The Alexander technique. Thirty years of Lukashenko’s dictatorship in pictures — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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The Alexander technique

Thirty years of Lukashenko’s dictatorship in pictures

The Alexander technique

Alexander Lukashenko addresses a meeting of the Komsomol in Minsk, 29 October 1998. Photo: EPA-PHOTO/EPA/Victor DRACHEV/STR/vk/fob/ow

Thirty years ago today, a 39-year-old collective farm director named Alexander Lukashenko stormed to victory in Belarus’s first, and so far only, free election. Since then, he has slowly transformed a fledgling post-Soviet democracy into a brutal police state where today thousands of opposition figures as well as ordinary members of the public languish in prison for openly supporting political pluralism.

Despite a vast popular uprising against his decades of corrupt and violent rule in 2020, which Lukashenko was only able to put down with help from the Kremlin, in February the veteran dictator announced that he would be standing for a seventh term as president in 2025, which would see extending his grip on power into a fifth successive decade.

Novaya Europe looks back at three decades of “Europe’s last dictator” in photographs.

Lukashenko looks on as Russian President Boris Yeltsin signs the Contract on Friendship, Neighbourliness and Cooperation in Minsk, Belarus, 22 February 1995. EPA/VIKTOR DRACHEV

Lukashenko looks on as Russian President Boris Yeltsin signs the Contract on Friendship, Neighbourliness and Cooperation in Minsk, Belarus, 22 February 1995. EPA/VIKTOR DRACHEV

Marchers in Minsk carry portraits of Lukashenko to celebrate the first anniversary of a referendum that gave him almost unlimited powers, 22 November 1997. Photo: EPA / VIKTOR DRACHEV

Marchers in Minsk carry portraits of Lukashenko to celebrate the first anniversary of a referendum that gave him almost unlimited powers, 22 November 1997. Photo: EPA / VIKTOR DRACHEV

An elderly man carries his granddaughter on his shoulders during May Day celebrations in Minsk, 1 May 1998. Photo: EPA / VICTOR DRACHEV

An elderly man carries his granddaughter on his shoulders during May Day celebrations in Minsk, 1 May 1998. Photo: EPA / VICTOR DRACHEV

Two elderly Russian women who wish Lukashenko was their president, in a Russian village close to the Belarusian border, 26 October 1998. Photo: EPA / VIKTOR DRACHEV

Two elderly Russian women who wish Lukashenko was their president, in a Russian village close to the Belarusian border, 26 October 1998. Photo: EPA / VIKTOR DRACHEV

Lukashenko and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin answer questions from journalists at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport, 9 December, 1999. Photo: EPA / SERGEI CHIRIKOV

Lukashenko and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin answer questions from journalists at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport, 9 December, 1999. Photo: EPA / SERGEI CHIRIKOV

Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin, Alexander Lukashenko and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma light candles in a church in the Russian village of Prokhorovka, near the Ukraininan border to mark 55 years of peace, 3 May 2000. Photo: EPA / REUTERS POOL

Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin, Alexander Lukashenko and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma light candles in a church in the Russian village of Prokhorovka, near the Ukraininan border to mark 55 years of peace, 3 May 2000. Photo: EPA / REUTERS POOL

A military cadet in Minsk reads a newspaper following Lukashenko's election victory, 10 September 2001. Photo: EPA / VICTOR DRACHEV

A military cadet in Minsk reads a newspaper following Lukashenko's election victory, 10 September 2001. Photo: EPA / VICTOR DRACHEV

A jubilant Lukashenko celebrates after he and his team mates win a 4x5km relay race in an amateur cross country skiing event in Raubichi, outside Minsk, 3 February 2001. Photo: EPA PHOTO EPA / MAXIM MALINOVSKY

A jubilant Lukashenko celebrates after he and his team mates win a 4x5km relay race in an amateur cross country skiing event in Raubichi, outside Minsk, 3 February 2001. Photo: EPA PHOTO EPA / MAXIM MALINOVSKY

Lukashenko speaks to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Minsk, 8 September 1999. Photo: EPA / RTR POOL / VASILY FEDOSENKO

Lukashenko speaks to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Minsk, 8 September 1999. Photo: EPA / RTR POOL / VASILY FEDOSENKO

Alexander Lukashenko joins military exercises near Hrodna, Belarus ahead of presidential elections the following month, 31 August 2001. Photo: EPA / ITAR-TASS

Alexander Lukashenko joins military exercises near Hrodna, Belarus ahead of presidential elections the following month, 31 August 2001. Photo: EPA / ITAR-TASS

A family celebrates Lukashenko's election victory as the political opposition claims “massive fraud”, 10 September 2001. Photo: EPA / VICTOR DRACHEV

A family celebrates Lukashenko's election victory as the political opposition claims “massive fraud”, 10 September 2001. Photo: EPA / VICTOR DRACHEV

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, Putin and Lukashenko chat during a people’s friendship festival held in the Ukrainian town of Novhorod-Siverskyi, 27 June 2004. Photo: EPA / ALEXEI PANOV

