In 2014 Aliaksandr Lukashenka reached his twentieth anniversary as President of Belarus, prompting a series of analyses of just how he had managed to survive in power for so long.
However, this analysis came at the very time when the old paradigm was changing. The war in Ukraine, Russia’s increasingly problematic relations with all of its neighbours and Russia’s own economic troubles put both the subsidy regime and Lukashenka’s foreign policy balancing game in doubt. Lukashenka won official re-election in 2015; but this was the first time he had held an election in a recession, with the supply of social goods under threat. The maintenance of statehood and national security have suddenly become a much more prominent part of his governing formula, but it remains to be seen how secure that will make his rule in the future.
In other words, just when we had some pretty good answers to explain how Belarus works and how Lukashenka has survived for so long, we need to know more.