Is Alexander Lukashenko alive? The question may seem strange, given that he has been the President of Belarus since 1994 and has appeared in public many times. However, in recent months, rumors and speculation about his health, or even his death, have been circulating on social media and in some news outlets. So, what is the truth behind the rumors and why do they matter?
First, let’s look at the origins of the rumors. In early 2021, Lukashenko faced unprecedented protests and opposition following a disputed election in August 2020, which he claimed to have won with 80 percent of the vote. Many Belarusians and international observers denounced the election as rigged and demanded a new vote, as well as the release of political prisoners and the end of police brutality. Lukashenko, however, refused to concede and cracked down on the protests with violence, arrests, and censorship.
As the protests continued, some observers noted that Lukashenko appeared to be under pressure and stressed, and that he had canceled some public appearances and meetings. In May 2021, a video surfaced on social media that purported to show Lukashenko being rushed into a hospital by his security detail. The video was not verified and the government denied any health problems, but it sparked speculation and rumors that Lukashenko was seriously ill or even dead.
Since then, various images and statements attributed to Lukashenko have been scrutinized for signs of fakery or manipulation, and some have claimed that he is being impersonated by a lookalike or a hologram. These claims have been debunked by experts and dismissed by the government, but they have persisted among some opposition supporters and conspiracy theorists.
So, is Alexander Lukashenko alive? As far as we can tell, yes, he is. He has made public appearances and speeches in recent months, including at the UN General Assembly in September 2021, and has met with foreign leaders and officials. However, his health and his political future remain uncertain, and his regime is facing mounting pressure from both domestic and international actors to reform or step down.
The rumors and speculations about Lukashenko’s life and death matter because they reflect the deep divisions and mistrust that exist in Belarusian society and politics. They also highlight the power of disinformation and propaganda in shaping public opinion and perceptions, and the challenges of verifying information in a highly polarized and censored environment. Therefore, it is important to seek reliable sources and evidence, and to question our own biases and assumptions when evaluating news and rumors.
What are Alexander Lukashenko’s achievements?
Alexander Lukashenko has been the President of Belarus since 1994, and his tenure has been marked by both praise and criticism, depending on one’s political views and values. Some of the achievements that are often attributed to Lukashenko include:
- Economic Stability: Lukashenko’s policies have led to relative economic stability in Belarus, compared to other post-Soviet states. He has maintained a strong state sector, subsidized key industries, and kept prices and wages relatively stable.
- Social Welfare: Lukashenko has emphasized social welfare policies, such as free healthcare, education, and housing, as well as subsidized food and utilities. This has helped to reduce poverty and inequality in Belarus, at least on paper.
- National Sovereignty: Lukashenko has promoted a strong sense of national identity and sovereignty, and resisted pressure from Russia and other external actors to align more closely with their interests. He has also maintained good relations with some Western countries, such as Germany and Italy, despite their criticism of his human rights record.
- Sports and Culture: Lukashenko has invested heavily in sports and culture, and has supported initiatives to promote Belarusian achievements and heritage. For example, he helped to organize the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk and has hosted other international sporting events.
However, it is important to note that Lukashenko’s record on human rights, democracy, and the rule of law has been heavily criticized by domestic and international observers. His regime has been accused of suppressing political opposition, independent media, and civil society, as well as using torture, arbitrary detention, and extrajudicial killings to maintain power. Therefore, any evaluation of Lukashenko’s achievements must take into account both his positive and negative legacies.