Russia: The Soviet Union Survives in Belarus

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March 20, 2006: The U.S. accused the government of Belarus of running a major illegal arms exporting operation. The weapons sales, mainly to Iran and African countries and warlords, brings in over two billion dollars a year, with most of the profits going to senior government officials, particularly president Lukashenko.

March 19, 2006: President Alexander Lukashenko received 83 percent of the vote, and remains head of the country. Lukashenko has been in charge since 1994, when he consolidated power in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the creation of Belarus. Lukashenko is a Soviet era official, who runs Belarus like the Soviet Union still existed. Belarus is a police state, where elections, and everything else, is manipulated to keep the politicians in power. It's a tricky business, but so far Lukashenko has kept the security forces up to snuff, and on his side. He bribes or bullies key officials to keep the country running. Lukashenko has maintained good relations with Russia, getting him cheap fuel supplies and other aid. Lukashenko initially won clean elections as a reformer and clean-government candidate. But he slowly went bad.

 

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