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, Putin and Lukashenko chat during a people’s friendship festival held in the Ukrainian town of Novhorod-Siverskyi, 27 June 2004. Photo: EPA / ALEXEI PANOV

Vladimir Putin and Lukashenko confer in the Kremlin, 23 June 2005. Photo: EPA / IVAN SEKRETAREV/ POOL

Vladimir Putin and Lukashenko confer in the Kremlin, 23 June 2005. Photo: EPA / IVAN SEKRETAREV/ POOL

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez welcomes Lukashenko at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, 26 June 2012. Photo: EPA / David Fernández

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez welcomes Lukashenko at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, 26 June 2012. Photo: EPA / David Fernández

Lukashenko lets his youngest son Nikolay cast his ballot for him at a polling station in Minsk during parliamentary elections in Belarus on 23 September 2012. Photo: EPA / TATYANA ZENKOVICH

Lukashenko lets his youngest son Nikolay cast his ballot for him at a polling station in Minsk during parliamentary elections in Belarus on 23 September 2012. Photo: EPA / TATYANA ZENKOVICH

Vladimir Putin, Alexander Lukashenko and Russian hockey player Vyacheslav Fetisov play in an ice hockey match in Sochi, Russia, on 4 January 2014. Photo: EPA / ALEXEY NIKOLSKY / RIA NOVOSTI / GOVERNMENT PRESS SERVICE

Vladimir Putin, Alexander Lukashenko and Russian hockey player Vyacheslav Fetisov play in an ice hockey match in Sochi, Russia, on 4 January 2014. Photo: EPA / ALEXEY NIKOLSKY / RIA NOVOSTI / GOVERNMENT PRESS SERVICE 

French actor Gérard Depardieu and Alexander Lukashenko carry scythes as they walk through the grounds of the official presidential residence outside Minsk, 22 July 2015. Photo: EPA / ANDREI STASEVICH

French actor Gérard Depardieu and Alexander Lukashenko carry scythes as they walk through the grounds of the official presidential residence outside Minsk, 22 July 2015. Photo: EPA / ANDREI STASEVICH 

Alexander Lukashenko helps construction workers carry a log during the construction of a rhythmic gymnastics centre in Minsk, 22 April 2016. Photo: EPA / MAKSIM GUCHEK / BELTA / POOL

Alexander Lukashenko helps construction workers carry a log during the construction of a rhythmic gymnastics centre in Minsk, 22 April 2016. Photo: EPA / MAKSIM GUCHEK / BELTA / POOL

Lukashenko and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko review an honour guard outside the Presidential Administration building in Kyiv, Ukraine, 21 July 2017. Photo: EPA / STEPAN FRANKO

Lukashenko and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko review an honour guard outside the Presidential Administration building in Kyiv, Ukraine, 21 July 2017. Photo: EPA / STEPAN FRANKO

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya at a rally in Minsk after she agreed to replace her husband Siarhei Tsikhanouski as the opposition candidate in the presidential election following his arrest, 19 July 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE / TATYANA ZENKOVICH

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya at a rally in Minsk after she agreed to replace her husband Siarhei Tsikhanouski as the opposition candidate in the presidential election following his arrest, 19 July 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE / TATYANA ZENKOVICH

Protesters in Minsk in front of riot police during an anti-Lukashenko protest after polling in the country’s 2020 presidential election ended, 9 August 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE / YAUHEN YERCHAK

Protesters in Minsk in front of riot police during an anti-Lukashenko protest after polling in the country’s 2020 presidential election ended, 9 August 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE / YAUHEN YERCHAK

A vast turnout for a demonstration against police brutality and the results of the Belarusian presidential election in Minsk, 16 August 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE / YAUHEN YERCHAK

A vast turnout for a demonstration against police brutality and the results of the Belarusian presidential election in Minsk, 16 August 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE / YAUHEN YERCHAK

A protestor injured during a demonstration against Lukashenko's projected election victory in Minsk, 9 August 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE / STRINGER

A protestor injured during a demonstration against Lukashenko's projected election victory in Minsk, 9 August 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE / STRINGER

The military blocks a demonstration against the results of the presidential elections, in Minsk, Belarus, 30 August 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE / STRINGER

The military blocks a demonstration against the results of the presidential elections, in Minsk, Belarus, 30 August 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE / STRINGER

Lukashenko attempts to rally his supporters in Minsk as demonstrations against his rule grow across Belarus, 16 August 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE / YAUHEN YERCHAK

Lukashenko attempts to rally his supporters in Minsk as demonstrations against his rule grow across Belarus, 16 August 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE / YAUHEN YERCHAK

Alexander Lukashenko attends a Eurasian Economic Union summit in Moscow, 8 May 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE / EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA / POOL

Alexander Lukashenko attends a Eurasian Economic Union summit in Moscow, 8 May 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE / EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA / POOL

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