Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko reportedly confessed to a Russian state reporter that “maybe” he’s “overstayed his welcome” as the country’s leader, VGTRK correspondent Evgeny Rozhkov revealed in an appearance on the Rossiya 1 television network on Tuesday.
During a recent interview, Rozhkov says he asked Lukashenko about the reasons for the protests that have swept Belarus since early August. The president said most of the responsibility lies with foreign influence, particularly from the Americans, but the president also acknowledged that there are domestic reasons for Belarusians’ discontent.
“I asked him if it’s really only external factors causing all the grievances. He said there are also domestic reasons. He answered the following (I’ll read now, so I don’t misquote him). He said: ‘Yes, maybe I’ve overstayed my welcome a bit. Maybe it’s my face not just on TV but on every household appliance. But I am really the only one now who can protect the Belarusians,” Lukashenko reportedly told Rozhkov.
According to Rozhkov, Lukashenko also recognized that a second domestic reason for protests in Belarus is the emergence of two new generations “and the formation of this small class of bourgeois.” “A class of little bourgeoisie is what he called them. And that’s what led to discontent. They want power,” said Evgeny Rozhkov, recalling his interview with Lukashenko.
On September 8, Alexander Lukashenko granted an interview to a handful of Russian journalists at a meeting in Minsk. In addition to Rozhkov, the Belarusian president spoke to Russia Today editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, Pervyi Kanal correspondent Anton Vernitsky, and Govorit Moskva editor-in-chief Roman Babayan.
On August 9, Belarus held its most recent presidential election. State officials declared a landslide victory for Lukashenko — his six consecutive term — but independent and opposition observers and activists documented numerous irregularities and violations, leading to mass protests that have continued for a month now.