A Belarusian sprinter early on Wednesday left the Polish embassy in Tokyo, the place she had sought safety after refusing her staff’s orders to return house.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya’s refusal to board a flight house, after she stated she was taken by her staff to the airport in opposition to her needs, prompted drama on the Olympics.
A darkened van left the compound with police escort round 7.05am after baggage had been loaded into one other van.
A police official confirmed Tsimanouskaya was within the automobile.
She was anticipated to go to Poland, her supporters have stated. Warsaw has supplied her a humanitarian visa.
The Worldwide Olympic Committee stated on Tuesday it was anticipating a report from the Belarusian staff on Tsimanouskaya’s case.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime of insupportable ‘transnational repression’ within the matter.
A Belarusian sprinter early on Wednesday left the Polish embassy in Tokyo, the place she had sought safety after refusing her staff’s orders to return house
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya’s refusal to board a flight house, after she stated she was taken by her staff to the airport in opposition to her needs, prompted drama on the Olympics
A darkened van left the compound with police escort round 7.05am after baggage had been loaded into one other van
A police official confirmed Tsimanouskaya was within the automobile. She was anticipated to go to Poland, her supporters have stated. Warsaw has supplied her a humanitarian visa
Employees members holding baggage are seen exterior the embassy of Poland the place Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya was
A automobile beleived to be carrying Belarus athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who claimed her staff tried to power her to depart Japan following a row throughout the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Video games, leaves the Polish embassy in Tokyo
Cops watch because the automobile carrying Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya leaves the embassy
The police and journalists are seen exterior the embassy of Poland early on Wednesday morning
Tsimanouskaya stated it was ‘made clear’ she could be ‘punished’ on her return to Belarus – earlier than she escaped by handing herself over to Japanese police.
She stated she anticipated to be kicked off the nationwide staff and coaches made ‘thinly disguised hints that extra would await me’.
She additionally referred to as for sanctions in opposition to athletics head coach Yuri Moisevich and for a probe into ‘who truly took the choice that I am unable to compete’.
Tsimanouskaya spoke out even because the physique of activist Vitaly Shishov, an opponent of dictator Alexander Lukashenko who helped his countrymen flee Belarus, was discovered hanged in a park in Kiev with buddies claiming he was killed by regime thugs.
Shishov’s physique was present in a park near his home on Tuesday, a day after he had gone lacking whereas out for a jog.
Police opened a homicide probe and can be investigating the chance he was killed and his loss of life made to seem like a suicide, as buddies stated there have been indicators he had been crushed earlier than his loss of life – together with a damaged nostril.
Shishov had reported being adopted by ‘strangers’ on his runs shortly earlier than he vanished, buddies added, whereas Ukrainian safety forces had warned them Belarus KGB brokers had been sneaking into the nation disguised as refugees.
The timing of Shishov’s loss of life underlines the dangers to Tsimanouskaya and her household, with husband Arseni Zhdanevich fleeing Belarus to the Ukrainian capital.
It’s not clear whether or not he made contact with Shishov throughout his escape.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 24, the Belarus sprinter who was virtually kidnapped from the Tokyo Olympics by her personal trainers, spoke from the Polish embassy the place she was holed up
She hit out even because the physique of Vitaly Shishov, an activist against Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, was present in Ukraine a day after he went lacking
Police in Kiev stated Shishov’s physique was discovered hanged in woods close to his house, however that they’ve opened a homicide probe on suspicion that the ‘suicide’ was staged by his killers
Police stand guard close to the place Shishov’s physique was discovered as buddies say they consider he was killed by Belarusian KGB brokers
Viktor Lukashenko: Dictator’s son who crushed protests and now leads Olympic committee
The eldest son of Belarus dictator Alexander, 45-year-old Viktor Lukashenko is made in his father’s picture – each when it comes to seems and character.
Raised to steer the nation, he attended the Belarusian State College the place he studied worldwide relations earlier than serving within the nation’s border guards as a part of his obligatory navy service – the identical part of the navy his father served in.
He went on to work within the international ministry and for Agat, a navy expertise firm, earlier than changing into nationwide safety adviser to his father in 2005.
Throughout protests that adopted the 2010 election in Belarus, which Lukashenko is extensively thought to have rigged, Viktor was concerned in repressing dissent.
He was subsequently sanctioned by the EU, which accused him of enjoying ‘a key position within the repressive measures carried out in opposition to the democratic opposition and civil society… Particularly within the crackdown of the demonstration on 19 December.’
