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Łukasz Grajewski

Understanding Lukashenko

Commentators claim in unison: the decision of Alexander Lukashenko on throwing out ambassadors of the EU and Poland is irrational, causing damage mainly to Belarus itself. And that’s right – seeking sense in the advancing self-isolation of the regime is doomed to failure.

Alexander Lukashenko during a meeting with Dmitry Medvedev, source:, source: kremlin.ru

While analyzing recent actions of Belarusian authorities, one cannot forget even for a second who has been ruling this country for last 17 years. Alexander Lukashenko is a man morbidly ambitious, who made his whole his life inseparable from the fate of Belarus. This man, gifted with an exceptional political intuition beyond a shadow of doubt, was planning to become the president of Russia in the 1990s. Occupied with Soviet ideology, Lukashenko has no respect for the sovereignty of his country. He started integration with Russia not as means to make lives of his fellow Belarusians better, but to pave his way for the presidency of the Union State of Russia and Belarus. However, meanwhile the Russian political scene was taken over by Vladimir Putin. The ego of Lukashenko must have settled with being the father of Belarusian nation.

The self-esteem of the current head of Belarusian state holds him from understanding that he’s a ruler of a country that is insignificant, left behind in terms of organization and industry, and unattractive for investors. The cause could also lie in Lukashenko’s actions and decisions, for through all these years he preferred to take money from Russia and to sell state companies bit by bit, doing all this instead of reforming economic and agricultural sectors still stuck in socialism. Lukashenko lives in a dream in which Belarus takes centre stage with him as the playmaker. His political opponents are imprisoned or bargained to gain financial support from Europe. First he curries favour with the Kremlin, and then he attacks it and at the same time releases prisoners; threatens everyone and bangs his fist on the table in response to every tiny bit of criticism. He writes his own scenarios in accordance with his megalomania, and plays them out.

Throwing out the ambassadors of Poland and the European Union seems irrational, considering the current context of international policy and the art of diplomacy. Freezing diplomatic relations with the EU will damage Belarusian economy and harm citizens. Yet for Lukashenko, it’s his moment of triumph. One more time he’s on everyone’s lips and proves again how brave he is and that he has no consideration for anyone or anything. Now Bat’ka can tighten the screws in his country, oppress oppositionists even more, make life more difficult for social activists and cheat his own citizens while organizing pseudo-elections. He’s got no choice, for he plays the leading role in a performance based on his very own scenario: The Dictator – Alexander Lukashenko.

Translated by KD

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Łukasz Grajewski

Socjolog, absolwent Studium Europy Wschodniej UW. Pracował w administracji publicznej, aktywny w trzecim sektorze (Fundacja Wspólna Europa, Polska Fundacja im. Roberta Schumana, Inicjatywa Wolna Białoruś). Autor licznych publikacji o Europie Wschodniej w polskich mediach.

Contact: [email protected]

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