Matthew Frear, "Belarus under Lukashenka: Adaptive Authoritarianism" (Routledge, 2020)


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Often called “Europe’s last dictator”, Alexander Lukashenka has ruled Belarus – a land-locked European country of close to 10 million people bordered by Russia, Ukraine, Poland and two Baltic states - since 1994.

For more than a quarter-century, his regime has consistently rigged votes but blatant election fraud in 2020 triggered rolling protests that spread beyond the usual suspects and beyond Minsk and appear, for the first time, to threaten Lukashenka's hold on power.

Will he survive? Who is this former border guard and collective-farm manager, and how did he hang on to power while the likes of Slobodan Milošević and Viktor Yanukovych fell? Using the framework of “adaptive authoritarianism”, Belarus under Lukashenka: Adaptive Authoritarianism (Routledge, 2020) explains how and hints at what may happen next.

Matthew Frear is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of History at Leiden University. He researches Russian and Eurasian politics, and comparative authoritarianism with a special focus on Belarus. He holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham and previously taught there and at Aston University before joining Leiden in 2013.

*The author's own book recommendation is In Europe: Travels Through the Twentieth Century by Geert Mak, translated by Sam Garrett (Vintage, 2008).

Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Global Advisors.

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