On that event, riot police had brutally crushed hundreds of protesters and arrested a whole lot as they tried to storm the presidential palace in frustration on the election consequence.
Vladimir Neklyaev, an opposition chief, was crushed unconscious in a separate incident earlier than being carried away to jail wrapped in a carpet.
Viktor was elected as head of Belarus’s Olympic Committee – changing his father – in February this 12 months, prompting sanctions from the worldwide physique.
The Worldwide Olympic Committee stated in March that it refused to recognise the election and would ban each Alexander and Viktor Lukashenko from attending the Tokyo Video games for ‘failing to guard athletes from political discrimination’ following anti-regime protests during which many sportsmen took half.
Dmitry Baskov, who was elected board member of the Belarus committee, was additionally sanctioned. He’s suspected of ordering or collaborating within the beating of artist Raman Bandarenka, who later died in hospital.
Olympic officers have additionally contacted Tsimanouskaya’s mom, who remains to be in Belarus, to inform her that her daughter has been recruited by international spies and have to be introduced house.
It’s thought her father and grandmother additionally reside within the nation, although it’s unclear if they’ve additionally been approached.
Tsimanouskaya added she hopes to proceed her sporting profession as soon as she arrives in Poland, having hoped to compete at two extra Olympics, however in the interim her security is her precedence.
Requested what made her concern she could be in peril at house, Tsimanouskaya stated the important thing phrase was that ‘we did not make the choice so that you can go house, it was determined by different folks, and we had been merely ordered to make it occur’.
She added she was anxious about her dad and mom, who stay in Belarus. Her husband, Arseni Zdanevich, left the nation and is in Ukraine.
Talking to German media, Tsimanouskaya stated she by no means anticipated the scandal to develop into as massive because it has – insisting that she isn’t concerned in politics and didn’t intend her criticism of staff coaches to be political.
Earlier than his loss of life, Shishov ran Belarusian Home – an organisation that helped his fellow countrymen escape Lukashenko’s more and more brutal regime.
The group offered recommendation on lodging, jobs and authorized points, in accordance with its web site.
Vyasna human rights organisation stated that ‘unknown folks had been watching him throughout his jogging.
‘Suspicious folks additionally approached him and his girlfriend, making an attempt to speak’.
Buddy and colleague Yury Shuchko added that Shishov ‘knew he was being hunted’ after Ukrainian safety forces warned them that Belarusian particular brokers had been sneaking into the nation posing as refugees.
I think it was executed by the KGB or a particular service that works for Lukashenko’s regime’, he stated.
‘We talked final week – he had a premonition…
‘I hope this coward and actually meaningless homicide can be completely investigated.
‘We’ll proceed our work, we’ll proceed defending the Belarusians in Ukraine as we did earlier than.’
Individually, a spokesman for Belarusian Home stated there’s ‘little question’ Shishov died in an ‘operation’ carried out by the Belarus secret police.
Brokers acted to ‘get rid of a Belarus man who was actually harmful for the regime,’ the spokesman stated, including: ‘Vitali was underneath surveillance.
‘The details had been notified to the police.
‘We had been additionally repeatedly warned by each native sources and our folks within the Republic of Belarus about all types of provocations, together with kidnapping and liquidation.
‘Vitaly handled these warnings stoically and with humour.’
Police have launched an enchantment for info from buddies on ‘potential threats’ in opposition to him, and effectively as particulars on his psychological state.
Lukashenko’s enemies have been discovered lifeless by hanging in suspicious circumstances beforehand.
In 2010, Oleg Byabenin, a Belarusian journalist and founding father of Constitution’97 human rights group, was discovered hanged at a rustic home.
His colleagues disputed the official discovering of suicide. Final 12 months activist Nikita Krivtsov, 28, was discovered hanged in a Minsk park.
Tsimanouskaya grew to become a goal of the regime when she uploaded a publish to Instagram final week criticising her trainers for coming into her into the 4x400m relay with out her data and with out her coaching for the occasion.
She was as a result of compete within the 200m dash on Monday, however was barred from participating within the occasion.
Tsimanouskaya appealed that call to the Court docket of Arbitration for Sport however was turned down.
She was subsequent seen at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Sunday the place she handed herself over to police, claiming she was being taken in another country in opposition to her will and that she feared for her security if she returned house.
