Born on 30 August 1954 in Vitebsk Oblast, Lukashenko graduated from the Mohylev Pedagogical Institute and the Belarusian Agricultural Academy. Following a brief teaching career as a historian and two years as a Soviet border guard, he worked in the collective farm system, rising to become the manager of the Gorodets State Farm in the Mohylev region in 1987. In 1990, he became a deputy in the Belarusian Supreme Soviet. Married with two children, Lukashenko speaks Russian and a Belarusian patois rather than formal Belarusian. His wife, also a teacher, is not interested in politics. She did not move with Lukashenko to Minsk in 1998 upon his election. Lukashenko himself has been handicapped by a serious back problem that has required frequent hospitalization.