Stanislau Stanislavavich Shushkevich (Belarusian: Станісла́ў Станісла́вавіч Шушке́віч, Łacinka: Stanisłaŭ Stanisłavavič Šuškievič; Russian: Станисла́в Станисла́вович Шушке́вич; born December 15, 1934 in Minsk) is a Belarusian politician and scientist. From September 28, 1991 to January 26, 1994 he was the first leader and head of state of independent Belarus after the dissolution of the Soviet Union (Chairman of the Supreme Soviet - also chairman of Parliament). He supported free market and democratic reforms and played a key role in the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
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.
He was born on December 15, 1934 in Minsk. His parents are teachers who come from peasant families. His father, Stanislav Petrovich Shushkevich (Born February 19, 1908 in Minsk) was arrested in the 1930's and was released from prison in 1956.
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 forced a vote of confidence, which Shushkevich lost. Shushkevich was replaced by Vyacheslav Kuznetsov and later by Myechyslau Hryb.
Some claim that the accusations against Shushkevich were 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.
He continues to be active in politics, heading the Belarusian Social Democratic Assembly party.
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|Leader of Belarus