Updated at 17:58,12-04-2021

Belarusian Opposition is Enemy of the People, Lukashenko Says


Alyaksandr Lukashenka called Belarus’ opposition politicians "enemies of the people" while speaking Thursday at a convention of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FTUB).

"They are not oppositionists, they are enemies of the people," the Belarusian leader said. "They are where they can do harm to the state. Yesterday Europe and America put pressure on us and they went there. Today Russia puts pressure on us and they go there."

Mr. Lukashenka denied opposition politicians’ accusations that he tried to win the people’s favor by raising pay rates shortly before elections. "We’ve addressed this theme [pay raise] 18 times in these five years," he said. "That’s why they should quiet down. We’re going to do this for the 19th time. People don’t think that someone wants to buy them. I don’t need the presidency if people think I try to play footsie with them."

According to Mr. Lukashenka, he does not intend to be involved in the establishment of political parties and non-governmental organizations in the country. "I won’t interfere in these processes," he said, noting that someone had proposed creating two government-controlled parties in the country, but he had rejected the idea. "We know what such party games lead to," he said.

As for Belaya Rus, Mr. Lukashenka pointed out that this organization should not be a resort for government officials. "We should not interfere in this organization," he said.

The state has established good relations with parties that are "normally minded," he claimed.

Mr. Lukashenka also said that Minsk would not accept suggestions from outside the country as to what kind of civil society Belarus should have. The country’s civil society will take shape depending on local realities, he stressed.