Belarus has just enjoyed another “election,” and President Lukashenko has been delcared winner with over 80% of the vote.
The Western media is declaring this a “fixed” election. Here is The Independent:
Sounds like something is going on, and I would guess that Lukashenko cheated to some degree. But can we really rely on the Western media to tell us this, especially when they are trying to build up Lukashenko’s rival as some sort of “woke,” mask-wearing feminist? Yes, literally:
…Ms Tikhanovskaya’s opposition campaign took on [an] unmistakably feminist, modern slant. It also brought over 200,000 people to the streets in support – an astonishing achievement in Belarus, a police state of just 9 million people, and where dissent often leads to jail.
Underestimating Ms Tikhanovskaya was not the only mistake the usually clever and adroit Mr Lukashenko made in the run-up to the elections. His electoral rating was hit hard by a perceived cavalier approach to the Covid-19 epidemic: he claimed the virus was avoidable with vodka, trips to the sauna and work in the potato fields. His management of the country’s increasingly desperate economic position – and its rapidly unwinding model of Soviet planning with Russian subsidies – also provoked much anger.
Nice touch at the end there, referring to Western attempts to destabilise the economy! Also, note how Lukashenko gets blamed for being cavalier with cornoavirus, but Tikhanovskaya — or her backers — bringing “200,000 people “onto the streets is passed over without commenting on the health risks in a pandemic.
In the interests of fairness, let’s also ask another question, namely: who owns the so-called Independent? Answer from Wikipedia:
Evgeny Lebedev (41%) Sultan Muhammad Abuljadayel (30%) Justin Byam Shaw (26%) Minor shareholders (3%).
Lebedev is the son of Alexander Lebedev, a former KGB functionary, who made the transition to post-Communist billionaire. Not the most salubrious way to make a fortune, as is well known. In fact “Russian billionaire” is a synonym for “reeking cesspit of corruption.”
Sultan Muhammad Abuljadayel is a Saudi Prince and therefore connected in some way with the Saudi Royal family. Recent events, like the brutal murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul on the orders of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, give us a good idea of how “independent” he must be.
Why should we take the deputised word of an ex-pat Russian oligarch with KGB connections and some pampered scion of the murderous Saudi regime that Lukashenko is oppressing his people, when in fact he may merely be countering attempts to subvert his country’s political system?
The only honest position in a case like this is to admit that real democracy exists neither in the UK nor in Belarus. But at least there is a chance that Lukashenko cares about his own people, while our corrupt oligarchs clearly don’t.