LIFE

Belarus: Europe’s Last Dictatorship

Alexander Lukashenko the dictator of Belarus famously said “It’s better to be a dictator than gay”. And you thought Putin was bad.

Lukashenko has a 9-year-old son, Kolya, who is also a little bastard (in both senses of the word). Kolya follows him wherever he goes. He appears to be a chip off the old block; according to a witness he once threw away a plate of Belarusian food, shouting, “I can’t eat this sh*t!” In another encounter he is supposed to have told a stewardess who refused to let him shut the door of the presidential plane, “I’ll have you shot when I grow up.” Ahhhh cute.

VENEZUELA-BELARUS-CHAVEZ-LUKASHENKO

So how has such a man risen to such a position? Part of the answer to that question lies in Belarus’ hard and horrid history. The Poles, Lithuanians, Russians, Napoleon, Hitler and the Soviet Union have all tried to grab the state over the years. Hitler laid waste to more than 2 million people — 25% of their population. An example of their WWII suffering is summed up by the Khatyn massacre where Nazis herded the 150 occupants of Khatyn village into a barn and burned them alive.

Lukashenko - Belarus post war minsk 2

When Stalin rode in to a derelict post-war Minsk (pics above and below) he was welcomed as a hero and did actually get the country breathing again, they became fairly prosperous. So the older generation have a soft spot for communism in some sense. However Stalin wasn’t all good, his purges saw the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Belarusians. Then Chernobyl contaminated a fifth of the country and millions of its people. Basically they’ve had a harsh ride.

Lukashenko - Belarus post war minsk 2

☛ Read Next: Chernobyl: The Worst Nuclear Disaster Of All Time


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