Belarus Leader Admits to Staying ‘Too Long’ in Power in Russian State TV Interview

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Tuesday that his 26 years in office may have been excessive, but vowed to maintain his grip on power despite widespread protests against his rule.

Lukashenko’s rare admission has been a rallying cry for hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who flooded the streets of Belarusian cities for the past month to protest his disputed election victory that handed him a sixth presidential term. 

Arm in arm.

Alexander Lukashenko poses with the Russian state media representatives called in from Moscow to conduct his first interview since presidential elections in Belarus a month ago. pic.twitter.com/Wy0nN6jQnC— Sarah Rainsford (@sarahrainsford) September 8, 2020

“I may have stayed [in power] a little too long,” Lukashenko told four journalists from Russian state-run media in his first interview since the Aug. 9 vote, according to one of the journalists’ descriptions of the interview.

“But only I can really protect Belarusians now,” Lukashenko was quoted by the journalist as saying.

Another Russian journalist who interviewed him said that Lukashenko vowed to stay in power, quoting him as saying: “I’m not gonna leave just like that. I’ve built up Belarus for a quarter-century, I won’t just give it up.”

“Besides, if I leave, my supporters will be slaughtered,” Lukashenko claimed without evidence. 

Anti-Lukashenko protests since the disputed Aug. 9 vote have been largely peaceful, with the days immediately following the election marked by widespread violent detentions and torture of protesters. Lukashenko admitted “excesses” during the authorities’ “initial hotheadedness” but defended the riot police’s behavior during what he said was their “defense of the country from Blitzkrieg.”

Lukashenko didn’t rule out early elections after constitutional reforms he had promised in the wake of the protests, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Addressing his appearance with an automatic rifle outside his cordoned-off residence in Minsk while more than 100,000 people gathered nearby in late August, Lukashenko said:

“It meant only one thing: I haven’t fled and I’m ready to defend my country to the end.”

The set-piece interview took place a week after reports said that Belarusian state television replaced its striking journalists and technical personnel with those from the Kremlin-funded RT broadcaster. RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan was among the four Russian journalists to interview Lukashenko.

The 66-year-old’s latest admission comes a week after he acknowledged Belarus’ “somewhat authoritarian system” he has overseen since coming to power in the ex-Soviet state in 1994.

(c) The Moscow Times

18 comments

  • “I’m not gonna leave just like that. I’ve built up Belarus for a quarter-century, I won’t just give it up.”

    “Besides, if I leave, my supporters will be slaughtered,” Lukashenko claimed without evidence.

    Luka you just don’t get the message do you. The people voted you out, end of story, goodbye. Your supporters will be quite safe in Belarus, nobody ever died of getting beaten with flower petals. Finally, the Kremlin mouthpiece speaks, as usual, verbal diarrhea is emitted.

    “Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said today he did not believe there were any political prisoners in Belarus, but that he hoped the situation around Ms Kolesnikova would be cleared up.”

    Liked by 4 people

  • “Besides, if I leave, my supporters will be slaughtered,” Lukashenko claimed without evidence.

    Rather likely if he won’t leave and continues to hunt downe and torture the opposition. Beating up babushkas is highly unpopular.

    Liked by 4 people

  • No dictator in history has ever left office voluntarily. Unfortunately when this turd does eventually go, the evidence is that Belarus will simply carry on as just another squalid Russia vassal. As usual I hope I’m wrong.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Belarus public are quite happy to be associated with Russia. If they think free and fair elections will result with Luka’s removal, they are very mistaken.

      Liked by 4 people

      • That’s a compliment, coming from someone who wants to surrender the occupied territories to Russia for no rational reason.

        Liked by 1 person

        • What? Are you drunk?! I never supported surrendering anything. But i, other than you and the UA media – who live in fantasyland, know the Crimea won’t come back ever. So, Ukraine can use it as a bargaining chip to at least get back Donbas, or become Moldova 2.0.

          Liked by 1 person

          • What you want is a surrender. It already is Moldova 2, or more accurately Moldova 3; Georgia is Moldova 2. Do you think that Georgia could get back Abkhazia by surrendering North Ossetia?
            Even an idiot like Zelensky would not surrender Crimea for Donbas. Putler would simply take Kherson and put them all back to square 1.
            All of the occupied territories have to come back to their rightful owners, whether it takes 10 years or 100 years. That is the only honorable position to take. The only logical one too.
            There could one day be a US president who decides to get them all back. Or there could be a RSM that brings democracy. There are several other possibilities; Ukraine could eventually develop the power to retake the stolen lands itself and I wouldn’t bet against that either.
            Never ever surrender to fascist scum.

            Liked by 3 people

            • What do you mean with surrender? RuSSia is in control of Crimea, and will forever. Wether Ukraine keeps claiming it or not, it’s already lost. The claim won’t bring it back. But the war and territorial disputes will prevent Ukraine from joining Nato, and – if desired – the EU forever, making Maidan a pointless effort. You are too british in your core to understand me, so i will stop this discussion right here.

              Liked by 1 person

              • You want to surrender Crimea to get back Donbas. That will never happen. Even it did, there would still be no peace and it would all have been for nothing.

                Liked by 2 people

                • Okay. Your opinion. Like i said, Moldova 2.0 forever. Eastern Europe will remain a shithole for decades to come. Denmark surrendered a quarter of its territory to Germany and the UK Eire for the sake of peace btw. Anyway, me and Larisa will go out now, so speak you tomorrow. 😎

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Russia can’t afford Crimea or the Donbas. Putin’s people are hurting economically, just they were under Gorbachev in the 80s. Putin acts as he does because he genuinely fears what would happen to him if he didn’t keep a boot on his people’s necks. It won’t buy him much time. Both Crimea and Donbas will go back to their rightful owners. It will simply take time to do so, and the right opportunity. that opportunity is likely to be in the near future.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    • No ruSSian politician would dare to give up the Crimea, not even Navalny. Only one, Nemtsov dared it – and he’s dead now. Of course anything could happen, but the chance for that is very low. The surrender of Crimea would probably lead to the disintegration of the entire RuSSian Federation. Not bad at all, but that is why it’s not gonna happen. In the end sooner or later we will see what will happen. Belarus is a key.

                      Liked by 2 people

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