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For Belarus’s Lukashenko, Russia has been a lifeline for decades. Here’s why.

By Mary Ilyushina

25 May 2021 · 3 min read

For more than a generation, Belarusian authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko has looked to Moscow for money, political support and critical backing for whatever means were necessary to stay in power. For Russian President Vladimir Putin, Belarus offers a reliable — if sometimes troublesome — partner in Europe as many other former Soviet republics have made political alliances with the West.

A planned meeting Friday between Putin and Lukashenko in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi underscored their bonds and Moscow’s role as patron and protector for Lukashenko’s regime.

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