{{ subpage.title }}

Europe’s last dictator, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko

Frequently called Europe's last dictator, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Lukashenko has sailed smoothly to victory in all six elections he's stood in, despite widespread corruption and fraud in each one. But in 2020 the biggest threat so far to Lukashenko's tight grip on government came in an unlikely package—a former schoolteacher and stay at home mom, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. After the election result was finalized, Lukashenko claimed victory, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets, and Tsikhanouskaya leads the opposition in exile. Lukashenko recently took his boldest move yet, diverting a plane en route from Greece to Lithuania to arrest another Belarusian dissident. Ian Bremmer discusses whether a democratic transition is remotely possible in Belarus on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: The fight for democracy in Europe's last dictatorship

Is there actually a bromance between Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko?

Do Russian president Vladimir Putin and Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko actually have a good relationship, as photos of them together on Putin's yacht would suggest? Exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya commented, "You know, the strangest thing, maybe the most obvious thing, is that the whole world understands that these two people are not friends. They are making this picture to try to persuade the Russians and the world that they are together." The reality, in her opinion, is that Moscow may be looking for suitable candidates to replace Lukashenko in a new election, because the crisis in Belarus is very inconvenient for the Kremlin. Tsikhanouskaya would prefer that Russia not interfere with Belarusian politics, she said in a conversation with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: The fight for democracy in Europe's last dictatorship

Podcast: A Belarusian opposition leader’s fight for democracy


Listen: Is there a path to democracy for Europe's last dictatorship, Belarus? Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya discusses her hopes and fears for the country with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World Podcast. President Alexander Lukashenko has maintained a tight grip on power in Belarus for the last 26 years and rigged the results of his last election which led to widespread protest and unrest in his country, though few consequences globally. But will he now be held accountable after diverting a flight between two European capitals to arrest a dissident journalist? And just how close are he and Vladimir Putin?

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

US global reputation a year after George Floyd's murder; EU sanctions against Belarus; Olympics outlook

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics on World In 60 Seconds (aka Around the World in 180 Seconds) with help from Moose the dog:

On the anniversary of George Floyd's murder, have race relations in the United States tarnished its reputation globally?

Sure it doesn't help. There's no question in the United States is one of the most racially divided and violent countries among advanced industrial democracies. And to the extent that the United States attempts to talk about human rights globally, it has a harder time doing that than other G7 countries would. And the Russians historically, and increasingly the Chinese, are trying to propagandize pretty hard by pointing out American hypocrisy. So I think it matters, but I would still argue that what the United States does internationally probably matters a lot more in terms of the way the US is perceived by those countries. So, no question it's important. And the legacy one year in, so far in the United States in terms of improving race relations, the state of that trajectory does not look great right now.

Read Now Show less

EU likely to declare Belarus airspace unsafe, wider response to follow

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, discusses Belarus' diversion of a Ryanair flight and the European Union's response:

What is really happening with Belarus?

Well, what Lukashenko did yesterday was completely unacceptable. It was air piracy, state sponsored air piracy. And if this is allowed to stand, then no one can fly in the world. If dictators all over the world can pick aircraft out of the sky with a fighter or two in order to arrest people that they dislike, then the entire regime of commercial air transport in the world is gone.

Read Now Show less

Flight diversion in Belarus is a criminal act

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer, here. Happy Monday to you. And yeah, I'm not in New York. I'm in Nantucket for a few days, working as usual, but I'm willing, I'm trying will summer into being. And the shirt, if nothing else, is annoying and distracting people and making me feel more summery.

But not so summery in Belarus, my goodness. The Belarusian president, illegitimate ostensibly reelected through fake elections, President Alexander Lukashenko. You remember all of the demonstrations against him, the support for the opposition movement in Europe and the United States. Not so much in Russia and President Putin and kind of petered out and police repression and he gets to still run the country, Mr. Lukashenko. And now, has engaged in what European leaders are calling state terrorism. Certainly, a hijacking, a level of piracy, with a Ryanair plane, that's an Ireland flagged carrier, going from Athens to Vilnius, two NATO allies, two European union members, through Belarusian airspace. And the Belarusians force the plane down to Minsk because a passenger on the plane is a Belarusian opposition journalist, and they have wanted him in jail. He's been a thorn for the Belarusian government and the president.

Read Now Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

Latest