More than a quarter century ago, in July 1994, Alexander Lukashenko has officially become the first and only President of an independent Belarus. It was a difficult time for him. A year ago, he even mentioned that he was tired from his work and began to think about what kind of country is going to leave a successor. But while Alexander Lukashenko is not going to rest and demonstrates the determination to once again compete for the presidency. Real competition he had with each passing day it becomes less and less two have gone to jail, in respect of the third also there is a check. There is little doubt that the election struggle in Belarus will go exactly in such a scenario. Lukashenko’s political opponents are always setbacks, especially in the early years of his reign: some of them were killed or simply disappeared under mysterious circumstances. “” remembered how in that time there was a political struggle that began with its participants and any amendments made to the Constitution of Belarus, its continued President.

the Savior of the Fatherland

“are You crazy there poshodili? Or do I have to take harsh measures, as in the first years of his presidential life, when [the mob] were killing people on the route Moscow — Berlin? When I sent a handful of reliable people with guns who have shot there half and put things in order within the month” — recognition of the Belarusian President, made from the rostrum of the National Assembly in the spring of 2018, on how to “restore order” in the beginning of his presidency, today many shocking in its frankness.

After Lukashenko, it seems, is proud of the fact that in the 1990s, as head of state, acted in such a cruel and essentially lawless methods.

The collapse of the Soviet Union was a disaster for Belarus. Entrenched social and economic institutions collapsed overnight, the population of the country was rapidly impoverished, have significantly increased the influence of crime. The situation worsened and political tensions in the young state.

In the first years of independence, Belarus was a parliamentary Republic. It was headed by Stanislau Shushkevich. Honorary member, he became interested in the ideas of perestroika and quickly leading the opposition, and in 1991 became head of the Supreme Council (Parliament) of Belarus. He on behalf of the Republic signed the Belavezha accords, marking the end of the Soviet Union.

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As head of state de jure, Shushkevich could not cope with this role de facto. The country was sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss of socio-economic crisis, while the Parliament under pressure from a small but active Belarusian popular front (BPF) promoted the ideology of the Belarusian nationalism.

The symbol of the state became white-edge��but-white flag and emblem “Pahonia”, symbolizing the connection state, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (during the great Patriotic war it was used by the Belarusian collaborators). The country has been actively de-Russification: for example, if 87 percent of Russian citizens, the Belarusian authorities made the Russians less than five per cent of schools. The future of the country BPF saw in a United Europe and NATO.

On the background of social and economic problems of the early 1990s, the country has been working on the drafting of the Constitution. Most sharply there was a question of introduction of Institute of presidency. If Shushkevich campaigned for a “weak” leader, which is only a formal head of state, his opponents from among the remaining power of the item supported granting the President all the powers of the chief Executive. In the end, they won, and in 1994 the presidential election was won by 39-year-old Alexander Lukashenko.

The Director of a collective farm in the Mogilev region, in the restructuring Lukashenko was involved in the political life. On a post of the Deputy of the Supreme Council, he was actively criticized Shushkevich from left, scolded him for the collapse of the state system and the impoverishment of the people. The victory at the elections Lukashenko ensured that he correctly grasped the demands of society for justice and exploited the theme of curbing inflation, revival of agriculture, the fight against corruption.

The first step to strengthen the position of the first President was the 1995 referendum, in fact, disrupt the parliamentary elections. In addition to really relevant to the population issues like making Russian a second state language, economic integration with Russia and the return of Soviet symbols of Belarus, in the referendum voted in favor of the right of the President to dissolve Parliament in the case of systematic or flagrant violation of the Constitution. To resolve violated the Supreme Council of the basic law, in fact, had the President himself. Innovations liked by everyone, however, on hunger strike in protest of the deputies was beaten by riot police, and the statements of the OSCE and the European Union about violations at polling stations were ignored.

In 1996, the country held another referendum, finally destroyed the independence of Parliament: the Belarusians were asked to vote for the new Constitution establishes, indeed, a super-presidential Republic. However, the vote was taken in clear violation of all rules: updated text of the General law on public access was not, and the citizens actually voted blindly.

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For greater peace of mind on the eve of the referendum the opposition, head of the CEC Viktar Hanchar, a presidential decree removed from office, and in his place was appointed absolutely loyal Lidiya Yermoshina, who holds this position to this day. The ballot papers were not published by the CEC, and the Office of the President, and any impartial consideration of their number, of course, was not conducted. Finally, almost all TV channels in the run-up to the vote aired the views only of the President, and not Parliament.

