MINSK, 7 August (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko commented on the election campaign in Belarus and spoke about some of its participants in an interview with Ukrainian journalist Dmitry Gordon, BelTA has learned.
The interviewer asked the president whether the election could be considered democratic if some of the opponents have been detained.
“The law applies to all. We are open. We have showed the materials we collected to all foreigners. We showed what Gazprom's bank was doing, how it financed the election campaign, how it attracted, through bonus payments, 5,000 employees of the bank to volunteer to collect signatures and so on. He [ex-participant of the election race and ex-head of Belgazprombank Viktor Babariko] did not submit a declaration. This is important. When a person is going to run for the presidency, this means he should submit an accurate declaration. He did not specify he had property abroad, he concealed much of his income, he did not pay taxes.”
The president expressed the opinion that the man's desire to go into politics and run for president was an attempt to avoid imminent criminal responsibility for his crimes. “The idea is that you go into politics and become a political prisoner. This is the trend. This trend has been here a long time. That was probably his plan. He is no president material. And he knows that," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The president stressed that Viktor Babariko will not be able to obtain the status of a political prisoner as all the necessary documents have been collected and that international experts, Interpol can get familiar with them," the Belarusian leader said.
Dmitry Gordon said that Russia, in his opinion, does not want Aleksandr Lukashenko to become president again, and that Viktor Babariko and Valery Tsepkalo, according to some information, were the projects of the Kremlin and were financed by the Russians. “Is that true or not?' he asked.
“Yes and no. First of all, I would not say that Russia does not want Lukashenko to be President. Why? Because they do not know whether others would be more agreeable, better than Lukashenko. They have doubts,” said the head of state.
When asked if Viktor Babariko and Valery Tsepkalo had any relation to Russia, Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “This is for sure. A huge amount of money was pumped through Gazprom. Sometimes even Gazprom did not know what money was spent on this election campaign.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko was also asked to share his opinion about Svetlana Tikhanovskaya who keeps holding rallies, although she was hardly known to anyone until recently. “I swear to you, I think almost nothing about her. Except one thing: I just feel sorry for her. She is simply used by all those people behind Babariko, Tsepkalo and her.”
“What do they hope to achieve? They know the article in the criminal code for their offenses and know what sentences are awarded for such crimes. Huge money has been thrown in. We even have not found all of them. Take the campaign events on the internet for example - you see what is going on. There is nothing free out there. They always pay more during a tense electoral period. Traveling around the country campaigning, invitation of artists cost a lot of money,” the president said.
“Sound and light equipment, stage. We are not naive people,” Dmitry Gordon agreed.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also spoke about the so-called many-thousand rallies, which Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and her allies are gathering. “Yes, people come to see. Three women are campaigning. People are curious. This is new for Belarus. This is not Ukraine. It has never happened here before. They also invite famous singers to perform there. People come to see and to have fun.”