President Alexander Lukashenko has sworn that Belarus will not fall to what he called the “revolutionary virus”.
The comments came as he took the oath of office in Minsk after his landslide election victory that sparked unprecedented oppsosition protests. In a ceremony in the Palace of the Republic, he vowed to uphold the rights of Belarussians as he started his third term. Afterwards, wearing a military uniform, he strode into October Square to watch a military parade. The postponmement of the inauguration from the 31st of March led to speculation he had been rattled by rallies up to 10,000-strong. Today he insisted Belarus wanted no part of the peaceful revolutions that propelled pro-Western leaders to power in Georgia and Ukraine. He said “Your awkward attempts to induce a revolutionary virus had the opposite effect and became an antidote to this ‘coloured malaise’.” Lukashenko won last month’s presidential election with a score of 83 percent to 6 percent to his main rival, the liberal Alexander Milinkevich. International observers said the vote was neither free nor fair. EU officials also warmly welcomed Milinkevich this week in a rebuke to Lukashenko.