Speed Reads

belarus protests

Lukashenko reportedly tells Russian TV the U.S. is orchestrating the Belarus protests

In his first sit-down interview since anti-government protests swept the nation, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko made a slight concession, The Guardian reports — the so-called "last dictator in Europe," who has held his post for 26 years, acknowledged he "may have sat in the president's chair a little too long." But, other than that, he denied responsibility for the unrest, instead pointing a conspiratorial finger at the United States, and reiterated that he does not plan on stepping down.

Lukashenko reportedly told members of the Russian media — whom The Guardian notes did not appear to subject the ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin to tough questioning — that he believes Washington is orchestrating the protests via the messaging app Telegram from centers in Poland and the Czech Republic, using the situation as a dry run, more or less, for a similar operation in Russia for the future.

The claims are unsubstantiated and dismissive of Belarus' growing, internal, and organic opposition movement that is seeking change from the autocratic regime in Minsk, although Lukashenko accused what he described as a class of "young bourgeois" in Belarus who "want power" of stirring up trouble, as well. Read more at The Guardian, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and RT.