Tuesday 25 May 2021 by James Backhouse

Disappointed Lukashenko can’t understand why hijacking airliner to abduct journalist hasn’t made people stop calling him a dangerous tyrant


Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko

After a day of negative press coverage, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has been left wondering how many more foreign planes he has to illegally detain and how many critics he has to kidnap before people stop saying he’s a touchy despot with no respect for international law.

“I really feel like the press are ruthlessly attacking me,” Mr Lukashenko told journalists chained to the wall at a secret police interrogation centre.

“Somehow using a fake bomb threat against a plane full of terrified passengers as an opportunity to arrest someone who called me names hasn’t put an end to these persistent rumours that I’m a total bastard.

“It’s totally one-sided reporting. Where are the opinion pieces congratulating the security services on a job well done? A textbook abduction, perfectly executed – whoops, forget I said ‘executed’.

“And did the Ryanair passengers have to be so negative about their unexpected trip to Minsk? I may be a merciless dictator, but at least I’m not rude. We have a saying in Belarus – if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything or the president’s thugs will beat you up.

“But at least Roman Protasevich is finally behind bars; thank goodness there is now no risk at all that his criticisms of my regime will reach a much larger audience, or lead to hostility from western governments.

“I certainly dodged a bullet there – whoops, forget I said ‘bullet’.”

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