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Andreas Kluth

Belarus Could Become Europe’s Next Nightmare

The EU has no good options there. Either it supports a dictator, or it risks inviting Russian aggression, possibly ending in “Ukraine 2.0.”

Putin and Lukashenko, frenemies.

Putin and Lukashenko, frenemies.

Photographer: Mikhail Klimentyev/AFP via Getty Images

Here is a scenario the European Union could face just across its eastern perimeter come Sunday, Aug. 9, after the polls close in Belarus’s presidential election.

For the first time in 26 years, according to this turn of events, a Belarusian poll doesn’t unequivocally confirm the iron-fisted rule of autocratic strongman Alexander Lukashenko. As usual, he still claims victory, having once again jailed or exiled his most prominent challengers, rigged the system and counted an official majority of votes for him. But this time, events unfold differently.