BELARUS

INTRO

Europe's longest-serving ruler, President Lukashenko took office in 1994 amid the chaos caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Often described as Europe's "last dictator", he has tried to preserve elements of Soviet communism. Much of manufacturing has remained under state control, and main media channels have been loyal to the government. The powerful secret police is even still called the KGB. In recent elections, Lukashenko had won with 80% of the vote. Disbelief and anger at what appeared to be quite brazen tampering with the results quickly spilled into the streets.

-BBC

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