Belarus: A Tale of Two Elections

Issue Date July 2011
Volume 22
Issue 3
Page Numbers 49-63
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The headlines spawned by the Belarusian presidential election of 19 December 2010 bore a remarkable similarity to those seen after the last such contest in March 2006. Yet the Belarus of today is not at all the Belarus of five years ago. If the 2006 election showcased the regime’s strength and popularity at that time, the events following the 2010 contest have exposed that same regime’s vulnerability and precarious support today. In order to explain why some authoritarian regimes are more stable, Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way identify three key factors: linkage to the West, internal organizational power, and the leverage of the West. It seems to be only a matter of time before the supporters of change in Belarus form a critical mass.