Aleksander Lukashenko has been the undisputed leader of Belarus for over 25 years. How is this even possible? Is it truly only through the plethora of dictatorial measures he employed during that time? Certainly not! The international media would have us believe that history began 15 minutes ago and that everything is black and white. This is not only dishonest (misinformation, if you will), but also insulting to their audience’s intelligence.
There is no doubt that the political process in Belarus is even remotely similar to that seen in countries where the liberal-democratic order has long been established and has become a dominant part of the political culture. Belarus clearly employs some very serious authoritarian measures, and there can hardly be any talk of political democracy, particularly in the last decade. To simply dismiss it as a bad political practice and rant and rave about human-rights violations (of which there are many, no doubt) is infantile and meaningless, as it leaves us with no understanding of the situation and no ideas about how it might be transformed.
The only conclusion one can draw from international media coverage of recent events is that Lukashenko is an evil persona who brutally treats the good people who want to depose him. This is not just a simplistic viewpoint; it is intellectual boorishness that anyone claiming to have a nuanced viewpoint should reject, regardless of what they think of Lukashenko or their political convictions and affiliation.
The hosts of “On the Barricades,” Maria Cernat and Boyan Stanislavski, discuss Belarus and its dictatorial ruler with Malgorzata Kulbaczewska-Figat, a Polish researcher and expert in Eastern European and post-Soviet affairs, as well as a journalist with the Polish leftist webportal Strajk.eu. Why is Lukashenko still in power after more than a quarter-century? Why have the Russians become so enraged with him over the last decade? How are Belarussian society’s legitimate grievances used as geopolitical leverage against Russia? Why should Protasevich’s arrest come as a surprise? This and more can be found in the 33rd episode of “On the Barricades,” hosted by Maria Cernat and Boyan Stanislavski, the editors of “The Barricade.”
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