Vladimir Parfenovich (Belarusian: Уладзімір Парфяновіч; Russian: Владимир Владимирович Парфенович, Vladimir Parfenovich; born December 2, 1958 in Minsk) is a Soviet-born Belarussprint canoer who competed from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. He later became involved in politics for his home country of Belarus.
Vladimir Parfenovich trained at Dynamo in Minsk. He represented the USSR, and won three Olympic gold medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow in the K-1 500 m, K-2 500 m, and K-2 1000 m events. Ian Ferguson of New Zealand is the only other canoeist to achieve this feat, winning three golds at the 1984 LA Olympics. It is worth noting, however, that the 1980 and 1984 games were blighted by boycotts by western and eastern nations respectively.
After retiring from canoeing, he worked as an instructor for the Sport ministry of Belarus, served in the KGB and police forces; and worked as representative for an Austrian firm. In 2000, Vladimir Parfenovich participated in parliamentary elections and won.
Democratic opposition in Belarus boycotted those elections to Alexander Lukashenko's parliament, charging that it was just a "puppet show". Even in this "puppet" parliament there eventually appeared dissenting voices who were not afraid to say that they don't like the authoritarian rule of Lukashenko. They formed a parliamentary group "Respublika". And Vladimir Parfenovich was one of the members of this group.
On June 3, 2004 Vladimir Parfenovich and two other members of parliament, general Valery Fralou and Siarhiej Skrabiec started a hunger-strike protesting that chair of the parliament didi not give them the floor for debate and did not put to vote their proposed amendments to the Election code. Several other opposition politician joined their hunger strike. The three politicians stopped the hunger strike after 18 days on June 21, when Parliament voted against their proposals.
One month later on July 21, 2004 on the tenth anniversary of Lukashenko's term in office, Vladimir Parfenovich together with his colleagues organized a peaceful street protest which was roughly dispersed by the police.
Vladimir Parfenovich is still engaged in Belarusian politics, actively opposing Alexander Lukashenko. For his political opposition activities, authorities have attempted to exclude him from the National Olympic Committee of Belarus, just before the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, but at the last moment Lukashenko, who is also a president of the National Olympic Committee, did not sign the document.
Vladimir Parfenovich lost his position as President of the Belarus Canoe/Kayak Federation in November 2005.