Belarus presidential vote: Democratic breakthrough?
Lukashenko’s position has weakened in recent months due to a number of factors. His decision to downplay the coronavirus pandemic has backfired particularly badly. Lukashenko initially dismissed the virus and advised Belarusians they could stay healthy by taking tractor rides, visiting saunas, and drinking vodka. This buffoonery failed to prevent the spread of the pandemic, with over 50,000 confirmed cases so far in the country. Many also openly question the credibility of the government’s abnormally low official figures for related deaths. This has led to comparisons with the doomed attempts of the Soviet authorities to deny the 1986 Chornobyl disaster.