Most of us tend to forget about squalid dictatorships like Belarus, only to be reminded when the stupid and brutal ruling clique decides that, in order to squeeze financial concessions out of its neighbors, a Potemkin election must be staged. In the fine tradition of the Soviet "election," dictator Alexander Lukashenko, who looks like the heavy in a Quinn/Martin production, managed 80 percent of the vote, once again proving that undemocratic thugs just don't know how to make it convincing. (In the last fake election before the U.S. invasion, Saddam Hussein won 100 percent of the vote). When the world balked, he pronounced an end to "senseless democracy" (as opposed to actual democracy, which never existed) in Belarus.
And he means it. According to a report from the AP, seven of those who ran against Lukashenko have been arrested and are facing 15 year prison sentences, one of whom was beaten unconscious and then snatched from his hospital bed by the Belarussian KGB (yes, they still call it that). Hundreds of protesters in Minsk were beaten and arrested after protesting the election results: