Lukashenko’s Stolen Election

International monitors are declaring that this weekend’s elections in Belarus were neither free nor fair Aleksandr Lukashenko, the Kremlin-backed autocrat who has run the country since 1994 has been called “Europe’s last dictator” – a title that he’s done much to earn. It is quite likely that Lukashenko did indeed rig the voting, as the results showed him winning nearly 90% of the vote and there were many complaints of intimidation at the polls and other irregularities.

The United States and the European Union should act quickly to put political pressure on Belarus – including being willing to fund and support democratic opposition groups to the Lukashenko regime. Belarus has been accused of selling arms to Iran and assisting the Sudanese in the ethnic cleansing of the Darfur region. The Lukashenko regime is a serial abuser of human rights and a destabilizing force in the region. It is unclear if the reformers have the ability to seize power as they did in Georgia and Ukraine, but they are no less deserving of our help. Putin’s attempts at reviving the old Soviet empire are not in the interest of either the US or Europe, and international pressure can help the democratic opposition in their efforts to topple Lukashenko’s tyrannical regime.

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