The popular outrage following Alexander Lukashenko’s rigged election victory is unprecedented. The west should show active solidarity with the opposition’s demand for change

Nigel Gould-Davies, the former British ambassador to Minsk, has described current events in Belarus as “the last phase of a great re-ordering of European politics that began in 1989”. Three decades ago, as democracy was restored to eastern Europe, Belarus found itself travelling down a different road, led by the former collective farm director, Alexander Lukashenko. On his election as president in 1994, Mr Lukashenko set about establishing an effective dictatorship, sustained by shamelessly rigged elections. Only now, over a quarter of a century later, is his corrupt grip on power loosening, as unprecedented protests sweep the country following yet another fraudulent poll.

According to Belarus’s election commission, the 65-year-old Mr Lukashenko won 80.23% of Sunday’s vote. His main challenger, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, scored a mere 9.9%, despite having…

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