The Failed Revolution: Reflections on the 2006 Elections in Belarus

  • David R. Marples


The success of “color revolutions” in Serbia, Georgia, and Ukraine, together with the success of the opposition movement in Kyrgyszstan, fueled hopes for change in Belarus, particularly among opposition circles, European Union (EU) countries, and the Bush-Rice administration in Washington. Though prospects for the removal of President Aliaksandr Lukashenka were limited (he successfully engineered a referendum in October 2004 that gave him the right to run for additional terms as president), there is no question that the situation for the opposition during the 2006 presidential elections was considerably better than it was in 2001. In that year, with the support of several key figures and institutions, including the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Advisory and Monitoring Group in Belarus, the opposition belatedly came up with a compromise candidate from the trade union movement, Uladzimir Hancharyk. But the move came too late to have a significant impact on the campaign.2 This time, after a difficult series of meetings across the country, the opposition managed to unite its efforts under Aliaksandr Milinkevich, a nonparty man and professional academic from the Hrodna region.


European Union Presidential Election Opinion Poll Liberal Democratic Party Election Campaign 
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  1. 16.
    Vladimir Gurin, “Samolikvidatsiia ‘oranzhevogo virusa,’” Sovetskaia Belorussiia, January 18, 2006.Google Scholar
  2. 29.
    Dmitriy Kryat, “Narod izbirat bez podskazki,” Sovetskaia Belorussiia, March 21, 2006.Google Scholar
  3. 32.
    See Jan Maksymiuk, “Pollster Questions Size of Lukashenka’s Victory,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, April 21, 2006.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Oliver Schmidtke and Serhy Yekelchyk, eds. 2008

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  • David R. Marples

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