Category: Articles

Lukashenko’s Penultimate Elections

Aleksandr Lukashenko with his sons at the 9 May Parade in Minsk, 2019 (The Press Service of the President of the Republic of Belarus)

Lukashenko’s Belarus has long been a success story in the post-Soviet world. In the 2000s it had some of the fastest GDP growth in the world. Belarus had the lowest unemployment rate among all the countries of the former Eastern Bloc, the lowest level of poverty in the region, one of the best public health services, the best road infrastructure, and no foreign debt. In 2003 it became the third country in the region whose GDP returned to its 1990 level (after Uzbekistan and Estonia). Over the next five years, its economy had grown by another 60%. During the financial crisis of 2009, Belarus remained the only post-Soviet country whose economy didn’t shrink. These outstanding results made scholars talk about Lukashenko’s Belarus as the post-Soviet economic miracle. But what were the foundations of that miracle?

The Sacred Victory. A Post-Soviet Civil Religion

The Immortal Regiment marching through Moscow (

The idea of civil religion isn’t new. It’s origins go back to the 18 century France when it was first used by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his theory of social contract. He coined this term to describe the moral and spiritual foundation essential for any modern society. According to Rousseau, civil religion was supposed to serve as a glue to keep the unity of the state and the increasingly secularising society by providing them with a common set of values.