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Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko is President of Belarus, having assumed the post on 20 July 1994. Before his career as a politician, Lukashenko worked as director of a state-owned agricultural farm and spent time with the Soviet Border Troops and the Soviet Army. When he first entered politics, he was seen as a champion against corruption and was the only deputy to vote against the independence of Belarus from the Soviet Union. Under Lukashenko's rule, the Belarusian government's conduct has been criticized in reports by international non-government organizations for violations of human rights and of international law. Belarus has been called "the last true remaining dictatorship in the heart of Europe" by former and current European and American leaders. He and other Belarusian officials are also the subject of sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States for human rights violations off and on since 2006. His domestic policies are similar to those of the former Soviet Union, maintaining government control over key industries and slowing the privatization seen in other former Soviet republics. (via Freebase)