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Flashback: Remembering The 1996 “Coup” That Changed Political Landscape Of Belarus Forever

Twenty years ago, on 24 November, 1996, Belarus turned into a different country. The referendum, held at the initiative of Alexander Lukashenko, led to the change of the constitutional order. A two-year stand-off between parliament and president ended with a victory and consolidation of power in the hands of the latter.

TUT.BY and BelarusFeed have collected historical footage and newspaper archives to restore the chain of events of that momentous autumn.

How Belarus changed on 24 November, 1996

The Supreme Council (it functioned as permanent parliament in 1990-1996) was dissolved and the bicameral National Assembly was formed.

President received the right to issue decrees and edicts, exceeding the legal force of the law; appoint referendums and key officials in the country; and dissolve parliament.

The procedure for the dissolution of parliament was simplified, whereas the procedure of impeachment was made more complicated.

“The possibility to restrict the right to information” was included in the Constitution in order “to protect honor, dignity, private and family life of citizens and the full implementation of their rights”.

The Independence Day was moved from July 27 (the date of the adoption of the Declaration of Sovereignty of the BSSR in 1990) to July 3 (the date of the liberation of Minsk from the Nazi invaders in World War II).

Other changes regarded religion, local administration, the rights of women and youth, safety of bank accounts, and civil construction.


The video was produced by TUT.BY and translated for BelarusFeed at its courtesy.