6th Belarusian People’s Congress, Day 1

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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko delivered a speech at the 6th Belarusian People’s Congress on 11 February.

The head of state, first of all, thanked local authorities for the organization of dialogue platforms in various cities in the run-up to the forum. Using those platforms, people could discuss existing problems and find possible solutions. “This enabled many-many people to share their opinions, Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.

The President said that the delegates of the 6th Belarusian People’s Congress are the masters of Belarus and its capital city. “Watch various channels less and live your own lives,” the head of state said. “They have been trying to rock the boat and are still trying, especially for you (I am already used to it), and they will try to rock the boat in the future. As people say, don’t worry too much. Live by your own wits. You are the legally authorized representatives of the Belarusian people, teams of workers, public organizations.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko added that one should not expect the resolution of global problems at this forum. “We outline them. We have gathered together to discuss our development in 2021-2025. Maybe, we will be able to look beyond the horizon,” he said. “You are the masters, if you want to say something, come to the microphone and speak as masters. We are not simpletons, we should not adjust to anybody. We are going through a very complicated period and must be open and honest with ourselves, our families, friends, loved ones, other people and the Belarusian nation.”

The head of state noted that for the sixth time in the sovereign history of the country the government has turned directly to the people to discuss and take consolidated decisions on the further development of the country and society.

“Today, delegates from all over Belarus, representatives of various professions and social groups have gathered here. Behind each of you are your constituents; enterprises, public organizations. These are millions of people who have given you their voice to discuss and make big decisions for the future of our Belarus. These decisions will not be spontaneous and surprising for us and for society," the President said. He recalled that preparations for the congress were several months long. People's opinions and concerns were studied; dialogue platforms were actively working in the regions. "We have not hidden anything, we have something to discuss today," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The priority topic for the discussion, according to the President, is economy, achievements and possible shortcomings. "The main thing is the reserves we can tap into and the concrete proposals for further development," the head of state said.

"How do we move forward amid the pandemic and external pressure? What measures should we take to ensure economic growth and decent standards of living for people with social support?” he continued. “This is the basis of our economic model, the essence of the Belarusian welfare state. Suggestions and ideas can be any. Not only those that we, the leadership of the country and the government, offer. I just ask one thing, and you know it well. I repeat: everything must be open and feasible, we have no one to be afraid of."

The second important topic for discussion is social and political development, the role of citizens in the political life of the country and the possibility of amending the basic law. "Another topic is the distribution of power, strengthening the role of local government and self-government. We must bring decision-making centers as close to people as possible, to ensure continuous effective feedback between the government and the population. There should be no artificial constructions because then we will have the opposite effect of such restructuring," the Belarusian leader is convinced.

The President suggested analyzing the geopolitical situation in which the country finds itself as the third topic of the forum.

The fourth block of issues requiring close attention is the saving of values and traditions that allow Belarusians to remain a nation. "We need to devote time to education and culture, the protection of historical memory. In one way or another they determine one of the main areas of state policy - the preservation of the continuity of generations. We can't lose young people. We must hand the country over into reliable hands. Therefore, involving young people in creative activities, ensuring their creative and intellectual development are most important issues for us," the head of state stressed. He also cited the information sovereignty as one of the important topics for discussion at the congress.

"We must consider all the pressing issues and come up with solutions that will satisfy the needs of society. As a result, all Belarusians should see that their opinions are taken into account. This is the essence of the Belarusian democracy," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“We are going through a very dramatic and critical period in the history of not only our state, but also the entire Belarusian nation. There were few such periods in the history of our country. This period can be compared to the collapse of the Soviet Union and its aftermath, or, to be more precise, to the first Belarusian People’s Congress. The only difference is that back then there was complete hopelessness. There was no country, there was nothing at all. A tipping point, chaos in the minds of people,” the head of state said.

The President noted that many people, including him, remember that period well. The country is experiencing something like that now. However, what distinguishes the current situation is that Belarus has been subjected to an extremely fierce attack from the outside.

