Accessibility links

Breaking News

Just Let The President Score

Lukashenka receives a trophy after a more successful match.
Lukashenka receives a trophy after a more successful match.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka calls his hockey squad “the best amateur team in the world.” Backed by a number of professional players, who participate in the local team to play alongside their president, the strongman had never lost a game.

That is, until this weekend. In a daring performance, the Metallurg professional ice hockey club from the city of Zhlobin edged out the president’s team in a three-game series.

It turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory for Metallurg coach Yaugen Lebedzev, who discovered the next day that he was out of a job.

Lebedzev, who led his team to third place in the country’s first-division league in 2008, said he has yet to learn of the official reason for the decision, but that his contract was definitively severed.

Belarusian news site Charter 97 notes that Lukashenka has a history of high-profile sporting victories, outracing professional skiers and scoring against hockey pros. Those athletes, unlike Lebedzev, were most likely allowed to stay on in their jobs.

-- Belarus Service

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

Latest Posts