11/18/2020, 09.04
BELARUS - RUSSIA
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Lukashenko willing to leave power and emigrate to Russia

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Lukashenko stated this in an interview on the Tut.by website yesterday. Protests against fraud in presidential elections exceede 100 consecutive days. Police continue arrests even in private homes. New economic sanctions are on the way against Belarusian state-owned companies and companies closest to Lukashenko.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - In a 4-hour interview with journalists from Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Russia, published on the Tut.by website yesterday, President Aleksandr Lukashenko reiterated that he did not want to remain in power: "I'll go, that’s it. The issue does not concern me, but them”, referring to his protesters. "You understand what will happen: they will tear each other apart," declared the Belarusian batka.

During the interview, Lukashenko said he was only worried about his people: "I have given my best years to this country, so I am deeply attached to it and I try to resist, because I understand what will happen, and you also know what will happen”.

Similar statements are commonplace in the rhetoric of the "eternal president" of Belarus, but for the first time he also hinted at the possibility of emigrating: "Everyone knows that I have no intention of running away, and I will not. When everything has quieted down and peaceful I will take a plane and go. I will go to Russia to live and work, thank God I am still in good health (“a healthy farmer”, zdorovyj muzhik)”, said Lukashenko.

However, analysts see these new form of presidential threats, such as "I will leave and you will reap the disaster”, as an attempt to confuse national public opinion. In some ways, it is also an attempt to disarm the protests, with a promise to leave the country within a short time. On the other hand, the Belarusian president shows that he is looking for a way out for himself and his family, to avoid the possible retaliation of an overthrow of the status quo (his son Nikolaj is already studying in a Moscow high school).

Lukashenko has long understood that he has lost the trust of his people, as demonstrated by visits to factories where he was openly contested. Russia is evidently behind all of this preparing for Lukashenko’s replacement in a reasonable timeframe, to avoid catastrophic consequences both for internal conflicts in the country and for the economic retaliation that comes from the international community. A

One journalist, Katerina Shmatina, commented by asking a dramatic question: "What country did you create, if now you say you want to leave?"

The protests have meanwhile exceeded 100 consecutive days since August 9, the day of the disputed presidential elections (photos 2 and 4). They show no sign of stopping, even though the autumn frosts, typical of the second half of November, have begun.

Mass arrests by the Omon also continue, including the arrests of various journalists. The central square renamed "The Square of Change" has been the scene of new police persecutions in recent days, which have also besieged the private homes where the protesters took refuge (photo 3). The square was manned by the police all day Sunday and the following night; the siege was lifted only after 9 am on Monday 16 November.

On November 16 the "president in exile", Svetlana Tikhanovskaja, met the ambassadors of Denmark, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, Ireland and the representatives of the "Council of Northern Countries". Further economic sanctions were discussed against Belarusian state-owned companies and companies most linked to Lukashenko, blocking state-related financial development programs and cooperation with state banks, in particular Belarus Bank and Belagroprom Bank, the Rural Bank. In a few days the EU countries should approve a new package of individual and economic sanctions against Lukashenko's Belarus. Tikhanovskaya said that after the president's outing, Belarus will turn to the International Criminal Court to assess the charge of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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