The Last European Dictatorship

Andrew Wilson

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This book is the first in English to explore both Belarus’s complicated road to nationhood and to examine in detail its politics and economics since 1991, the nation’s first year of true independence. Andrew Wilson focuses particular attention on Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s surprising longevity as president, despite human rights abuses and involvement in yet another rigged election in December 2010.

Wilson looks at Belarusian history as a series of false starts in the medieval and pre-modern periods, and at the many rival versions of Belarusian identity, culminating with the Soviet Belarusian project and the establishment of Belarus’s current borders during World War II. He also addresses Belarus’s on-off relationship with Russia, its simultaneous attempts to play a game of balance in the no-man’s-land between Russia and the West, and how, paradoxically, Belarus is at last becoming a true nation under the rule of Europe’s “last dictator.”

Andrew Wilson is reader in Ukrainian studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. He is the author of The Ukrainians, Virtual Politics, and Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, all published by Yale University Press.

'Andrew Wilson's incisive and accurate judgment and the depth of his research make him a true expert. His ability to convey the complexities of the region's murky politics and tortured history is unparalleled.' - Edward Lucas, Central and Eastern Europe correspondent for The Economist

'Andrew Wilson has done all students of European politics a great service by making the history of Belarus comprehensible, and by showing how the future of Belarus might be different than its present.' - Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin

“Wilson’s depth of knowledge is impressive and his detailed analysis of Lukashenka’s economic policy illuminates how he has managed to hold onto power for so long.”—Lucy Popescu, Belfast Telegraph (Syndicated from The Independent)

“…an authoritative account...Wilson’s book is a thorough analysis of historical information…it is one of the most valuable contributions to Belarusian studies and is guaranteed a long shelf life.”—Grigory Ioffe (Radford University), International Affairs March 2012

"[A] skillfully crafted volume that combines both breadth of scholarship and depth of analysis."—L. Stan, Choice

"Wilson succeeds in restoring the vibrant multi-ethnic and multi-confessional history of the Belarusian lands before Soviet times."—Rodger Potocki, Times Literary Supplement
ISBN: 9780300134353
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
256 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
16 b/w illus.
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