Europe’s Last Dictator
Europe’s Last Dictator by Joel Bowman – International Man
Words like “dictator” and “authoritarian” are bandied about with increasing regularity these days, largely – though by no means solely – by a hysterical leftist media.
Aside from betraying a childish case of “sour grapes,” misappropriating such words gravely condescends to the hundreds of millions of individuals around the world who actually suffered under genuine authoritarian dictatorships throughout the 20th century… and to those who, to this very day, still do.
Take Belarus, location of our current and temporary International Manoffice, as one of all too many examples.
Few rulers have quite lived down to the dubious distinction of “authoritarian dictator” quite like Alexander Lukashenko, president of the European hermit state of Belarus. Indeed, Belarus is often referred to as the “last remaining dictatorship in Europe.”
Lukashenko rose to power in the early nineties, four years after the dissolution of the failed, murderous experiment that was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and three years after Belarus declared independence from the smoldering, collapsed aftermath of abject poverty and misery that followed.
Barely two years into his rule, Lukashenko pushed through a controversial amendment to extend the presidential term from five to seven years, thereby postponing his 1999 election until 2001. The electoral officer at the time, Viktar Hanchar, dared denounce the parliamentary referendum on the extension as a “fantastic fake.”
He was subsequently removed from office for “official matters.” Shortly thereafter, he disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Today, he is presumed dead.
Herewith, a necessarily abbreviated account of some of the many injustices Hanchar did not live to see.
After banning his opponent, Alaksandar Milinkievič, from appearing on the state-controlled Belarusian television and confiscating his political pamphlets, the incumbent Lukashenko again “prevailed” in the 2006 election, an event that was roundly criticized by international watchdogs as having “violated Milinkievič’s human rights.”