In the end, for the new and not published by the time the Constitution voted 83 per cent of citizens. The opposition, of course, the referendum results are not recognized, however, their opinion did not decide anything. Riot policemen disbanded the old Parliament and the new National Assembly was formed of people personally loyal to the President. The control of the Executive power, the interior Ministry, the KGB, the courts and Prosecutor’s office were also in the hands of the President.

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The emergence in Belarus of a new configuration of power with a sham Parliament absolute control of the President over the security forces and censored like not all. In protest, the resignation of the Prime Minister, two Ministers, seven judges of the constitutional court. Opponents of the President refused to recognize the new reality and were preparing to hold an alternative presidential election in 1999.

However, their plans fell through. First, in April 1999, suddenly died of a stroke 49-year-old Henadz Karpenka, former Deputy head of the opposition National Executive Committee, one of the leaders of the United civil party (UCP). Coincidentally, it happened after his Declaration of intention to run for President. But care Karpenko of life was not the last in a series of accidental deaths.


Yuri Zakharenko was one of the pillars of Lukashenka’s regime, in 1994-1995 he held the post of Minister of internal Affairs. Soon, however, the official had a disagreement with the President. He lost his post, was demoted, and in 1998 and is dismissed. To remain an honorable retired functionary refused and joined UCP of the recently deceased Karpenko. In may 1999, Zakharanka disappeared.

The former head of Minsk remand prison number 1 Aleh Alkaeu, citing witnesses in his book “firing squad” writes that a few days before the disappearance of the former interior Minister noticed that he was being watched. And one of the cars — remarkable red BMW — allegedly belonged to the SOBR commander Dmitry Pavlichenko.

Yet another victim of the unknown was the same opposition, the former head of the Central electoral Commission Viktor Gonchar. He, like Zakharenko, were first in the team Lukashenko, however, doubted the legitimacy of the referendum on the new Constitution, for which he was dismissed. In 1999, he joined the opposition and was going to participate in the meeting Rosignanoon the former Parliament — the Supreme Council to start a campaign for the removal of Lukashenka from power and to organize new presidential elections.

A few days prior to the scheduled meeting of the Potter along with his friend, businessman Anatoly Krasovsky, disappeared after the accident in Minsk. At the scene investigators found traces of the emergency braking and hitting the car on the tree, and the blood of a Potter. More them nobody saw.

the words and deeds

In 2003, the “Novaya Gazeta” published the testimony of Minsk Viktor Zabolotsky, claiming that he witnessed the execution of Hanchar and Krasouski.

According to z, in October 1999 he and his wife came to the grave of father-in-law in the North cemetery of Minsk. When the witness was leaving the cemetery, his attention was attracted by two of cry: “I’m a Potter!” and “I’m Krasovskii!”, followed by gunfire.

Another resonant story of that time — the death of 27-year-old journalist, cameraman of the Russian First channel Dmitry Zavadsky. In July 2000, he drove to Minsk airport to meet his boss Pavel Sheremet (in 2016, was killed in the Ukraine). On the way to the airport Zavadsky disappeared. According to Pavel Sheremet, who worked some time in Chechnya journalist could learn something about the secret operations conducted in the late 1990s, the commander of the Belarusian SWAT Pavlichenko in the North Caucasus. According to Sheremet, z eventually tracked down, tortured and killed people Pavlichenko. His body was never found.

The situation with the mysterious disappearances and murders in the Republic in 1999-2000-x went so far and bought such a public outcry that in November 2000, Pavlichenko is still detained by the KGB. The head of Minsk remand prison Alkaeu told how on the personal order of former interior Minister Yury Sivakou, he gave “firing” the gun, by which executions were made, and noticed that the date of issue of the weapon suspiciously coincide with the dates of disappearance of the opposition.


According to who fled from the Republic in 2001 the investigator of the Republican Prosecutor’s office, Dmitry Petrushkevich, Pavlichenko confirmed that the journalist Zavadsky dead, and even pointed out where it was in the North cemetery hidden by his body. However, after his detention, Pavlichenko during the day on the personal order of Lukashenka, was released from jail, and the head of the KGB and the Prosecutor General dismissed. The state office of public Prosecutor was headed by Viktor Sheiman, previously held the post of Secretary of the security Council.

And although the two former officers of the interior Ministry Valery Ihnatovich and Dmitry Malik — was jailed for the abduction of Zavadski (his murder never proven), other mysterious disappearances and killings of oppositionists remain unsolved, and the organizers and customers ethese crimes were not punished.

Now Belarus is almost nothing reminds of the dashing 1990s. Except that the head of state remains still the same person, and his political opponents still failed. And now let none of them goes missing and their whereabouts is well known, the chance to meet with Lukashenka in a fair political fight, as many years ago remain elusive.