“They devised a very smart strategy. It was very important for them to test their methods and techniques not on a country that is a complete mess and on people who are confused and disoriented, but on a monolithic and seemingly normal state. If it worked, they could go on with it. It can be compared to testing weapons, it was a springboard for an attack on Russia,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

The pandemic also had an impact on these processes. “It seems like someone created this dramatic setting for showdowns and, as we usually say, color revolutions,” the head of state said.

There was a coup attempt in Belarus, not a color revolution, Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced: “A color revolution was impossible in Belarus. Therefore, relying on certain internal forces, they made an attempt of a blitzkrieg coup. The blitzkrieg failed. We have kept our country intact. For now.”

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the goal of the opponents of the Belarusian state is not known, and it is impossible to predict what they are going to do next. Anyway they will not leave Belarus alone, said the President. “These are very powerful forces, and they do not want to lose this war. We have to withstand by all means. 2021 will be a decisive year for the country,” he said.

According to the head of state, the participants of the congress will discuss, first of all, the proposals of the country’s senior officials based on the ideas put forward by people at the dialogue platforms, and not some alternative proposals of the opponents of the current government.

“Everything is relative. It was not me or you who invented this axiom. Let’s compare. What does the opposition, nurtured and trained abroad, want? What is their agenda? I just want to remind you,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President cited some points of the opposition’s program. The economic part of the program provides for massive privatization, immediate shutdown of poorly performing enterprises, prohibition of the sale of Belarusian infrastructure facilities to Russian companies, and the sale of farmland. Their political agenda features withdrawal from the Union State, the EAEU, the resumption of customs and border control at the border with Russia, the prohibition of pro-Russian foundations and organizations, the fulfillment of all criteria for EU membership. Their defense agenda provides for withdrawal from the CSTO and the unified air and missile defense system with Russia. They want to ban Russian social and political TV shows and news programs, and to offer complete freedom for Western mass media outlets. They want to scrap free-of-charge education and medicine, they also want widespread use of the Belarusian language, the restoration of the Belarusian Autocephalous Church as an alternative to the Belarusian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church.

“Now I will present our vision and Belarusian people will give their take on it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“The main reference point are expectations, aspirations, growth opportunities for people of today. After all, no matter what goals we set, the main resource in achieving them are talented, hardworking and patriotic people. Each Belarusian is responsible for the future of the country. The main thing is that everyone has an equal starting point to be a success and make Belarus a better place. This is the essence of justice, and the demand for justice is growing in the world. This is the essence of our model of a welfare state, which has proven its viability despite global sanctions and political pressure,” the President said.

He went on reviewing Belarus’ performance over the years of sovereignty and the country’s achievements in various sectors. For example, over the past five years Belarus established itself as an independent player in the international arena and a reliable participant in integration associations. The country ranks high in the Human Development Index rankings. The national healthcare system is coping well with its tasks despite the pandemic. Traditional industries - mechanical engineering, chemical industry, agriculture - operate smoothly. Space, nuclear industry and biochemical sector are shaping up. The logistics capacity has been significantly strengthened, communities are connected by a network of modern roads, the housing construction program has been fully implemented. “We have achieved the highest level of comfort and safety, which has become a signature feature of the country,” the President added.

“It is only us who truly care about Belarus’ interests. Only such a strong state as ours is capable of protecting and ensuring our interests. I have said ‘a strong state’, because we have always been a monolith, this is our strength. However, some still entertain the idea that someone from abroad will help us. Our state has held out despite political tensions, artificially generated by foreign powers,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“We will hold out, trust me. We will hold out no matter what, it cannot be otherwise,” the Belarusian President stressed. “Thanks to the strong government, the country has suffered no interruptions in any area of life, from economic sectors and state services to aspects of everyday life. We have continued implementing social programs and fulfilling our obligations as usual,” he added.

“We can openly and honestly say that the world has gone crazy. Last year was a difficult year for the mankind. But we saw small and big countries departing from global development ideas in favor of national survival strategies at a blink of an eye,” the President said. He added that not long ago large countries like the USA, EU countries, were trying to impose globalism ideas on Belarus and other countries. “In the face of the pandemic all of them strained themselves and closed from each other. They could not care less about their friends and neighbors. All countries closed their borders. So, where is that globalism?” the head of state wondered. “Therefore, do not trust what they are saying about democracy, globalism and other things. This is how they are washing people’s brains all over the world. A few countries are doing that to dominate the world. And as soon as the situation changes a little bit, they will change their policies. So it happened.”