The Worldwide Olympic Committee has since launched an investigation into the claims.
Belarusian opposition chief Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya arrives at Downing Avenue on Tuesday to satisfy with Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Mr Johnson pledged the UK’s help for democratic actions in Belarus as he met with Ms Tsikhanouskaya inside Downing Avenue
Lukashenko, referred to as Europe’s final dictator, has cracked down on dissent since claiming victory in elections final 12 months which are extensively thought-about to have been rigged – jailing critics who’ve reported being crushed and electrocuted by police behind bars. At the very least 10 folks have died because of this, opposition activist say.
Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya, the exiled opposition chief who’s believed to have crushed Lukashenko in that election, is because of meet UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday to debate the deteriorating state of affairs in Belarus.
Talking to BBC Radio 4, she stated: ‘I would like the British Authorities to maintain Belarus on the agenda, taking into account all of the violence that is happening contained in the nation and… the risk that the regime now could be for the worldwide neighborhood.’
Mr Johnson later advised her that he was ‘on her facet’ and helps efforts to ascertain democracy in Belarus.
Lukashenko targets athletes after they led protests in opposition to him
Sport isn’t removed from politics within the ex-Soviet nation dominated by Lukashenko, the long-serving authoritarian chief who sparked mass protests final 12 months for claiming to have gained a sixth presidential time period.
Belarusian safety forces unleashed a crackdown in opposition to the protests, detaining hundreds of demonstrators and pushing opposition leaders into exile.
Shortly earlier than the Tokyo Video games, Lukashenko warned sports activities officers and athletes that he anticipated leads to Tokyo.
‘Give it some thought earlier than going,’ he stated. ‘Should you come again with nothing, it is higher for you to not come again in any respect.’
Tsimanouskaya was one in all greater than 2000 Belarusian sports activities figures who signed an open letter final 12 months calling for brand spanking new elections and for all political prisoners to be freed following the mass protests.
Some athletes had been additionally briefly detained within the protests, together with a kickboxing champion and an Olympic medalist.
In August final 12 months, Tsimanouskaya had referred to as for an finish to repression.
‘I’m in opposition to any sort of repression, I’m for peace, for honesty, for freedom of speech,’ she stated in a publish on Instagram beneath a photograph of her holding the Belarusian flag.
Apart from that publish, Tsimanouskaya’s Instagram is dominated by posts about her coaching classes and diet.
Belarus’s exiled opposition chief Svetlana Tikhanovskaya accused the Lukashenko regime of making an attempt to ‘kidnap’ Tsimanouskaya.
‘Tsimanouskaya is proof that any Belarusian athlete despatched to the Olympics can develop into a hostage if he finds the braveness to talk,’ she stated on messaging app Telegram.
Belarusian state tv scorned the runner, with one presenter calling her ‘an individual that has nothing to do with the Olympic motion’.
The nation’s sports activities and political officers have urged that the incident was pre-planned and will have been orchestrated from exterior.
‘It’s potential that (exterior affect) was working with the lady,’ stated political commentator Alexander Shpakovsky within the official newspaper of Belarus’s presidential administration, Sovetskaya Belorussiya, suggesting the nation’s neighbours had been concerned.
Born in 1996 in jap Belarus, Tsimanouskaya competed within the 200m on the world championships in Doha in 2019, however was knocked out within the heats after ending fourth in her race in a time of 23.22 seconds.
In the meantime state-owned media in Belarus unleashed a full-scale character assassination of their athlete on Tuesday – branding her a ‘monster’, and ‘scum’ with an ‘ego inflated to unimaginable sizes’.
She was snared by a ‘sudden James Bond-like’ sting operation from the West, claimed an outlet near dictator Alexander Lukashenko.
The 24-year-old sprinter was branded a ‘loopy girl’ and a ‘no one’ in an official media hatchet job that acknowledged: ‘The swamp chomped, spoiling the pure Olympic environment with the stench of Krystsina Tsimanouskaya’s feverish delirium.’
The report was headlined: ‘Her escape from Belarus is the quickest dash in Krystsina Tsimanouskaya’s profession’.
The report in Belarus At present – often known as Soviet Belarus – stated the runner ‘has by no means gained a severe race – and there was no motive to consider that this could occur within the close to or long run’.
She had been pampered by the state and obtained used to a ‘good life’ as a member of the nation’s sporting elite.
