‘Too long in office’, but still ‘irreplaceable’. Lukashenka interviewed by Russian media

On September 8, Alyaksandr Lukashenka has granted an interview to Russia’s state-owned media outlets.

Margarita Simonyan (RT), Anton Vernitsky (Channel 1), Evgeny Rozhkov (Rossiya 1), Roman Babayan (Govorit Moskva radio station) arrived in Minsk to be present at Tuesday’s meeting in the Palace of Independence.

As the interview has not been published yet, only Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s words cited by the interviewers are known. In his opinion, there is no one who could replace him.

“Perhaps, I have been staying in office too long<…>But in fact, it is only me who can protect the Belarusians now,” he reportedly said.

Among other things, Lukashenka reiterated that he had no plans to resign.

I have been building Belarus for a quarter of a century. I am not going to just quit. If I leave, they [perhaps, opponents – Belsat] will start slaughtering my supporters,” he told Russian journalists.

Lukashenka also commented on his recently showing off an assault rifle. According to him, such offbeat public appearance indicated that that he was sticking to his guns without any intention to escape.

Аlyaksandr Lukashenka holding arms near Independence Palace. Мinsk, 30 August 2020. Photo: RIA Novosti

He made mantion of would-be amending the Constitution; holding early presidential elections would be possible only after the amendments were made, he stressed.

If the Russian journalists’ words are anything to go by, Lukashenka said that ‘Americans through their centres in Poland and Czechia’ were behind the protests, but he noted that ‘new bourgeoisie who want power’ had appeared in Belarus.

Lukashenka reportedly confirmed his readiness not to hold negotiations with the opposition Coordination Council (CC), voicing the false information that they wanted to ‘break off relations with brotherly Russia’. Earlier, Council members had repeatedly denied the allegation.

In the interview, he suggested that Tsikhanouskaya’s associate and CC member Maryia Kalesnikava, who was detained on Tuesday not far from the Belarusian border, just wanted to flee to her sister residing in Ukraine. In turn, Kalesnikava’s father has immediately refuted the statement.

Detained in Belarus. Opposition activist Maryia Kalesnikava is not in Ukraine