On the first day of early voting, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka delivered his annual address to the nation and parliament. About 2,500 persons were present at the hour-and-a-half event in the Palace of the Republic in Minsk.
According to him, the current year is exceptionally difficult: the world has faced the coronavirus pandemic, the fall in oil prices, the global economic crisis, a wave of protests and armed conflicts. “The European Union began to tumble down,” Lukashenka believes.
In his opinion, Belarus remained ‘the only peaceful link in the centre of Eurasia’. He spoke in favour of multi-vectorness in foreign policy, i.e. maintaining good relations with all countries. Speaking about Russia, he stressed that apart from Minsk, Moscow had no close allies. He also assured the audience that Russia ‘has always been, is and will be’ the closest ally of Belarus.
Raising the issue of the upcoming election, Alyaksandr Lukashenka promised that the authorities would accept any choice made by the citizens. Predictably, he attacked the opposition, calling his strongest opponent Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya and her associates from the united election teams’ headquarters ‘miserable little girls who do not understand what the masterminds are holding for them’.
“You should distinguish between real politics, real opposition, and plywood puppets: one who came out of the blue cannot rule the country,” he said.
The president also indirectly responded to those who are eager to reinstate the 1994 Constitution that limited the president’s powers. Instead of political arguments, however, he tried to incite the fear of the recurrence of the economic collapse of the 1990s. Among other things, he made a mention of how ‘armed gangs had been touring from Vladivostok to the Polish border’.
“The appeal to return to the Constitution of 1994 is a gift for criminals and criminal business,” he stressed.
The Belarusian leader blasted the ‘tabloid-like’ style of pre-election debates on the Internet; according to him, the state must not sink to such a level.
“We cannot call all those who dislike us, pardon, whores and prostitutes,” he said.
Lukashenka noted that the world had entered the era of hybrid wars and colour revolutions, into which Belarus was drawn as well.
“The attempts to start a bloodshed in the centre of Minsk are obvious. Billions have been spent on them,” he stressed.
In turn, he highlighted that the Belarusian police and special services would never allow the ‘destruction of Belarus’:
“We will not yield the country to you [Lukashenka’s opponents – Belsat]. Independence is expensive, it is worth preserving.”
He also addressed the military and officials, saying that all their problems would be resolved after the elections.
“The state will not abandon you, it will protect you. We have our own methods to deal with those extremists. Therefore, do not even be afraid for your safety and your children,” he added.
Referring to the recent arrest of 33 members of PMC Wagner, Alyaksandr Lukashenka refuted the Russian side’s information of their allegedly being on a stopover in our country. He claimed they had been ordered to come to Belarus and stay there. Moreover, he said that another militant group had been inserted into Belarus.