President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko declared himself a Belarusian nationalist. The head of state made the corresponding statement on Friday, February 19, at a meeting with the artists of the Kupala Theater.
Before that, he clarified that nationalism is not chatter on “mov “. “I always strive to ensure that we have certain traditions,” the Telegram channel of the BELTA agency quoted him as saying.
Observers noted that earlier Lukashenka had repeatedly “separated” Belarus from Russia in conversations and emphasized the difference between Russians and Belarusians. “We are not Russians, we are Belarusian,” the politician said in 2014. Also, according to Lukashenka, Belarusians are “Russians with a quality mark”.
Lukashenko’s critics noted that the republic has been “creeping Belarusization” for about ten years, which is expressed in the reduction of the use of the Russian language in public space and the decrease in the hours allocated for its study in school programs. It was also noted that, with the permission of the authorities, numerous Western NGOs and foundations are actively working in the country, promoting Belarusian nationalism and the anti-Russian agenda. Pro-Russian organizations, on the other hand, are heavily banned, and Moscow-friendly media have been under pressure from the security forces for years.
Moreover, in the second half of Friday, February 19, it became known that Lukashenka flew from Minsk to Moscow to meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.