Belarusian President Lukashenko says protests caused by foreign influence

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Sep 09, 2020, 08.15 PM(IST)

In this file photo taken on August 09, 2020 Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko looks on as he votes at a polling station during the presidential election in Minsk. Photograph:( AFP )

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Belarus President, dubbed as Europe's last dictator, Alexander Lukashenko is facing nationwide protests for the allegedly rigged elections which led to his victory recently

Belarus President, dubbed as Europe's last dictator, Alexander Lukashenko is facing nationwide protests for the allegedly rigged elections in which he recently claimed victory. Thousands have taken to the streets calling for fresh elections in the country, and for Lukashenko to step down from power.

The leader on Wednesday said that "foreign influence" is causing the protests across the country. Roughly translated by Reuters, his words implied "There is no any unrest in the country. And you know, without the external force - there would have not been even that."

"What do I mean - the external force? The one that is controlled from the outside. In this case, we and Russians know who operates and from where. Americans operate from a hub near Warsaw", he said.

He further went on to ask for Slavic states to show solidarity in the face of "foreign influence". "Russia, and Belarus - Ukraine - are Slavic states who needs a strong leader who has certain powers and authority. This is his strength. Maybe not such powers and authority Belarus president has. Maybe... The problem is not even the (Belarus) constitution. Many presidential powers are unthinkably huge. They need to be delegated to governors, to parliament", he said.

Also read: Russian President Putin vows military support for Belarus' Lukashenko

He also acknowledged his 26 year long rule. Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since the break up of USSR. "Probably, I have been in power for too long. Well, turn on the iron - and here I am (telling) the election program, turn on the electric kettle - here is Lukashenko, turn on the TV - Lukashenko and so on. And, probably, some people are a little tired of it", he added.

'Russia is next'

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday suggested that Russia would be next if his regime falls in the face of a wave of mass demonstrations.

"You know what we concluded with the Russian establishment and leadership? If Belarus falls, Russia will be next," state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Lukashenko as saying in an interview with several Russian media.

Also read: EU to impose sanctions on 31 senior Belarusian officials over recent election: Report

He also said he may have stayed in power as president a little too long, but said he was the only person capable of protecting the country for now.

Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994 and claimed victory in a contested August 9 presidential election which his opponents say was massively rigged.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already vowed military support for embattled Belarusian leader, although it would not be deployed unless unrest there spun out of control.

The 65-year-old Belarusian strongman's relationship with Putin had soured ahead of the ballot because Minsk refused closer integration with Russia and even claimed Moscow had sent mercenaries across the border to organise riots. Russia sees Belarus as a strategic buffer against NATO and the EU.

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