“We know the moderators of street protests, we know the external forces behind them, and how much money they throw in. We cannot ignore the certain vulnerability of a part of society and the system to the Maidan technologies, especially now that we are in the process of the generational change. This phenomenon is objectively complex: we see competition of worldviews, divergence of positions on many issues: from the economy to the upbringing of children. It is vital for us, based on the wisdom and experience of those who are older, to find a solution to the contradictions that have emerged. We should not allow the generational divide, as happened during the collapse of the Soviet Union," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He noted that after the 25-year difficult but important journey, Belarus has come to the verge of new qualitative transformations. "2021 is the milestone: in terms of importance it is comparable to the milestones of the early 20th century and the mid-1990s. But unlike those troubled times, today we know how to deal with the situation and have a plan of action that gives us all chances for successful development," the head of state noted.

The Belarusian leader outlined a number of tasks, including improving the efficiency of public administration, ensuring a new level of communication between the government and society, creating conditions for unlocking human potential, realizing its capabilities, ensuring the quality of the economy through enterprise, innovation and modern governance. According to him, the current and long-term priorities of the state in foreign policy will also be determined.

"We need to have a clear understanding of what is going on in geopolitics. It is clear that globalization is being replaced by regional selfishness with elements of protectionism. It is important to determine how these processes affect our life, what place Belarus should take in the new reformatted world. Remember when I said prior to the election: the pandemic would go away, and where we would find ourselves after that? Wasn't I right? Today we confirm this thesis," the President stressed.

The head of state noted that the emphasis in world politics is shifting into an increasingly fierce competition gear. “We see this in the differences between the United States and China, the European Union and Russia, Russia and other major states. The strategic rivalry of the global powers has every chance to move into a different, more troubling phase. Other states are trying to balance or choose which camp to join. And sometimes they are forced to do it. Not always such a choice is in their favor," he said.

"The interstate dialogue has been replaced by trivial pushover of one's own interests. International law fails to regulate disputes and conflicts. Politicians have stopped hearing and listening to each other, and the recognized multilateral platforms designed to maintain peace and security are degrading and cannot function effectively. The pandemic has been the catalyst for many processes and changes," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

"Look at events abroad: lockdowns, riots, vaccine battles. Radical protests are raging in the so-called developed democracies - the United States, the countries of Western Europe (Poland, France, Germany and others). The world is on fire. Let's honestly assess all these events,” the Belarusian leader urged. "The problems are deeper than many think. For example, in Poland the problem is not about abortion or agriculture. It's a trigger. The Polish people had spoken out against the policies of their government. Or take Lithuania for example: how many people lived there before, and how many live now?"

“Not long ago, Poland, after seeing how “poorly” we were coping with the pandemic, removed all restrictions, exams and testing for our doctors and nurses altogether, just asking to come and help the country save its people. Do you remember my response then? If everything is so good there and so bad in Belarus, why are you even bothering us, why are you asking something from us?

We, the Belarusians, are always ready to help everyone. We, however, will never let anybody push us around. We have been brought to our knees for twenty centuries. We have come to the point where we are tired of kneeling and bowing. We will be building our own country,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

According to him, the so-called worldwide protest turned to be a reflection of the systemic political, economic, social and spiritual crisis that swept the planet. “I think it is time to take this topic to an international level before the planet is turned upside down. It is time to look at it as a global problem, which undermines the foundations of both the established world order and the order of individual states,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

Belarus knows how to bring positions closer and work out solutions to common problems, the President said. “A number of our global peace initiatives, such as the digital neighborhood for instance, serve the purpose. Practical steps have been taken and they are supported by many states. Just look at the five-year work of the trilateral contact group for the peaceful settlement of the situation in southeastern Ukraine. Yes, much has not been done, but people are not dying by thousands as before, and the war has been suspended. Yes, this is mostly not our merit, but there is our contribution to stopping this massacre. Unfortunately, Ukrainian politicians and the leadership of the country (for well-known reasons) do not remember this well, but I am convinced that the Ukrainian people do. Ukrainians have always been and will always remain our neighbors, our friends, our brothers,” he stressed.

