This book explores the nature of the regime of Aliaksandr Lukashenka, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, and who is often characterized as "the last dictator in Europe". It discusses how Lukashenka came to power, providing a survey of politics in Belarus in early post-Soviet times, examines how power became personalized under his regime, and considers how he coerced opponents, whilst maintaining good popular support. The book discusses all aspects of politics, including presidential power, the ruling elites, elections, the opposition, and civil society. The author characterizes Lukashenka’s rule as "adaptive authoritarianism", and demonstrates how the regime’s avoidance of any ideology, even nationalism, permits great freedom of manoeuvre, enabling pragmatic adaptation to changing circumstances.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction. 2. Adaptive Authoritarianism: A Conceptual Framework. 3. Personalization of Power Under Lukashenka: Institutions. 4. Personalization of Power Under Lukashenka: Elites. 5. Ruling Belarus: Public Consent and Policy Adaptation. 6. Ruling Belarus: State Coercion and Pre-Empting Democracy. 7. Challenging Adaptive Authoritarianism: Players. 8. Challenging Adaptive Authoritarianism: Tactics. 9. Conclusion.
Matthew Frear is Assistant Professor of Russian and Eurasian Politics at Leiden University, The Netherlands