His concern about Chernobyl was one of the reasons why he sought a seat in the Congress of People’s Deputies, a body set up by Mr Gorbachev in 1989; he was elected to Parliament the following year. After the coup attempt in August 1991, some parliamentary leaders were forced to leave the country, and Mr Shushkevich was appointed chairman of the body.
After being ousted by Mr. Lukashenko in 1994, Mr. Shushkevich became an outspoken critic of his successor and Lukashenko’s penchant for making heavenly promises.
“If he can do it all, he’s Moses,” Mr Shushkevich told The Times in July 1994. “But he is not. Solzhenitsyn said that Vladimir Zhirinovsky” – an ultra-nationalist on arson in Russia – “was the caricature of a Russian patriot. Well, Lukashenko is the caricature of Zhirinovsky.”
But Mr. Lukashenko may have exacted a measure of revenge. The Times reported in 2002 that he issued an executive decree in 1997 setting new rates and living costs for the pensions of state officials — with the exception of former presidents of the Supreme Soviet, a club made up of Mr. Shushkevich and another Man. In hyperinflation-prone Belarus, this hit Mr Shushkevich hard in the wallet.
His monthly payment “was about $200,” Mr. Shushkevich told The Times, “which is a good pension by our standards.”
‘Now,’ he said, ‘it is 3,196 rubles. That equals $1.80.”
Besides his wife, among his survivors are a son, Stanislau, and a daughter, Alena.
Mr. Shushkevich continued to fire at his successor to the very end. In one of his last interviews, in December, he linked Mr Lukashenko with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin.
“Putin and Lukashenko are still unhappy with the fall of the USSR,” he said. “They want to rule forever. This is not the way to create democracy.”
Milana Mazaeva contributed reporting.