An ordinary photo of a boy in a third-class sleeper caused a stir among Belarusian Internet users. Why? Because it features Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s younger son Kolya travelling unescorted.
“I rather doubt that the president’s son was on the train alone taking into account the fact that not all Belarusians are happy about our president, so I think that’s not true,” says a resident of Minsk.
“It is a fake! Who would have let him be in third-class sleeper?!” another Minsker believes.
The picture was prresumably made by a random passenger on August 17. According to the presidential press service, Kolya did travel from Mahiliou in Shklou.
“I would like to reinforce the following: contrary to what may have been rumoured or published, the president brings his son up in simplicity. So did he with the older sons, Viktar and Dzmitry,” Lukashenka’s press secretary Natallya Eysmant stressed.
It would sound plausible, if not for the fact that any information about the Lukashenka family appears in the press not by accident. The ‘casual’ photo triggered a wave of critical posts and commentaries on the web, e.g.:
“The railway car was armoured and all passengers were employees of the KGB and their children. There were armed guards in the covered platforms!”
Given that the school attended by ‘ordinary boy’ Kolya in under security forces’ protection, one has trouble to buy the story by the presidential press service.
“Alyaksandr Lukashenka is trying to show people that he lives very modestly, that his 16 or 17 residences is no great things. He wants to present Kolya as an average child,” well-known Belarusian director Yury Khaschavatski says.
And, as an average child, Kolya plays the piano worth $18,000, plays hockey, takes part in official meetings, as well as travels a lot with his father.
For example, he learns geography first-hand, since the trips often collide with school lessons. And sometimes Kolya, who is still a minor, drinks alcoholic beverages with consent of his father – as it was in China. He also has time for visiting holy places, e.g. the Vatican.
And if Kolya gets tired of black-tie events, he can always go back to the parent corner – and, for example, pick watermelons posobirat. Or harvest five tons of grain. It is very poetic, but the prose of life is that the 12-year-old pupil has no special license to drive a harvester.