'Last Dictator' to Litterbugs: I'll Take Your Car

Belarus' Alexander Lukashenko makes a move on pollution

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 31, 2014 11:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – Europe's "last dictator" is no fan of litter. Throw your leftover trash on the streets of Belarus and President Alexander Lukashenko might just take your car. The country's state-run news agency BelTA reports Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, is warning litterers they could face tough punishments including the "confiscation of vehicles." While eliminating pollution is an admirable goal, this is coming from the guy who arrested people for clapping during anti-government demonstrations—and even allowed a one-armed man to be fined for the supposed crime, the Washington Post reports.

Europe's longest-serving ruler has also been known to arrest journalists and opponents and to come down hard on teddy bear stunts. He was given the title of Europe's "last dictator" by Germany's first openly gay minister back in 2012. His response, per The Wire: "When I heard that, I thought: It's better to be a dictator than gay." Lukashenko's latest crackdown comes after a trip to a rural part of the country where he found what he called the "most terrible treatment of farmland." He said, per the Guardian, "They think it is far away and no one will see it. This is irresponsible."

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko waves upon his arrival at the Serbia Palace to meet Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, unseen, in Belgrade, Serbia, June 12, 2014.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko waves upon his arrival at the Serbia Palace to meet Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, unseen, in Belgrade, Serbia, June 12, 2014.   (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
In this file photo taken on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks to the media at a polling station after voting during parliamentary elections in Minsk, Belarus.
In this file photo taken on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks to the media at a polling station after voting during parliamentary elections in Minsk, Belarus.   (AP Photo/Sergei Grits, File)
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