking period of history gave the country a weaker foundation and decimated the Belarusian identity for decades to come.

Hungary anyone?

It is effectively inaccurate to describe Belarus as Europe's LAST dictatorship when hungry, under the leadership of Viktor Orbán has done so much to pull his country back in this direction. During his time as Prime Minister of Hungary Orbán has manipulated the constitution to allow his party a two-thirds majority in parliament, despite receiving 44% of votes, enabling what is basically a one party state with the media and judicial system completely under his control. Orbán put in place a state of emergency in 2016, using the migrant crisis as the original pretext to clamp down democracy. This state of emergency and his tight grip on power was never rescinded over the next four years only getting stronger through the COVID-19 pandemic, passing legislation to allow Orbán to indefinitely rule-by-decree.

thespec.com/opinion/contributors/2020/04/06/is-hungary-the-first-democracy-to-become-a-dictatorship-in-covid-19-time.html theowp.org/hungary-becomes-a-dictatorship-amid-pandemic slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/03/orban-hungary-dictatorship-eu-nato.html

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D H
Aug 24, 2020
Created

It’s all on one man

Belarus was a ruled under the dictatorship of the Soviet Union as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic from 1922 until independence in 1991. But the election of the then unknown Alexander Lukashenko as the country’s first president in 1994 saw the country leaving one dictatorship just to step straight into another. Since coming to power Lukashenko has constructed an authoritarian regime, repressing free elections, political opponents, and a free media, while instilling a cult of personality by utilising Soviet era nostalgia. In the country's most recent elections we have had a fresh reminder of just how repressive a regime 'Europe's Last Dictator' has put in place, with police violently beating protestors in the streets and the main political opposition fleeing the country. Wide accusations of election rigging have sparked a massive flurry of protests being dubbed the “Slipper Revolution” in an attempt to stamp out this corrupt cockroach.

web.archive.org/web/20070928082144/http://www.open.by/belarus-now/cont/1998/1117/politics/bg5-pol.html web.archive.org/web/20070929011937/http://www.zubr-belarus.com/english/index.php?show=oldpress%2Foldpress058 georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2004/10/20041020-14.html courthousenews.com/in-belarus-protests-continue-against-europes-last-dictator voanews.com/europe/slipper-revolution-shakes-belarus

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D H
Aug 13, 2020
Created

History and relations with Russia

In 1922 Belarus helped form the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and enjoyed nearly a decade of cultural development, gaining a distinct class of intellectuals, poets, and authors. However during the 1930s Stalin’s paranoid purges led to the eradication of the Belarusian intelligentsia by death or exile. This period of harmful Russian relations laid the foundations for dictatorship to flourish, something compounded further and favoured by Russia presently under Vladimir Putin, with both Belarus and Ukraine acting as a geographic buffer against Europe and NATO. According to Oleksiy Honcharenko, of Ukraine’s European Solidarity Party, Putin is a common problem for both Belarus and Ukraine, stating, “Putin finds the change of power in the way that it happened in Ukraine during the revolutions unacceptable, and this seems to be the only way in which it can happen in Belarus.” [1]

belarusdigest.com/story/stalins-victims-in-belarus-to-remain-unburied-and-nameless taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2020/07/09/2003739614 [1] charter97.org/en/news/2020/7/9/385224

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D H
Jul 10, 2020
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DH edited this paragraph
In 1922 Belarus helped form the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and enjoyed nearly a decade of cultural development, gaining a distinct class of intellectuals, poets, and authors. However during the 1930s Stalin’s paranoid purges led to the eradication of the Belarusian intelligentsia by death or exile. This period of harmful Russian relations laid the foundations for dictatorship to flourish, something compounded further and favoured by Russia presently under Vladimir Putin, with both Belarus and Ukraine acting as a geographic buffer against Europe and NATO. According to Oleksiy Honcharenko, of Ukraine’s European Solidarity Party, Putin is a common problem for both Belarus and Ukraine, stating, “Putin finds the change of power in the way that it happened in Ukraine during the revolutions unacceptable, and this seems to be the only way in which it can happen in Belarus.” [1]
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