‘Her ego inflated to unimaginable sizes and self-conceit, shaped by an absence of intelligence (and) upbringing plus the extreme consideration of the state…lastly made her a monster.’
Tsimanouskaya ‘isn’t a white and fluffy offended fairy, however reasonably a Frankenstein.
‘A horrible egocentric monster who, for his personal profit and private pursuits, is able to promote every thing and everybody’.
She was responsible of ‘rudeness and impudence’ in refusing to participate in a relay on the Olympics then refusing to fly house when ordered to take action.
She ‘fortunately and delightedly stabbed her current teammates and residential nation with a knife within the again’.
‘For Tsimanouskaya’s picture to be full she lacks solely a can of beer in her palms and a cigarette in her enamel.’
One other article in the identical outlet branded her ‘scum’, stating: ‘The extra hysterical, disgusting, scandalous a girl is – like Krystsina T. – the extra disgustingly she behaves…
‘Not each 100-metre feminine runner is able to throwing such a fully rubbish scandal out of the blue.’
She had the ‘undoubted assist and help’ of the exiled political opposition to Lukashenko, alleged the report.
Professional-Lukashenko politician Kalina Kaputskaya was quoted by state information company BELTA as saying: ‘It’s a massive overstatement to name Krystsina Tsimanouskaya a real athlete within the mild of the current occasions on the Olympics in Tokyo.
‘Sadly, we noticed an individual ignoring company ethics, clearly having some private dissatisfaction, who spent an excessive amount of effort on being sad.’
It got here after an audio recording was leaked on Monday purporting to seize the second Tsimanouskaya was advised she could be flying house from Tokyo after ‘an order was obtained’ from on-high.
The audio, launched by Belarus Telegram channel ‘Nick and Mike’ which is hostile to Lukashenko, allegedly paperwork Tsimanouskaya arguing with two males recognized as head coach Moisevich and Artur Shumak, deputy director of the nation’s athletics coaching academy.
Tsimanouskaya sought police assist at Haneda airport in Tokyo on Sunday, claiming she was being kidnapped earlier than officers to her to a ‘safe’ location the place she remained in a single day
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, 24, is pictured coming into the Polish embassy in Tokyo the place she was holed up after Belarus Olympic officers tried to kidnap her
Ms Tsimanouskaya was born and raised in Belarus, however will now fly to Poland on August 4 to attempt to begin a brand new life after criticism of her Olympic coaches led to her being threatened. In the meantime husband Arseni Zhdanevich has fled to Ukraine, saying he hopes to affix his spouse in Warsaw ‘within the close to future’
On the tape, the person believed to be Shumak tells her that ‘an order has been obtained’ for her to go house, saying the plan is to play it off in public as a sports activities damage however that in actuality it’s due to ‘accusations and feedback that you simply made’.
A person believed to be Moisevich then tells her bluntly to ‘shut up’ and ‘obey’, including that ‘nothing good will occur’ if she decides to remain in Tokyo.
However Tsimanouskaya pushes again, prompting Shumak to match her to a fly caught in an online.
‘When a fly will get into an online, the extra it strikes, the extra it will get entangled. That is how life works,’ he says. ‘We do silly issues, you’ve executed one thing silly. I hope you perceive that.’
Moisevich then provides: ‘If (you) don’t obey, then we’ve got no escape routes. You realize, if there’s gangrene, they reduce off half of the leg, in any other case they can not save the entire organism.
‘Sure, sorry for the leg. In any other case, keep together with your leg and die.’
When Tsimanouskaya accuses him of ‘masking your individual a**’ by ordering her to go house, he encourages her to be ‘good’ and never resist. ‘Imagine me, I am not saving my very own a**,’ he provides.
It’s not clear how the audio was recorded or leaked, although it seems it was made earlier than Tsimanouskaya was taken to the airport.
The Belarus Sport Solidarity Fund, an organsation that helpd persucted athletes throughout the nation, stated Tsimanouskaya had additionally been focused by supporters of the Belarusian authorities.
‘The marketing campaign was fairly severe and that was a transparent sign that her life could be in peril in Belarus,’ Alexander Opeikin, a spokesman for the BSSF, advised The Related Press in an interview.
‘We appealed to various nations for assist,’ stated Herasimenia, a three-time Olympic medallist. ‘However the first that reacted was the Polish consulate. We’re prepared to just accept their assist.’
Tsimanouskaya summoned Japanese police at Haneda Airport and didn’t board a flight departing for Istanbul. International ministry officers arrived later on the airport, Opeikin stated.
