The Belarusian Civil War (Belarusian: Грамадзянская вайна ў Беларусі, Russian: Гражданская война в Белоруссии) is a conflict which occurred from May 2016 to June 2017, resulting in the ousting of President Aleksandr Lukashenko, and the recognition of the Belarusian People's Republic as the legitimate government, which had been in exile since the Soviet takeover in 1919. The Lukashenko administration was initially supported by Russia, Kazakhstan, and China, though the nations withdrew their support after war crimes were committed by the Belarusian Security Committee. Many Russian and Polish volunteers fought for the Belarusian anti-Lukashenko forces throughout the war.
Belarusian history since 2000
On 27 July 1991, the Republic of Belarus declared independence from the Soviet Union, a key step to gaining national sovereignty. Belarus became a member of the newly-formed Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and organization of post-Soviet states, after agreeing on the formation of it with Russia and Ukraine.
In 1994, the first presidential elections were held and Alexander Lukashenko was elected president of Belarus. Under Lukashenko, economic reforms were slowed. The 1996 referendum resulted in the amendment of the constitution that took key powers off the parliament. In 2001, he was re-elected as president in elections described as undemocratic by Western observers. At the same time the west began criticising him of authoritarianism. In 2006, Lukashenko was once again re-elected in presidential elections which were again criticised as flawed by most European Union countries. In 2010, Lukashenko was re-elected once again in presidential elections, which were described as flawed by most EU countries and institutions. A peaceful protest against the electoral fraud was attacked by riot police and by armed men dressed in black. After that, up to 700 opposition activists, including 7 presidential candidates, were arrested by KGB.