Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi, Russia, May 2022
Sputnik Photo Agency / Reuters

Last year was a particularly dangerous time to be a Belarusian political dissident—not just in Belarus, but anywhere in the world. In 2021, after months of violently cracking down on peaceful opposition protests at home, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko began exporting his repressive tactics abroad. His targets ranged widely, from longtime dissidents to novice critics. Although many of his efforts flew under the international radar, others attracted major public attention. In May 2021, for instance, Lukashenko’s regime concocted a false bomb threat to force a passenger airliner traveling between Greece and Lithuania to land in Minsk so that Roman Pratasevich,

Finish reading this article for free.

Enter your email and we'll send a paywall-free link directly to your inbox.

In addition to your unlocked article, you will receive our flagship weekly newsletter Foreign Affairs This Week, as well as occasional updates and offers from Foreign Affairs. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, visit our user agreement and privacy policy.


Get unlimited access to all Foreign Affairs. Subscribe now.

Are you already a subscriber? Sign in.