In recent years, Minsk has hosted the summer session of the Parliamentary Assembly on Security and Cooperation in Europe and a landmark international forum on combating terrorism under the auspices of the UN and the OSCE. “At the same time, the analysis of the military and political situation and the state of international and regional security systems demonstrate a steady increase of risks and challenges, including those previously unknown. All the most negative forecasts are coming true in the third decade of the 21st century,” said the Belarusian leader.

The President commented on future prospects of the treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on measures for the further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms (START III).

“The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty has been terminated. The prospects for the Open Skies Treaty are extremely bleak. There is some hope that a halt will be put to this spiral and military and political tension given the last-minute agreement between Russia and the United States to extend the Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty. However, the new President of the United States might again cancel it. Belarus, of course, supports the positive effect of this agreement, but the prospects for START III are absolutely vague," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to him, NATO has been building its permanent presence in the region, including on the territories adjacent to Belarus, under the guise of the principle of rotation. As a result, the level of foreign military presence in the region is not transparent at all, the Belarusian leader believes.

The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Europe has been suspended as “the Democrats came to power [in the United States],” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

"They are openly discussing plans to repel a mythical threat from the East. We are first in the East, Russia goes next. The West has long forgotten its promise that the alliance's infrastructure would not expand eastwards. I have witnessed these promises made. I participated in those events," he said.

"What's next? A new arms race? 100%. Third world war?" Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

"It is ironic that confrontation is more beneficial for many today than peace and accord. But it is on the conscience of those politicians who put their restless ambitions above human lives,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “I am sure that this is why our repeated calls on the international community to stop the escalation of tensions, for the so-called Helsinki 2 are not trending, as they say now. As I said recently, "the wrong country offered."

"Under these conditions, we reaffirm the role of Belarus as a donor of stability. Despite everything, Europe remains our common home. We can't get away from it, we are the center of Europe," the Belarusian leader stressed.

The President assured that Belarus remains a stable, reliable partner in the field of regional security, ready to actively participate in peacekeeping strategic initiatives.

"We are still prepared to host negotiations on any issues of global and regional security, including arms control," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“It is no accident that Belarus has been caught in the focus of attention of major international players. In fact, our country today is, if you like, the last truly sovereign state in Europe. Maybe that is the reason why we suffer. This is the main issue. There is a fight around us,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

According to the President, one should not think that the ‘Belarusian issue’ is not important for the global geopolitical players. There is a fight between global powers to draw Belarus into their orbit of influence. “Today Belarus is the dominant height on the battlefield in the center of Europe. There is a fierce fight for this height. It has always been so in our centuries-old history,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that Belarus views no country as its enemy, condemns any military conflict and consistently advocates a peaceful settlement of disputes. “Despite all the unfriendly steps of certain foreign forces, I am convinced that the path of confrontation in foreign policy is a dead end. We are always ready to build up relations with all the countries and alliances on the principles of equality, mutual respect, and non-interference into our internal affairs. We are also interested in a balanced variety of relationships, first of all economic ones, with all the countries,” he said.

This is the essence of the Belarusian multi-pronged concept, which raises a lot of questions, even in Russia, the head of state said. “We should not be criticized for this. Ultimately we are aiming at diversification of international, first of all economic, ties and are seeking balance in the regional security. We want to maintain our political stability. This way, of course, may not please someone. This is, however, the way any state pursues if it wants to remain sovereign and independent on the world map. We are no exception,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The President stressed that Belarusians are not slackers, and Belarus is not a satellite country, which begs for subsidies and loans in exchange for abandoning its own opinion and sound senses

"Relations with the European Union are important for us too. We have the longest border the EU. The degree of interdependence in the economic, social, cultural and, finally, political fields is quite high.  No less significant for our diplomacy are the countries of the so-called distant arc, with China, a close and friendly country to us despite being distant geographically, plays an important role. At the same time, our Russia will continue to be our main economic partner and strategic ally," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The head of state noted that he sees no good reason to abandon such multi-vector policy. "This is an objective reality for any sensible politician who will ever lead Belarus," he added.

