On August 6th, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko continued his attempts to get more public approval and sympathy by claiming that he had been intentionally infected with COVID-19.
Earlier, on July 28th, he told military officials that he had contracted and recovered from COVID-19 and he was asymptomatic.
“Today you are meeting a man who managed to survive the coronavirus on his feet. Doctors came to such a conclusion yesterday. Asymptomatic,” Lukashenko said.
“As I have said, 97 per cent of our population is carrying this infection asymptomatically. Thank God that I have managed to get into this cohort of the asymptomatic,” he said.
Then, in an interview with Ukrainian journalist Dmitry Gordon he claimed that he had been intentionally infected.
“We’re leaning towards [the version] that someone planted the coronavirus on me. I’m now looking into when it might’ve happened.”
He said he wouldn’t name his suggestions public yet.
To attempt and prove how determined he is to do the best job he can in leading his people, Lukashenko revealed that he ignored doctors’ pleas to submit to treatment when signs of the coronavirus were discovered on his scans, and instead pressed on with his schedule.
Lukashenko claimed that doctors had him fully back on his feet in just “four days.”
In the same interview with Gordon he said that “they may shoot me dead, but I will never run [from Belarus].”
It is unclear who “they” are, probably the “evil Russians.”
Lukashenko has been president of Belarus, a former Soviet republic that remains a close ally of Russia, for a quarter of a century and is now seeking a sixth consecutive term in upcoming elections on August 9th.
Belarus’ previous presidential elections have been widely criticized as not being free or fair. During his tenure, dissent and independent media have been suppressed, while prominent political opponents have been frequently jailed and sometimes held for years.
Two of his strongest challengers in this election have been jailed and prevented from registering their candidacies. Lukashenko is now expected to come out victorious in the vote next week.
Furthermore, he has very evidently orchestrated more than one controversial situation to show that Moscow is somehow against him being re-elected in an attempt to make himself look in danger and gain compassion and lead people to the conclusion that if “the Russians” want him gone, then he must be doing something right.
Belarus has been rocked by protests in recent weeks, as demonstrators have rallied have rallied behind Svetlana Tikhanouskaya, the wife of one of the jailed candidates, who is campaigning in her husband’s place.
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