In a press release on Sunday, the Belarusian Olympic Committee stated that nationwide coaches had determined to withdraw Tsimanouskaya from the Tokyo Video games on medical doctors’ recommendation about her ’emotional, psychological state’.
She refuted this evaluation, telling Tribuna she was by no means visited by a health care provider.
‘No medical doctors got here to me, nobody examined me. I’ve an excellent psychological state, regardless that such a state of affairs has occurred. I stick with it usually, I’ve no well being issues, no accidents, no psychological points. I used to be able to run,’ Tsimanouskaya stated.
The IOC had been in dispute with the Belarus Nationwide Olympic Committee forward of the Tokyo Video games.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who was as a result of compete within the girls’s 200 meters on Monday, advised Reuters she didn’t plan to return to her nation and that she had sought the safety of Japanese police at Tokyo’s Haneda airport so she wouldn’t need to board the flight
Tsimanouskaya (left) competes within the girls’s 100m heats on the 2020 Tokyo Video games on Saturday. She was as a result of run within the 200m qualifiers on Monday
The Belarus Nationwide Olympic Committee has been led for greater than 25 years by Lukashenko and his son, Viktor.
Each Lukashenkos are banned from the Tokyo Olympics by the IOC, which investigated complaints from athletes that they confronted reprisals and intimidation in fallout from protests since final August after the nation’s disputed presidential election.
The suspected tried kidnapping comes months after Western nations condemned the federal government of Kremlin-backed strongman Lukashenko after it scrambled a Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jet to hijack a industrial passenger aircraft so it may arrest a dissident journalist.
Tsimanouskaya competed for Belarus on the primary day of monitor occasions on Friday on the Nationwide Stadium in Tokyo. She positioned fourth in her first-round warmth within the 100 meters, timing 11.47 seconds, and didn’t advance.
She filmed a video that was revealed on Telegram earlier on Sunday by the BSSF, during which she requested the IOC to become involved in her case.
She stated: ‘I’m asking the Worldwide Olympic Committee for assist. There’s stress in opposition to me and they’re making an attempt to get me in another country with out my permission. So, I’m asking the IOC to become involved on this.’
Tsimanouskaya advised Reuters from the airport: ‘A few of our women didn’t fly right here to compete within the 4x400m relay as a result of they did not have sufficient doping exams. And the coach added me to the relay with out my data. I spoke about this publicly. The pinnacle coach came to visit to me and stated there had been an order from above to take away me.
Dissident journalists stated Belarusian state media launched a marketing campaign in opposition to Tsimanouskaya after she criticised Belarus nationwide staff’s administration on Friday.
Minsk-based journalist Hanna Liubakova posted a video which appeared to indicate the athlete on the airport, tweeting: ‘Tsimanouskaya was accompanied to the airport by two members of the Belarusian sports activities delegation. She is now with the police and volunteers. When requested if she was afraid to fly to #Belarus, Tsimanouskaya answered ‘sure’.’
The sprinter stated that she had reached out to members of the Belarusian diaspora in Japan to retrieve her on the airport, including: ‘I feel I’m protected. I’m with the police.’
She later stated that members of the diaspora had come to face exterior the airport to supply their help.
The incident is harking back to the kidnapping of Belarusian dissident journalist Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega in Minsk after Lukashenko scrambled a Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jet to escort a industrial passenger aircraft again to Belarus.
Ryanair flight FR4978 had been flying from Athens in Greece to Vilnius in Lithuania in Could when it was compelled to make an emergency touchdown in Minsk amid faux reviews of an IED on board.
Protasevich was then seen on June 4 in a tearful interview aired on state media during which he confessed to calling for protests final 12 months and praised Lukashenko.
Jailed journalist Roman Protasevich final appeared at a press convention in Minsk in June, telling reporters he felt ‘fantastic’
Vladimir Putin (left) was just about the one supporter of Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko (left) over the hijacking of a Ryanair passenger aircraft earlier this month which was escorted to Minsk by a fighter jet and compelled to land so authorities may arrest a dissident journalist
Belarus was rocked by strikes and weekly avenue protests after authorities introduced that Lukashenko, who has dominated in authoritarian vogue since 1994, had secured re-election on August 9, 2020 with 80 per cent of votes
The incident prompted the European Union to ban Belarusian airways, urge EU airways to not cross into Belarusian airspace and threaten robust financial sanctions on Lukashenko’s authorities.
