This paper focuses on the 2006 presidential elections in Belarus and offers several explanations for the lack of regime change. It posits that the answers lie in the official interpretations of the historical past, the personal popularity of the president—acquired partly through his firm control over the media and persecution of his enemies—and the electorate’s focus on economic rather than political issues or emphasis on democratic values. It notes also the importance of Russia as a player in Belarus, and Russia’s ambivalent attitude toward the continuing dictatorship in Minsk.

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