Cover Osteuropa 10-11/2020

In Osteuropa 10-11/2020

“Dictatorship is our trademark”
Belarus: power vertical vs. horizontal society

Maryia Rohava, Fabian Burkhardt

Deutsche Fassung


For a long time, Belarus was considered an exemplary case of a stable authoritarian regime. For 26 years, the country has been ruled by Aliaksandr Lukashenka. The central organisational principle of the ruling elite is a single-pyramid network, with Lukashenka at the top. From this position, he was able to prevent rival factions from gaining access to power resources. Despite a major political crisis in the country and ongoing protests after the disputed presidential election in August 2020, Lukashenka has maintained control of the security organs and state institutions, but the crisis will become permanent. Although the authorities have succeeded in preventing the institutionalisation of the opposition inside the country, the mobilisation of society with its horizontal networks is continuing. For the Lukashenka regime, there is no going back, since any legitimacy it had claimed on the basis of the country’s performance capacity and the elections has now been quashed. Popular support of the autocrat and international recognition have been lost. As a result, the most important supporting pillars of Belarusian authoritarianism are starting to show cracks.

(Osteuropa 10-11/2020, pp. 127–146)