Aleksandr Lukashenko came to office in Belarus in the 1990s on a nostalgic message, promising to undo moves toward a market economy and end the hardship the country had endured after gaining independence from the Soviet Union. As president, he acquired dictatorial powers, removing term limits, cracking down on opposition and stifling the press.
In recent years, however, economic stagnation has bred growing discontent. And when Mr. Lukashenko claimed an implausible landslide victory in a presidential election last month, he found himself facing mass protests that have only grown as he has attempted to crush them.
Today, we chart Mr. Lukashenko’s rise to power and examine his fight to hold on to it.
Guest: Ivan Nechepurenko, a reporter with the Moscow bureau of The New York Times.
For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily