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In many parts of the world, the outlook for political stability in 2018 will depend on aging, often long-serving politicians. Some are senescent leaders trying to manage a generational transition, others have caught their second wind and are bracing for a long run. Here is a short list of rulers who are losing their grip, handling tricky successions, or building their legacies with a late burst of vigor. They are a key human element in geopolitics.
President Alexander Lukashenko has
managed to weather the biggest street protests in Minsk since 2010 and to patch
up his strained relations with President Vladimir Putin. At this point, neither
the West nor Russia is interested in abruptly ending his 23-year autocratic
rule in Belarus.
Dr. Pawel Kowal
recent weeks, open protests have been held in Minsk and Belarusian President
Aleksander Lukashenko has met with a member of the independent media. But
Belarus’s authoritarian leader has not changed his tune. Instead, he is putting
on a show in hopes of gaining much-needed funding from the West now that Russia
has turned off the taps. The survival of his regime depends on this gambit.
The signs are accumulating that President Alexander Lukashenko's days as the ruler of Belarus are numbered. His present pro-Western tilt is a desperate attempt to rescue an economy in free fall. Since the opposition is too weak to bring him down, the main question is whether Mr. Lukashenko will be done in by Russia – or by his own associates.