Belarus wide-eyed: Observer has nerve not to shake hands with Lukashenka

Belarusian Internet users are struck by the fact that independent election observer Natallia Harachka (Basalyha) failed to stand up at the sight of Lukashenka while other observers were playing the spaniel and trying to please ‘the leader of the nation’. But this is not the first time when the woman has shown courage.

According to Natallia Harachka, turnout at the ‘special’ polling station where Alyaksandr Lukashenka was casting his vote yesterday, did not reach 50%. The election commission consisted of member of the Belarusian State University of Physical Culture and Sports, representatives of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Communist Party and the Women’s Union.

“Everyone stood up when Lukashenka came, he began to shake hands. I refused to shake hands because I believe that he, a state official, failed to create conditions for the development of Belarus. In such a manner I demonstrated people’s attitude to him – that of the ordinary people of Belarus, not those who keep licking his boots year on year.”

Most observers at the polling station were ‘figureheads’:

“They are good friends of the commission members, they were shaking hands and hugging with people who came to vote. This is a special polling station where a lot people from Drazdy [where Lukashenka’s residence is situated], Belarusian athletes,” Natallia says.

According to her estimations, 1,368 voters cast their ballot at the polling station,but their ‘official’ number reached 2,053.

Natallia Harachka has been engaged in social activities since 1996. Human rights activist Aleh Vouchak remembers another incident when Natallia showed courage:


“The woman who was trying to stop the van, into which plaincloth policemen pushed participants of Silent Protest was Natalia. She walked out of the store with shopping bags but tried to help risking her life,” Vouchak told


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