Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

Why Belarus Is Not Ukraine

By Amy Mackinnon

12 Aug 2020 · 5 min read

Scenes in Belarus of protesters erecting crude barricades while fending off the attacks of heavily armored riot police have evoked memories of another uprising in the borderlands between Russia and the European Union: the 2014 Ukrainian revolution that erupted in Kyiv’s Maidan square, an uprising that drove out the country’s kleptocrat president and ushered in a new, if complicated, era in Ukraine.

The similarities certainly have not escaped Belarus’s authoritarian leader, Aleksandr Lukashenko, who claimed a sixth presidential term Sunday in an election nearly universally condemned as a farce. “As I have warned, there will be no Maidan, no matter how much anyone wants one,” he said on Monday, just as the protests began picking up steam.

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