Mortal Combat in Belarus: Lukashenko vs Coronavirus

Pres­i­dent Lukashenka rec­om­mends vodka, sauna und camp­fire smoke against the coro­n­avirus. Foto: exsi­len­t­root /​ Shutterstock.com

Der belaru­sian Pres­i­dent leaves it to ortho­dox priests und the KGB to fight the epi­demic. The people are getting more and more upset because the gov­ern­ment can no longer hide the dra­matic situation.

Belarus has been to the edge of the precipice, and I helped it take a step forward.

Alexan­der Lukashenko (extracted from his speech) 

Alexan­der Lukashenko has appar­ently always truly believed that he is chosen by God. The boy who was born without a father in a very small Belaru­sian patri­ar­chal village wanted to imagine himself a kind of Jesus who saves the “God-chosen” Belarus from the World’s evil. Back in 1996 on ortho­dox Easter, when people shouted in the church the tra­di­tional greet­ing “Jesus res­ur­rected!” (to which must be answered “Truly, He has risen!”) Lukashenko bowed in response with his hands on his heart and quite sin­cerely thanked: “Thank you, thank you!”. Over the years, the belief in his divine origin has only grown. When the rain began after a severe drought in 2000, Alexan­der Lukashenko blind­sided the Belaru­sians with a state­ment: “Belaru­sians, you asked me for rain — I gave you rain.” Offi­cials actively played along with Lukashenko: for instance, Kon­stan­tin Sumar the chair­man of the regional exec­u­tive com­mit­tee from 2004 to 2014 explained the sub­or­di­na­tion at a meeting during agri­cul­tural work in 2004: “Alexan­der Lukashenko, you are slightly above God.”

It is not sur­pris­ing that the “God-chosen” Alexan­der Lukashenko took the coro­n­avirus not serious, explain­ing to the fright­ened pop­u­la­tion: “The Lord must protect Belarus from the coro­n­avirus! We have already lost a lot of pop­u­la­tion, every third Belaru­sian died in World War II, the country was wiped off the face of the earth, many people came back from the war crippled.”

Relics, holy water and prayers against the corona virus

There­fore, the author­i­ties mobi­lized, in par­tic­u­lar, ortho­dox priests to fight against the coro­n­avirus. As early as March 1, 2020, ortho­dox priests carried the relics of the martyr Kon­stan­tin Zhdanov to insti­tu­tions and enter­prises of Novopolotsk which people have kissed mas­sively thus causing an out­break of coro­n­avirus in Novopolotsk.

And on March 22, 2020, ortho­dox priests applied more serious tech­nolo­gies — they sprin­kled the capital of Minsk with holy water from an heli­copter. Pavel, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan of Minsk and Zaslavsky and the Patri­ar­chal Exarch of Belarus, per­son­ally led this “oper­a­tion”.

Appar­ently, this did not help as well, and then on April 2, 2020 rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Belaru­sian Ortho­dox Church flew on a plane along the borders of Belarus with copies of the shrines — with the cross of Euphrosyne of Polotsk and the icon of Divine Mother Zhi­rovich as well as with a pec­toral cross and a prayer to stop the spread of coro­n­avirus infec­tion. The flight took more than four hours. The three largest cities of the Vitebsk region did not fall inside the perime­ter of that flight, but perhaps there was a reliance on holy relics as well. And also the Belaru­sian Nuclear Power Plant which is under con­struc­tion in Astravets close the Lithuan­ian border didn’t fall into the perime­ter, because even rep­re­sen­ta­tives of God can’t get close to Belaru­sian strate­gic facilities.

However, flying around Belarus turned out to be embar­rass­ing: the priests rented for the flight a plane called “Pilate”. As we already joked in social net­works, “the head of the Ortho­dox Church of Belarus made an ‘air cross pro­ces­sion’ on the plane, named after the person who cru­ci­fied the Christ on the cross!”

The church did not stop there: From April 4, 2020, until the end of the epi­demic, the Ortho­dox Church will make twelfe rings at the large bell of its churches four times a day, after this all bells will be ringing for ten minutes. During the ringing time, priests will offer a prayer for ending the coro­n­avirus infection.

Offi­cials say it’s ‘pneu­mo­nia’

However, as they say in Belarus, “Pray to God, but row for shore.” There­fore, author­ity uses human methods — intim­i­da­tion of people who can tell the truth along with divine and ordi­nary. Doctors are forced to sign a “non-dis­clo­sure of con­fi­den­tial­ity” paper, and the KGB and other law enforce­ment agen­cies threaten to ini­ti­ate crim­i­nal cases if infor­ma­tion about coro­n­avirus patients comes to public. There has been a wave of serious repres­sion against blog­gers and jour­nal­ists, espe­cially YouTube blog­gers. The Belaru­sian Min­istry of Health pub­lishes sta­tis­tics that cause hys­ter­i­cal laugh­ter of the people because it is clear that these figures have nothing to do with reality.

Things happend in the city of Vitebsk trig­gered first outrage among the people. A group of people close to the Vitebsk oli­garch Nikolai Mar­tynov, who visited Milan and the sur­round­ing area during fashion days brought coro­n­avirus from Italy to the city exactly by March 1, 2020. While they were feeling well, they were actively meeting with senior-level man­age­ment of the region and other busi­ness leaders, with rel­a­tives, giving Italian gifts, going to the theatre, and when they were obvi­ously sick, the heads of medical insti­tu­tions them­selves rushed to serve them due to their high status.

