Share Tweet Pocket Add to Bookmarks
You're reading: What Putin, Lukashenko and Yanukovych share

The 10th anniversary of the imprisonment of former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky was recently marked. Meanwhile, former presidential candidate Nikolai Statkevich, leader of the Belarussian Social Democratic Party, will start the third year of a six-year sentence in a medium security penal colony. In Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko will have completed two years of her seven-year sentence for “abuse of power” and “embezzlement” unless released under the pressure of the European Union.

All three are widely considered to be political prisoners. But while focus has often been on the wrongfulness of their detentions, less has been written about the motives of those behind them: Presidents Vladimir Putin, Alexander Lukashenko and Viktor Yanukovych.

They have much in common. All three are products of the Soviet era. They are all of similar age: Yanukovych is 63, Putin is 61 and Lukashenko is 59. All three have a checkered past. Yanukovych has a criminal record, now erased, Putin instituted harsh repressions in Chechnya, and Lukashenko has effectively usurped power by eliminating the 1994 Constitution and empowering the KGB to harass and punish opponents.

Exclusive article

Sign up or subscribe to view more articles.
See All Plans
Monthly plan
Get unlimited article access, anytime, anywhere.

Yearly plan
Access all the exclusive content on and the complete online archive.

Add comment

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.

Add a picture
Choose file
Add a quote

Are you sure you want to delete your comment?


Are you sure you want to delete all user's comments?


Are you sure you want to unapprove user's comment?


Are you sure you want to move to spam user's comment?


Are you sure you want to move to trash user's comment?

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: