The Iron Fist Returns

Is the posturing of the Belarusian leader a threat to peace?

The Iron Fist Returns The end of the Soviet Union was supposed to end mindless suppression, but in Belarus, some say Stalins’s ghost is rising.
After 4 years of increasingly dictatorial rule, President Lukashenko has rolled back personal liberties and put back the iron fist of the state. For Belarusians it’s as if Glasnost and independence never happened. In a rare protest, old men and head-scarfed mothers are bundled into the back of police vans. One man is not even fit enough to step-up into the van, yet the truncheon battering at his back is unceasing. This is a president who rules with the police and the KGB by his side. The former Deputy foreign minister now fears Lukashenko has become mentally unbalanced. This is after all a man who expresses ardent admiration for Hitler. And, after preaching the rhetoric of Belarusian nationalism, stunned everyone with moves to re-unite with Russia. For film director Yuri, Lukashenko is a perfect vehicle for comedy. His satirical profile of the president was instantly banned but shown to wide acclaim in Western Europe. Predictably for Belarus, it took only two days for some government thugs to wipe the smile off Yuri’s face. Many believe Lukashenko’s moves to Russian re-unification are simply a veiled attempt to open the doors to the Russian presidency. We wait to see how far this Belarusian strongman’s career can go.

Produced by ABC Australia

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