Lukashenka is not Belarus: Franak Viačorka

“Lukashenka is not Belarus. The regime does not equal Belarusians. We are dealing with a gang of thugs, a criminal group, which is in control of our country,” Franak Viačorka, senior advisor to Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, said during an interview with the TVP World, commenting on the recent migration crisis and political situation in Belarus.

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Click here to watch the full interview

At the beginning of the interview he touched upon the recent conversation between outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

“As Belarusians, we do not understand how it is possible to speak to the man who tortures his own people and keeps nine million Belarusian as hostages,” he stressed.

When asked if this conversation proved that the Belarusian dictator is in fact in charge of the country, Mr Viačorka answered that “definitely not.”

“Definitely it is not a sign of recognition of him as a president. We remember how it started one year ago when he seized power after losing the elections and conducted terror all over the country,” he stressed, pointing out that “people still are fighting, perhaps in different forms, underground, but they did not accept him as a ruler.”

“I believe he is not in control of the situation. If he were in control, he would not need to hijack planes, terrorise his own people and create artificial crises on the borders of the neighbouring countries,” the expert assessed.

Asked what could be the ultimate goal of the Belarusian regime orchestrating the migration crisis, Mr Viačorka pointed out that there is “no ultimate goal.”

“He [Alyaksandr Lukashenka] just wants to be relevant, in the spotlight, in the media and headlines,” the expert emphasised, adding that for the Belarusian dictator it is the matter of survival.

“He understands that his time is over. He has a maximum of one year left and is just trying to stay in power as long as it would be possible,” Mr Viačorka assessed.

On a question of what should the countries neighbouring Belarus do to keep their territorial integrity amid the migration crisis, the expert responded that he positively assessed strengthening the forces guarding the borders by Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.

He also stressed that “Lukashenka is not Belarus.”

“The regime does not equal Belarusians. We are dealing with a gang of thugs, a criminal group, which is in control of our country. And we are fighting against this group. We have people all over Belarus who continue the resistance. I would like to ask you to consider Belarusians your biggest allies,” he appealed.

Asked about the sanctions imposed on Belarus and their potential impact on the country regime’s actions, Mr Viačorka pointed out that they are not “silver bullets,” but definitely would help the situation.

“I hope that the EU will come up with a stronger package of sanctions,” he assessed, pointing out that it is important that they hit certain people “around [Alyaksandr] Lukashenka” instead of regular Belarusians, who are victims of the regime.