Lukashenka`s rise to power

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Lukashenka`s rise to power

Democrat Shushkevich and post-communist Kebich proved to be helpless in addressing these growing problems. As a consequence, they became objects of total mass hatred. By not doing anything to improve the situation, they discredited the democratic idea and reforms as such. This proved bad for the democratic opposition which lost the electorate’s support.

This formed a political vacuum which was filled by Alexander Lukashenko. He became the leader of a parliament commission fighting corruption that was created according to the people’s demand in 1993, and this was a sufficient step towards participating in the presidential elections.

In 1994, the Parliament adopted a new Constitution, which stated that the Republic of Belarus shall be ruled by a President. The presidential election company was a triumph for Alexander Lukashenko. He was able to find simple and comprehensive answers for every tricky question, he was very popular, and, most importantly, he brought hope to millions of poor people. He promised to bring the country back to order, stop crime and corruption, and give everybody a job. It is only natural that people did not believe that every promise would be fulfilled, but it was a chance for common people to fight the system they already hated, the system that people called “shushkebichevshchina” — an ironic noun that is composed from “Shushkevich” and “Kebich”.

Lukashenko won a landslide victory, gaining 82% of all votes in the second election round. Such numbers could not be affected by falsifications. And in 1994 Lukashenko took the oath as the first President of the Republic of Belarus.

From the very first day of his leadership, Alexander Lukashenko began to concentrate authority in his own hands. He insisted on implementing vertical authority, i.e. mayors of the cities and governors of the regions are subject to and controlled by the President. His second step was to take control over television and printed mass media¸ and independent publications were also suppressed by the government.

Author: Handbook on Belarus for International journalists