The president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, is a fool. His countrymen know this well. They have lived under his rule for almost thirty years, and their country is poor and underdeveloped. Lukashenko used to wear with pride a title awarded to him by the international media, “Europe’s last dictator.” His most recent fiscal tactic, intended to fight inflation, has been to ban price increases by state decree. Obviously, he is not a deep thinker.
Superficially, the democratic world is of one mind and one voice when weighing the future of Belarus. Both citizens and those who lead us are meant to agree. We see Belarusian people surge out in protest every week, and our hearts go with them. When they are increasingly maltreated by authority, beaten and arbitrarily arrested and worse, we feel their fear and their pain. We want that pain to end.