Lukashenka’s Press-Conference: Jokes, Slips and other Funny Stuff
Alexander Lukashenka's annual press conferences involve more than just answering questions.
Being passionate and open, Alexander Lukashenka’s unprepared speech can be very entertaining. His press conference last week was no exception.
For most people in Belarus listening to the ruler’s press conferences is merely entertainment. Belarusians seem to forget that politics matters, that normal presidential speeches are not always accompanied by laughter and that serious problems facing the country require serious decisions. But for now fun prevails.
Here is an overview of the most remarkable funny moments of the event. The last press conference, which lasted almost five hours, contained more than enough funny answers and remarks.
Time to Laugh
About State-Private Partnership
"There are some [businessmen] who do not understand that it is necessary to give a little bit to people so that they live well. We will turn them a little towards people, the ones who like to glance in others’ pockets, we will put them in their place – that's the state-private partnership."
About the National Bank of Belarus
"The National bank here is really independent, but at any time the President can demand a report from the National Bank, the president can check any situation which develops in the National Bank and demand some other action in the interests of our people."
About Football Disappointments
"And I can pose a number of questions to BATE [Belarusian football club] concerning their last games. When I turned on the TV and watched their matches with Spaniards, Germans and French after their brilliant games, I switched off the TV. It was shameful and offensive enough for tears."
About Those Who Buy All the Currency Up
"We have been monitoring this situation. We approached queues [at currency exchange offices] – they were mostly pensioners, buying 10 dollars, 5 dollars. We asked, "Why?". They answered, "Just to have be some".
About Geopolitical Discoveries
"As for Asia, we have examined and explored this country for a long time."
"The Ambassador of Russia is a very exotic person. <…> Sometimes the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and ambassadors know too little about what happens in the real relations between the states."
About Statements of Foreign Politicians
"She [Hillary Clinton] said it one day, and the next day all the officials from the State Department started refuting, explaining she had not meant it. So maybe she blurted it out when she was hungover?"
About Playing Music
"When I walk around and I see an accordion – I have an accordion in each corner – I take it. But my fingers have got used to holding a hockey-stick."
About True Vocation
"I am almost a professional football-player by vocation."
About Manners of the Predecessor
"Shushkevich [ex-speaker of the parliament] was razed to the ground when he arrived in some rumpled coat [to meet Bill Clinton at the airport – A.S.], maybe after some booze. It brought shame on the whole country."
"Although I am a country guy, I have got used to my trousers being stroked and to a more or less decent suit."
About the Future of the Presidential Car
"Tomorrow President Lukashenka will be hanged, shot, will be dismissed – you will drive it."
And once again about the Car
"I can sell my Maybach, will you buy it tomorrow? Tell me then, who will buy it?"
About Shame of the Nation
"If you want to tell your president to go on foot or by the bicycle, it is fine, I can do it, but it will just be a shame for you."
How to Become a New President
"Put on skies, skates. Here you are, today we'll sprint 10 kilometres, and if you come first you will be a president tomorrow."
About Mutual Transparency
"If the income statement of any official interests you, tell me. I will show it to you, but you will also show yours to him."
About Treatment of Humans and Animals
(with BelaPAN correspondent Tatjana Korovenkova)
A.L.: If you are a participant of mass riots, you can’t complain.
T.K. So, even if the person committed a crime, it is possible to treat him in contravention of the constitution and the law, as an animal?
A.L.: On the contrary, we have no right to treat animals badly.
About Moral Pressure
"We in the government have no fights. Just look at [Vice-Premier] Siamashka. In one meeting he will tear your heart so that you recover only in two weeks."
About Belarusian Oligarch Yury Chyzh
"Everybody thinks that if he [Chizh] plays hockey near the president, he can do everything. But nobody knows that he borrows money quite often."
About Food Quality Standard
"In our country they won't put toilet paper into boiled sausages."
About the Wicked West
(addressing to Deutsche Welle journalist)
"Why have you bombed Libya? Why have you bent Egypt? Why have you destroyed Iraq?"
About Foreign Enemies
"Believe me, they walk around us today in packs and herds and gnash their teeth."
About Something that has Never Happened
"Even if Lukashenka cheated or deceived someone, which has never happened, he would do so in your interests, scoundrels [to oppositional politicians]."
(Prepared by Artyom Shraibman)
“What do Belarusians Think?” – Broadcast of Belarus Research Council Discussion
On Friday 18 January, Belarus Digest will broadcast a panel titled “What do Belarusians Think?”. The discussion is organised by the Eastern European Studies Centre and the Belarus Research Council and will take place in Vilnius, Lithuania.
The event will give leading pollsters and analysts an opportunity to analyse the latest results of national public opinion polls carried out by the Independent Institute for Socio-Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS).
Valery Karbalevich, Radio Free Europe/Radio Svaboda
Professor Oleg Manaev, Independent Institute for Socio-Economic and Political Studies
Alexei Pikulik, Belarus Institute for Strategic Studies
Elena Korestelva, University of Kent
Sergey Nikoluk, Independent Institute for Socio-Economic and Political Studies
Valeriy Karbalevich is a journalist and political scientist in Belarus. He is an expert at the Strategy centre and works for Radio Free Europe/Radio Svaboda. He is the author of the book Alexander Lukashenka: Political Portrait (2010).
Prof. Oleg Manaev is a founder of IISEPS, Founding Professor of the Department of Social Communication at the Belarus State University (1999-2012), Professor of the Department of Media and Communication at EHU (since October 2012), and a Chairman of the Belarus Soros Foundation (1992-1995). He has published 200 scholarly articles and edited/authored 20 books on problems of the media, public opinion, the political process and civil society development in Belarus.
Dr. Elena Korosteleva is a Professor of International Politics at the University of Kent. Until August 2012 she was Jean Monnet Chair and Director of the Centre for European Studies at Aberystwyth University. Elena Korosteleva is an academic researcher and expert focusing on the politics of Belarus and Europe, democratisation, the European Neighbourhood Policy, European Neighbourhood and Partnership Initiative and Eastern Partnership.
Dr. Alexei Pikulik is the academic director of BISS. He received a Ph.D in Political and Social Science from the European University Institute, Florence. His research interests include political economy of reforms, political economy of oil, economic regulation. Since 2006 he has been teaching at the European Humanities University in Vilnius and since 2010 at the European University in Saint-Petersburg.
Sergey Nikolyuk is a pollster at IISEPS. With a background in science he became more and more involved in political science after 2000. Mr. Nikolyuk is an adherent of the Russian school of sociology and political science.
The event is supported by the Belarus Reform and Media Assistance Project (BRAMA) implemented by Pact with the kind support of USAID. The Belarus Research Council (BRC) is a loose network of polling agencies, think tanks, donors and other stakeholders interested in improving quality, interpretation and utilization of available researches and data. Currently BRC focuses on: a) taking stock of existing research; b) create links between the researchers, analysts, stakeholders and public; c) improve research presentation and data visualization; d) increase sustainability, transparency and consistency of research activities in Belarus.