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‘Get out of our way and let us save the country’ Key quotes from Lukashenko’s national address ahead of presidential elections in Belarus

Source: Meduza
Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters / Scanpix / LETA

On August 4, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka) delivered his annual address to the nation and the parliament. The speech went on for about an hour and a half, so we’ve distilled his speech into a few key quotes.

On the suspected Russian mercenaries arrested in Belarus

These people confessed that they were sent to Belarus specifically and had orders to wait. The tickets to Istanbul are a myth. Perhaps I’m a bad geographer, but I don’t understand — why fly to Africa via the North Pole? Stop lying already, you’ve already humiliated yourselves. First Istanbul. Then, no, not Istanbul. Venezuela. Then yesterday they called [and said]: no, not Venezuela, even we don’t know where [they were going]. We have the harvest going on and we have to go chasing them through the woods. Don’t blow this up or there will be problems from here to Vladivostok. 

On the coronavirus

Today, every country recognizes that we did the right thing — what’s now being called the special path of Belarus. The WHO [World Health Organization] demanded immediate quarantine, a curfew, closed borders, but I couldn’t do that. As a result, we passed the exam and solved this problem. Whoever doesn’t want to see this will always be blind. In our hospitals, they didn’t sort patients like at the front. 

On the presidential candidates

Differentiate between real politicians, the real opposition, and wooden puppets. You can’t lead the country by appearing out of nowhere. We know those factories where such candidates come off the conveyor belts very well. They appear, deceive, provoke, set people up, and then get recalled by their owners. [These] unfortunate girls don’t understand what they’re talking about or what they’re doing. But we see who is behind them. We are taking a number of serious steps to counter this treat.

On online criticism

An entire army of Internet trolls is working to destabilize the situation in the country [Belarus]. We are a state, we will never win the battle on the Internet, because it’s yellow. We can’t stoop to this level and call everyone whores and prostitutes. If a person wants to understand the situation, he’ll read not only the Internet, but also other media. The demand for truth is growing every day. They’ve decided to carry out these color revolutions in our strong, monolithic society, with the help of new information technologies. It won’t work. 

On youth

All young people are valuable for the state. Both those who, under the influence of emotions and, possibly, beliefs, are standing in solidarity chains, and those who took an oath to defend their fatherland from threats. The state is responsible for all of its children. We must all protect young people from harmful behaviors. These puppeteers will fail! 

On rallies and election results

The authorities aren’t shutting anyone up, you can go out to authorized rallies. But if the rally is forbidden, any participant is a violator, not just the organizer. The reaction will be instant, and the response will be the most severe. [If] you want a different president go to the polling stations and not a public square. We — the authorities and I — will accept your decision. But if you aren’t capable and aren’t ready for something, step aside, stay out of it, get out of our way and let us save the country. 

Quotes selected by Grigory Levchenko

Translation by Eilish Hart

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