President of Belarus acknowledged that personally instructed start business against a team of their electoral competitors. According to Alexander Lukashenko, his political opponents want to undermine the situation inside the country and “go on the offensive against the current government.”
First of all, the Belarusian leader had in mind the team of potential presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Signature collection pickets for her nomination were gathered by hundreds of people across the country. After that, Lukashenko instructed start a case against her husband and head of the headquarters – the popular blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky. In late May, Tikhanovsky and several other members of the initiative group were detained during an authorized picket to collect signatures.
“Yes, I gave a signal to Tikhanovsky. Did I do something wrong? I was worried about my country, for which I am still responsible. And I will always answer in any quality,” Lukashenko said on the air of Belarus 1 TV channel .
Activists are accused of preparing riots and violence against police officers. Lukashenko claims that Tikhanovskaya’s campaign is funded from abroad. Activists themselves consider the actions of the authorities a provocation. Human rights activists call their persecution politically motivated.
Lukashenko also admitted that on his instructions another potential candidate in the elections, former banker Viktor Babariko, was arrested. Now he is in jail. At the same time, the authorities for 10 days have not disclosed the essence of the charges against him. More than 20 former colleagues of Babariko and current members of the headquarters were detained. They are accused of economic crimes. Lawyers Babariko called the case political.
In total, about 400 people were detained during the presidential campaign in Belarus. The European Union and the United States are demanding their release and stop political repression in the republic.
The presidential elections in Belarus will be held on August 9.