Super-spread­ers caused a super out­break of the disease, includ­ing among doctors, although offi­cially all of them, of course, suffer from ‘pneu­mo­nia’. Nikolai Mar­tynov has been in inten­sive care with the serious con­di­tion breath­ing with ven­ti­la­tor since March 9, 2020. It seems that an unplanned sit­u­a­tion is hap­pen­ing in the city — under the coro­n­avirus, or accord­ing to the author­i­ties — “under pneu­mo­nia”, they are giving for use more and more new hos­pi­tals and parts of hos­pi­tals. Five medical insti­tu­tions re-pro­filed for the recep­tion of the infected people. Life support devices can be counted on the fingers, even vol­un­teers try to deliver them and other means. Every­thing is filled with patients — even the “psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal” and the tuber­cu­lo­sis dis­pen­sary. In fact, only the regional hos­pi­tal remained an ordi­nary hos­pi­tal in the city, where they still treat patients with other dis­eases, but, appar­ently, there’s not much time left to utilize it too. Some of the “sus­pects” were even sent in the coun­try­side to Kru­penino, where the president’s fash­ion­able summer cottage is located, in which he and his guests, such as Vladimir Putin, some­times live during the “Slavyan­sky bazaar” fes­ti­val in Vitebsk in the summer.

Vitebsk Regional Clin­i­cal Hos­pi­tal announced a public tender for the pur­chase of body air­tight bags, and vol­un­teers across Belarus mas­sively sew masks and collect funds for doctors. Masks and per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment are not enough.

Fol­low­ing Vitebsk, the whole of Belarus begins to rage. Infor­ma­tion about the cases is stream­ing, people believe rumours, but do not believe offi­cial­dom. In a number of small towns, there are no longer enough places for coro­n­avirus patients; they are being taken to large cities.

Intim­i­da­tion by the KGB

People, fright­ened by the police, the KGB and other depart­ments, were silent for two weeks. But in the end, there were so many sick with “pneu­mo­nia” that it was no longer pos­si­ble to hide. In the begin­ning, the KGB was appaer­entyl able to intim­i­date the husband of the 58-year-old Tatyana Khuzeeva, first known who died from “pneu­mo­nia”. She was buried in a closed coffin which is against the tra­di­tion. It was pro­hib­ited to invite anyone to a funeral. The rel­a­tives com­plained to inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ists about the inabil­ity to “bury her humanly” and spec­u­lated about the coro­n­avirus since they were tested and put in quarantine.

On March 21, 2020, Alexan­der Lukashenko instructed KGB chair­man Valery Vakulchik to “deal roughly with vil­lains who throw up fakes about COVID-19”. In response, inde­pen­dent media pub­lished tran­scripts of the inter­views with the rel­a­tives of the deceased woman, proving the verac­ity of the ini­tially pre­sented infor­ma­tion. However, the Min­istry of Health has pub­licly stated that the woman did not die of the coro­n­avirus. Then the husband of the deceased sud­denly became con­fused, “forgot” the date of hos­pi­tal­iza­tion of his wife, and “remem­bered” that the coffin was open after all. Our expe­ri­ence shows that when rel­a­tives so abruptly change their tes­ti­monies, espe­cially, at the back­ground of Lukashenko’s threats of “to deal roughly”, it means that they’ve already “dealt with” them. There are other unof­fi­cial tes­ti­monies of people in hos­pi­tals about the intim­i­da­tion of them and their rel­a­tives by the KGB.

The repres­sive machine begins to malfunction

Now there are more and more dead people, and the voices of indig­nant rel­a­tives are getting louder. Doctors and even rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the power unit began to die. The repres­sive machine begins to mal­func­tion. The doctor of the Vitebsk emer­gency hos­pi­tal Natalia Lar­i­onova, who was the first of the doctors to voice what was hap­pen­ing in the hos­pi­tals of Vitebsk under her name, was called to the prosecutor’s office. Usually, such calls end with a prosecutor’s warning and threats of further repres­sion, but the prosecutor’s office refused to issue any prosecutor’s warn­ings and even threats of future repres­sion did not sound regard­ing the doctor, which is very unusual for Belarus.

Alexan­der Lukashenko com­ments on every offi­cial death from a coro­n­avirus in Belarus by insult­ing and humil­i­at­ing dead people. He did not express a single word of con­do­lences to people who died from coro­n­avirus and their fam­i­lies, but, on the con­trary, accuses them of spoil­ing his sta­tis­tics with their deaths: “How can one live? 135 kg of weight! (rea­grd­ing another person who died of coro­n­avirus) The heart almost does not work, this hurts, that hurts, a whole bunch of dis­eases.” Lukashenko called the well-respected actor Viktor Dashke­vich, who died in Vitebsk, a “poor fellow” who for some reason “walks along the street, and also works.” But the 75-year-old actor was forced to work because the Vitebsk Theatre was not quar­an­tined by the author­i­ties. By the way, the theatre is still open.

People were espe­cially out­raged that Alexan­der Lukashenko did not find kind and sym­pa­thetic words to people who died from the coro­n­avirus, however there were kind, affec­tion­ate and admir­ing words addressed to young goats who were just born at the president’s per­sonal farm. Alexan­der Lukashenko declared goats to be “the best cure for coro­n­avirus” after vodka, sauna and tractor. Sub­se­quently, he added to the “med­i­cine list against the virus” — “to breathe smoke and a burning camp­fire”.

A massive inter­net meme is spead­ing in Belarus under the hashtag “last word of the pres­i­dent”. People write dep­reca­tive obit­u­ar­ies to them­selves, trying to suggest how Lukashenko would have insulted them if they would have die from coronavirus.

But the phrase “the last word of the pres­i­dent” has another meaning. The last word before farewell, before leaving.

It seems that Belarus is finally start­ing to say goodbye to its first president.

Textende

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