Belarus... the Next Egypt?

By , Roslyn, NY
The recent uprisings in Egypt over revamping the government have caused other nations under similar circumstances to do so as well. Belarus, a tiny country in Eastern Europe, recently had a sudden group of uprisings against their President, Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenko’s rule has come under question with the majority of young citizens in the country pushing for a democratic government to be formed and to oust the man considered to be a tyrant.

Recently civilians, mostly recent, graduates took the streets in the capital of Belarus to protest Lukashenko’s landslide victory in the December 2010 elections. Angering the young protestors even more were the new reforms promised, which basically will lock the public into Lukashenko’s rule. The protesting was squashed by the police force, still called the KGB, and most protesters were arrested or fined.
Following their split from the Soviet Union, in the early 1990s Belarus established a republic. In 1994 Luskashenko was elected to the presidency and has since been reelected three times. During Luskashenko’s rule Belarus’s relationship with foreign countries has been greatly stressed, leading to global investigations over human rights violations in Belarus.

Elections were held again in December 2010, and the world wondered if they were fixed. Lushashenko was awarded 84 percent of the vote, and said he had fixed the vote to give him a lesser lead when in truth he had won with 93.5 percent of the vote. After the elections, 7 of the 9 candidates against Lushashenko in the election were thrown into prison according to a recent New York Times article.
According to the guardian.co.uk young people dislike Lukashenko. “Although there is past successes in maintaining basic living standards it is evident that Belarus does not match today’s living standards. Although many pensioners and some workers remain content with life under Lukashenko, young people, and those with the most education and talent, voted against him in December – and much evidence suggests that he won less than 50% of the vote.”
The young people of Belarus continue to learn more and more about the corruption in their government by traveling to western democracies. Once returning home, they are angered with the backwards society they are living in and are becoming more willing to defy Lukashenko. The Western governments have begun to offer aid and a recent conference promised 34 million dollars to the opposition groups.





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