Stanislav Stanislavovich Shushkevich (Belarusian: Станісла́ў Станісла́вавіч Шушке́віч, Łacinka: Stanisłaŭ Stanisłavavič Šuškievič;[a] Russian: Станисла́в Станисла́вович Шушке́вич; born December 15, 1934 in Minsk) is a Belarusian politician and scientist. From August 25, 1991 to January 26, 1994, he was the first head of state of independent Belarus after it seceded from the Soviet Union, serving as Chairman of the Supreme Soviet (also called chairman of Parliament or president). He supported social democratic reforms and played a key role in the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Shushkevich in 2009
|Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Belarus|
August 25, 1991 – January 26, 1994
Acting to September 18, 1991
|Prime Minister||Viachaslau Kebich|
|Preceded by||Mikalay Dzyemyantsyey (as Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Byelorussian SSR)|
|Succeeded by||Vyacheslav Nikolayevich Kuznetsov (acting)|
|Born||December 15, 1934|
Minsk, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union
|Political party||Belarusian Social Democratic Assembly|
|Alma mater||Belarusian State University|
|Awards||Belarusian Democratic Republic 100th Jubilee Medal (2018)|
As a scientist, he is a corresponding member of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences, Doctor in Physics and Mathematics, recipient of various state awards, professor and the author and originator of textbooks and over 150 articles and 50 inventions.
Shushkevich was born on December 15, 1934 in Minsk. His parents were teachers who came from peasant families. His father, Stanislav Petrovich Shushkevich (born February 19, 1908 in Minsk) was arrested in the 1930s and was released from prison in 1956. His mother Helena Romanowska was ethnically Polish and her family had szlachta (noble) roots.
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When Supreme Soviet chairman Mikalay Dzyemyantsyey was ousted for his support of the 25 August coup attempt, Shushkevich was voted as his successor, and presided over Byelorussia voting to secede from the Soviet Union. He thus became the newly minted nation's first leader. When the republic changed its name to Belarus on 25 September, Shushkevich was voted as Supreme Soviet chairman on a permanent basis.
On December 8, 1991, in Belavezhskaya Pushcha and together with the leaders of Russia (Boris Yeltsin) and Ukraine (Leonid Kravchuk), he signed a declaration that the Soviet Union was dissolved and replaced by the Commonwealth of Independent States; the declaration later became known as the "Belavezha Accords".
Shushkevich withdrew from Belarus the vestigial Soviet nuclear arsenal (both tactical and strategic), without preconditions or compensation from Russia or the West. However, other reforms became stalled due to the opposition from a hostile parliament as well as from Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kebich.
In late 1993, Alexander Lukashenko, the then-chairman of the anti-corruption committee of the Belarusian parliament, accused 70 senior government officials, including Shushkevich, of corruption, including stealing state funds for personal purposes. Lukashenko's accusations (taking two boxes of nails for his Dacha) forced a vote of confidence, which Shushkevich lost. Shushkevich was replaced by Vyacheslav Kuznetsov and later by Myechyslau Hryb.
The accusations against Shushkevich turned out to be without merit.
In July, 1994 the first direct presidential elections were held in Belarus. Six candidates stood, including Lukashenko, Shushkevich and Kebich, with the latter regarded as the clear favorite. In the first round Lukashenko won 45% of the vote against 17% for Kebich, 13% for Paznyak and 10% for Shushkevich.
In 2002 the world learned about a highly unusual court case. Shushkevich sued the Belarusian Ministry of Labor and Social Security: due to inflation, his retirement pension as a former head of state was the equivalent of US$1.80 monthly. To earn income, Shushkevich lectures extensively in foreign universities including in Poland, the United States and Asian countries.
Awards and decorationsEdit
- 1982, Honored Worker of Science and Technology of the BSSR
- 1997, Polish Prize of Jan Nowak-Jeziorański
- July 6, 2010, Lithuanian presidential Order of Vytautas the Great, "for active support of the independence of Lithuania in 1991"
- 2012, Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom
- 2018, Belarusian Democratic Republic 100th Jubilee Medal, "for contribution to the Belarusian democracy and independence"
- lit.transl. Stanislau Stanislavavich Shushkevich
- Rice, Mark (10 June 2014). "Back in the USSR: Belarusian leader who helped bury Soviet Union says it is making a comeback". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
- [https://ria.ru/20131122/978039326.html?inj=1 "2013 interview with Shushkevich about Lee Harvey Oswald" (in Russian).]
- правды», Татьяна ШАХНОВИЧ | Сайт «Комсомольской (December 4, 2014). "Станислав Шушкевич: "Я до сих пор человек Ельцина, а с Кебичем помирюсь - если извинится!"". KP.RU - сайт «Комсомольской правды» (in Russian).
- ""Мой папа убил Михоэлса". Кем стали дети руководителей Беларуси". TUT.BY (in Russian). October 4, 2016.
- Andrew Savchenko, "Belarus: a Perpetual Borderland", 2009, ISBN 9004174486, p. 179
- Как поживают экс-президенты стран СНГ [Life of the Ex-presidents of CIS Countries] (in Russian). Trud. March 3, 2005. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.
- Шарый, Андрей (March 11, 2002). "Stanislav Shushkevich". Radio Liberty (in Russian).
- Ramani, Samuel (2017-04-17). "Interview with Belarus's First President Stanislav Shushkevich on Lukashenka's Rise and Belarus's Political Future". HuffPost. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
- "Former Leader of Belarus Stanislau Shushkevich to Receive Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom". charter97.org.
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