The President also drew attention to the importance of Belarusian-Russian relations in this multi-vector system. “The assistance of the Russian Federation was of the utmost importance to us. This position of Russia is not the assistance to the current government but is the support of the brotherly state and the Belarusian people in the context of current and future global transformations," Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “As long as we stand shoulder to shoulder or back to back, no one will be able to put us on our knees."

Responding to the remarks that Russia constantly helps Belarus, gives it loans, the President noted that Russia helps itself with this. After all, the finishing industries for many sectors of the Russian economy are concentrated in Belarus. The cooperation gives work to millions of Russians, and Russian loans are not a charity, as Belarus pays considerable interest on them, the head of state noted.

According to the head of state, they have recently started to rock the boat in Russia, they are trying to provide information support to mass protests. Later they will, probably, try to synchronize those events with Belarusian protests. It shows that external forces are also trying to disrupt integration processes, the President said.

“In these circumstances only together we will manage to maintain stability in our countries. The stable future of the region, the state of peace or war in the region depend on the joint efforts of Belarus and Russia. Everything will depend on our unity with Russia,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President stressed that equal conditions for citizens of both countries have already been created. They include free movement, integration of the pension system, education and healthcare, the absence of double taxation. Now it is time to bring the economy to this level.

“A level playing field is of vital importance in economic activity, energy consumption, access to markets, participation in public procurement systems and the use of financial instruments. As you can see, I am not asking for free gas, oil or free financial resources. We need just one thing – a level playing field for economic entities, and we will be able to solve any problems,” the head of state stressed.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, today some so-called analysts are trying to implant the thesis into the mass consciousness that the deepening of economic cooperation with Russia threatens Belarus almost with the loss of its sovereignty. For such experts, integration almost implies the absorption of Belarus, the resident added.

“Let us dot the i's once and for all. Belarus has always been for and will continue advocating economic integration in the former Soviet Union space, both bilaterally and multilaterally,” said the head of state.

In his words, the Belarus-Russia Union State differs from the cooperation within the EAEU and the CIS by deeper integration in other areas, including politics and defense. This format of cooperation was chosen by the Belarusian people in a referendum. According to the latest sociological survey, more than 70% of Belarusians support integration with Russia,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

“We can see significant development of cooperative ties through wider participation of domestic producers in the implementation of Russia's national projects. Today we openly declare our readiness for further substantive work to enhance inter-industry cooperation within the framework of the Union State while respecting mutual interests on the basis of equality of the two Union State members,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The head of state stressed that this process implies complete preservation of the sovereignty of both countries without the development of any new supranational bodies. “The whole system of the Union State bodies has been created, and it is viable, it cannot be scrapped. That is the answer. Let us go this way and see what our people will say. Maybe they will say that this integration is not enough and suggest moving on. We however cannot jump over stages, cannot overstrain the situation both in Russia and Belarus,” said the Belarusian leader. Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that in this format it is possible to make huge steps towards integration with Russia.

“Our calm life, our sovereignty and stability were seriously tested. Having coped with it, we must clearly realize that we have prevented a big trouble. You remember the consequences of a series of the so-called color revolutions, and not even riots, on the post-Soviet space. They resulted in permanent, chronic instability and impoverishment,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The head of state stressed that all people who care about the future of Belarus should do their best to prevent the repetition of those events in our republic.

In his words, the intention of external forces to put pressure on us is connected not only with Lukashenko. “There are different goals. We are unwanted, we should not have emerged on the international arena. We will be attacked all the time. And we must survive,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.

Belarus has once again come under political and economic pressure, the head of state noted. Calls for democratization are used as a cover for calls to suffocate the economy of Belarus.

