20 November 2018, Tuesday, 19:50
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Mikalai Statkevich On Lukashenka's "Stroke": There's No Smoke Without Fire

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Crowds of happy people were ready to take to the streets.

One of the leaders of the Belarusian National Congress Mikalai Statkevich, said this to Charter97.org commenting on rumors that Aliaksandr Lukashenka had a stroke:

– As they say, there's no smoke without fire. I think that this fake news had a certain base: I do not rule out that there really was an aggravation of a disease in Lukashenka, most likely, something related to the psyche.

We are witnessing a unique case: the ruler of a sovereign state voluntarily dragged his country into the neighboring state. Moreover, he did this not with a third world country, which did not have traditions of statehood, but with a developed European nation. So I think that now something "stroke" even in his head. Not because he cares about independence – this person will sell anything. But because he loses his power.

And realizing this – it may happen that the owner of the Kremlin has started to render his accounts – has plunged Lukashenka into such a state.

– Why did this false story come from Russia: at first there was a publication in the telegram-channel Nezigar allegedly belonging to the TASS editor, and then an official TASS comment of Lukashenka's press secretary?

– They are putting pressure on Lukashenka just before the meeting with his master in Sochi, so that he could sooner part with those remnants of sovereignty that still exist. This is a gentle reminder: "Something may happen to you."

– Why was the official media’s reaction to rumors so weak and unconvincing? "Alive" Lukashenka was shown the day after his press secretary gave an information trigger for conjectures and versions.

– Because, as I said, there's no smoke without fire. There was something. Most likely, something mental, perhaps, depression.

I do not usually watch BT, but yesterday I decided to watch it a bit – and saw a different Lukashenka – a completely devastated person in a state of deep depression.

For several days there was simply no one in the country to make a decision, therefore there was such grave silence.

– What can you say about the people’s reaction to rumors about Lukashenka's stroke?

– There was hope and joy. An adequate hope and a very strong, running high joy. Therefore, I even said in an interview to the Ukrainian TV channel TSN that we should not trust to chance that much.

The comments on your site show that people were encouraged by hope and they do not want to part with it.

It tells us about one more important thing: people have great hatred for Lukashenka. I think that it is putting physical pressure on him – on the psyche and the whole body. It has already become like a religion, like blind faith: when Lukashenka dusts out, the happiness will come at once.

But we must remember that it will be better only if the people take a firm hold of the situation. If the regime has already found itself in such a situation, we must press on it further and force it to return what it has stolen: honest elections. Then everything will end up to our benefit. But we all have to fight for it and at the same time – be ready for force majeure.

– What conclusions can you, being an opposition leader, draw from the story of Lukashenka's stroke?

– This is a chance for all of us to think again about what is really happening in the country. Not an all-powerful dictator, but a frightened, tired, mortal man is on the other side of the barricade.

Anything can happen to him at any moment: he might eat some wrong mushrooms, or really have a stroke. It is not ruled out that he will be removed by the special services of another country. What then?

We should be prepared for this situation, so as not to miss the chance to save Belarus from sliding into Russia.

This is a challenge for the real opposition, which is really struggling and is determined to protest. This is a question to the Belarusian National Congress: are we ready for this situation?

This pushes us to develop concrete plans. And we will unite the centers of resistance in Belarus in order to be ready for force majeure events. Because they really may happen. And they may happen suddenly.

After all, if something irretrievable really happened to Lukashenka – crowds of happy people would rush into the streets. And our task is not to allow anyone to take advantage of this impulse and harm the Belarusian statehood. We must put this energy on a constructive track.