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‘The peacemaker of Slavic civilization’ Lukashenko gets the hero’s treatment from Belarusian (and Russian) propagandists
On the evening of June 24, Wagner Group forces ended their ‘justice march‘ towards Moscow. According to official statements from the Russian and Belarusian authorities, this was the result of negotiations between Yevgeny Prigozhin and Alexander Lukashenko — a figure nobody expected to serve as a key player in the rebellion’s outcome. Journalists from the independent Belarusian outlet Zerkalo spent the following day watching state television to see how their country’s propaganda news channels would cover the perplexing saga. Meduza is publishing an abridged translation of their report.
A ‘first-class performance’ from Lukashenko
On the opening news segment of the state-run TV channel Belarus 1, anchor Sergey Gusachenko set the tone from the very start: “Our president has once again shown the whole world that negotiations, no matter what it takes to achieve them, are better than gunfire and the loss of human lives.”
This was followed by a segment by reporter Elizaveta Kazakova, who briefly recounted the weekend’s events before repeating the Lukashenko press team’s statement that “Prigozhin accepted the proposal of the Belarusian leader.”
Then came a series of “experts.” Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov praised Lukashenko most of all, calling the dictator’s dealmaking a “first class performance”: “We don’t know all the nuances, all the details, but the role of the Belarusian president… I think books will be written and films made [about it].”
According to Solovyov, Lukashenko played a “prominent role” in Saturday’s crisis by “stopping a civil war.”
Russian propagandist Armen Gasparyan repeated these sentiments:
“We never doubted Lukashenko. Yesterday, we saw the qualities that characterize him as a politician (qualities that are already fading, judging by everything happening in Europe), and as a person,” he said.
‘The entire Russian-language Internet was thanking Lukashenko’
The state-owned TV station ONT (“All-National TV”) dedicated nearly eight minutes to Russia’s rebellion and Lukashenko’s ostensible role in stopping it. The segment was hosted by propagandist Igor Tur, a member of the Belarusian president’s press pool.
“Not just the country but the entire world came out to express gratitude for Alexander Lukashenko’s negotiations initiative,” said Tur.
The channel then aired more praise for Lukashenko from Vladimir Solovyov, who said the Belarusian president is “definitely worthy of the title Hero of Russia.”
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“At that moment, the entire Russian-language Internet, and not only that, cried out ‘Thank you!’ to Lukashenko for helping prevent what would have been an unequivocally negative outcome,” Tur added. “What all this was, how it will affect the Union State, and what will be done in response are all longer-term questions: the strategic problem remains unsolved, but the tactical question has been confidently handled.”
Then came comments from former Belarusian Defense Ministry Press Secretary Vladimir Makarov, who was introduced as a military expert. He praised the Belarusian Security Council’s statement that Belarus “always stands with Russia.”
Parliamentary Deputy Andrey Savinykh added that Belarus and Russia are “bound by a shared destiny.”
‘I felt an enormous sense of pride’
The main news segment on the state-owned network STV (Capital TV) on Sunday featured the General Director of Belarus’s National Library, political scientist Vadim Gigin.
Lukashenko enjoys great respect from a wide variety of political actors in Russia. Yes, Russia avoided the worst — it avoided turmoil. And the fact that Belarus, the president of Belarus himself, served as the guarantor, as the person interested in maintaining a stable, strong Russia, is very important.
Viewers then heard from Belarusian lawmaker Oleg Gaidukevich:
Yesterday, we saw the authority of our president. A person who enjoys unreserved support not only in Belarus but also in Russia, and, I’m certain, throughout the entire post-Soviet space as well as the world. Lukashenko showed once again that he’s someone capable of taking action when necessary. And, I say honestly, yesterday I felt an enormous sense of pride for our president.
According to news anchor Yevgeny Pustovoy, “Minsk is now becoming the peacemaker of Slavic civilization.” “The lives of hundreds, and perhaps thousands of our Russian people were saved. The territorial integrity and social harmony of great Russia [was preserved].”
Translation by Sam Breazeale
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