“I’ll tell you what: after the storming of the Capitol and crackdowns on protesters in Poland, Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, after putting people in the prison-like quarantine, they have no political or moral right to tell us or anybody else how to live and how to run our country. They should sort things out in their own countries first,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. “The fact that some Western politicians project their own selfish narrow-minded views onto international relations, jeopardizing security and the development of entire Eastern Europe, is irresponsible at the very least. We believe that no one wants the situation to escalate: neither Belarus, nor the European Union, nor the United States of America. This is not our choice. It is in everyone’s interest that we return to normal political interaction and full economic cooperation,” he added.

The President addressed a rhetorical question to those who believe that the army should be contractual: “Imagine, if God forbid, we are under attack. Will you, who believe that you should not serve in the army, go to defend the homeland? Make no mistake: you will not just go, you will run to join the army. But you do not know how to hold a weapon and don't know any basic battle tactics at all?"

"We have a mix of contract army and drafted service to make sure that we have a reserve, that men know how to defend their homeland, their family, their loved ones and our land," the President said. “Therefore, most serious attention will be given to the development of the territorial defense as a form of national defense of the Fatherland and increasing the effectiveness of strategic deterrence."

“Belarus has never flexed its military muscle. However, we are consistently building up competencies in which we can succeed, we are strengthening our own security and boosting the export of defense products. Moreover, we are able to successfully compete even with recognized defense industry leaders in several international market niches. This generates billions of dollars for one of the most advanced national manufacturing clusters,” the President said.

Belarus produces special optics for space and is building its rocket-making industry from scratch. “When we ventured into this industry, not so long ago, we didn’t have the necessary competencies. But we invested a great deal of effort, joined forces, put together, bit by bit, the necessary materials and knowledge and with the help of our friends we have developed our own rocket, which is a pain in the neck for many foreign politicians and military people. We will keep it up,” the head of state added.

The country has its own software to operate military systems, which protects equipment from cyber-attacks. A reliable public security system has been built inside the country. Belarus does not need to reform its national security system,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “We will continue strengthening our uniformed agencies proportionally to new challenges and threats,” he assured.

At the same time, the President admitted that Belarus cannot afford investing in the defense industry as much as some other European countries. “We cannot pour such an amount of investment and we will not do it because we are not going to attack anyone and because weapons for an offensive are much more expensive than weapons for defense,” the head of state said.

The President is confident that Belarus will be able to defend itself with even fewer resources, if it relies on its experience and help from neighboring Russia. “Losing Belarus is deadly for Russia,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.

“Proceeding from the events that have been taking place here in the region and across the globe, it is probably time to update the concept of national security. This is true especially since our NATO neighbors have already upgraded their strategic documents to take into account threats and digital technologies. The necessary infrastructure, including cyber troops and a network of NATO cyber centers, has been developed in the immediate vicinity of our borders,” the President said.

He expressed confidence that with all the risks to national security, information security becomes the main pressure point. “Without belittling the benefits, opportunities and prospects that the information world has opened to man, we must pay attention to its downside. Artificial reality has given the green light to manipulation, deception, and crime,” stressed Aleksandr Lukashenko.

According to the head of state, a person spending too much time in social networks, forums, media channels becomes an Internet-addict. “People lose connection with real life and social skills. It is even worse that they lose analytical thinking because the context and essence of things going on around them are shaped by social networks, messengers and search algorithms. You know who operate them. It does not happen uncontrollably – people’s minds are in the hands of Internet giants whose services are eagerly used by secret services of various countries,” he remarked.

The President also mentioned a term which is used by specialists to describe this phenomenon – “digital dictatorship”. It means control, blocking of unwanted people through the management of data sources. Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled that it affected even Donald Trump whose accounts were blocked.

“We are living in the era of post-truth where honest people are slandered and rascals become heroes with impeccable biographies,” the head of state added. “Coronavirus is, of course, an unrivalled leader of pseudo facts. During the first wave of the pandemic, anonymous online channels posted about dozens of thousands of COVID-19 victims in Belarus. They wrote about ‘overloaded hospitals’, ‘hospital workers lacking PPE’, ‘patients lacking ventilators and tests’. In the time when the state mobilized all tools for the fight against coronavirus.”