The British Authorities instructed all UK planes to stop flying over Belarus. Some nations have additionally imposed sanctions in opposition to Belarusian officers over a crackdown on demonstrators and a presidential election final 12 months that the opposition stated was rigged.
Lukashenko has stored a good grip on Belarus, a former Soviet state, since 1994. Confronted with mass avenue protests final 12 months over the elections, he ordered a violent crackdown on protesters. Lukashenko denies the allegations of vote-rigging.
Unusually in a rustic the place elite athletes usually depend on authorities funding, some outstanding Belarusian athletes joined the protests.
A number of had been jailed, together with Olympic basketball participant Yelena Leuchanka and decathlete Andrei Krauchanka.
Others misplaced their state employment or had been kicked off nationwide groups for supporting the opposition.
Through the Chilly Warfare, scores of sports activities folks and cultural figures defected from the Soviet Union and its satellite tv for pc states throughout abroad competitions or excursions. However the freedom of journey that got here with the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union noticed the necessity for such dramatic acts dwindle.
Russia’s Vladimir Putin was just about the one world chief to defend Lukashenko over the hijacking. Russia promised Belarus a £1.06billion mortgage final 12 months as a part of Moscow’s efforts to stabilise its neighbour and longstanding ally. Minsk obtained a primary instalment of £352million in October.
Following talks in Sochi, Russia stated it is going to transfer forward with a second £352million mortgage to Belarus.
In Could, the pinnacle of NATO linked the Kremlin to the hijack of the Ryanair jet by Belarus, having beforehand described the incident as a ‘state-sponsored hijacking’.
Europe’s final dictator: Alexander Lukashenko, who has dominated Belarus with an iron fist since 1994
Born in 1954 within the village of Kopys, in what was then the USSR, Alexander Lukashenko was the son of an unknown father – thought by some to by a Roma gypsy – and a labourer mom, Ekaterina Lukashenko.
He studied in Belarus and graduated from the Mogilyov Educating Institute in 1975, then went on to check on the Belarusian Agricultural Academy within the Nineteen Eighties.
He did a short stint within the Belarusian border guards and in addition served within the Soviet Military, changing into concerned in politics as a instructor throughout the navy and because the chief of a Leninist organisation within the metropolis of Mogilev.
After leaving the navy he joined the ranks of the Communist Celebration and was appointed chief of a state farm, earlier than being elected to the Supreme Council of Belarus in 1990.
Lukashenko made his title as an anti-corruption campaigner and emerged as a robust political ally of Moscow – the one deputy to oppose the December 1991 settlement that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
In 1994 he appealed to Russia to type a brand new union of Slavic states, shortly earlier than his election as President of Belarus – promising stronger ties between the 2 nations.
Two years later, he persuaded voters to approve a brand new structure permitting him to increase his time period in workplace, rule by decree, and to nominate a majority of parliament.
Lukashenko used these powers to increase his time period in 1999, and gained an election in 2001 and one other in 2006 – amid allegations of vote-rigging that resulted EU leaders banning him from their nations.
Election victories – accompanied by extra allegations of fixing – adopted once more in 2010 and 2015.
Lukashenko’s reputation declined quickly between 2015 and 2020, spurred on by his more and more erratic behaviour coupled with mismanagement of the Covid disaster – throughout which he claimed vodka and saunas may stop the illness.
Amid a wave of dissent, one other election was held in 2020 which returned an official victory for Lukashenko with 80 per cent of the vote – although few consider this to be correct.
His important opponent – Sergei Tikhanovsky – was arrested within the run-up to the poll, leaving spouse Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to run in his stead. She subsequently fled the nation to Lithuania after being focused by police.
Anger on the consequence sparked the most important wave of protests in Belarus since its Soviet days, with mass demonstrations, strikes and requires a change of management.
Lukashenko responded by sending riot police on to the streets to spherical up dissenters, with an estimated 25,000 arrested by November. Ten have so-far died amid the crackdown.
Lukashenko has additionally cracked down on journalists, raiding the workplaces of the nation’s largest newspaper Tut.by together with the house of its editor on prices of ‘tax evasion’.
In Could he staged his most-daring transfer but, diverting a Ryanair jet carrying dissident reporter Roman Protasevich to Lithuania earlier than arresting him.
Mr Protasevich’s allies, together with Ms Tsikhanouskaya, say they now concern for his life.