Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko (Belarusian: Аляксандр Рыгоравіч Лукашэнка, ; Romanized: Alyaksandr Ryhoravich Lukashenka; Russian: Александр Григорьевич Лукашенко, ; Romanized: Aleksandr Grigoryevich Lukashenko; born 30 or 31 August 1954) has been serving as the President of Belarus since 20 July 1994. Before his career as a politician, Lukashenko worked as director of a state-owned agricultural farm. Under Lukashenko's rule, Belarus has come to be viewed as a state whose conduct is out of line with international law and whose regime is considered to grossly violate human rights. Belarus has never held a poll seen as fair by international monitors since Lukashenko began his presidency. Belarus has been called “the last true remaining dictatorship in the heart of Europe” by the former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He and other Belarusian officials are also subject of the sanctions imposed by the European Union for egregious human rights violations.
Lukashenko was born on 30 or 31 August 1954 in the settlement of Kopys in the Vitebsk voblast of the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Trokhym Lukashenko, grandfather of Lukashenko – was born in the Sumy Oblast of Ukraine. Lukashenko grew up without a father in his childhood, leading him to be taunted by his schoolmates for having an unmarried mother. He graduated from the Mogilev Pedagogical Institute in 1975 and the Belarussian Agricultural Academy in 1985. He served in the Border Guard (frontier troops) from 1975 to 1977 and in the Soviet Army from 1980 to 1982. Lukashenko led a Komsomol chapter in Mogilev from 1977 to 1978. While in the Soviet Army, Lukashenko was an officer of the 120th Motorised Rifle "Guard" Division, which was based in Minsk. After leaving the military he became the deputy chairman of a collective farm in 1982 and in 1985. He was promoted to the post of director of the Gorodets state farm and construction materials plant in the Shklov district.
In 1990, Lukashenko was elected as a Deputy in the Supreme Council of the Republic of Belarus. He was the only deputy of the Belarusian parliament who voted against ratification of the December 1991 agreement that dissolved the Soviet Union and set up the Commonwealth of Independent States in its place.