In a three-hour television talk before the May 14 parliamentary vote and referendum, Aleksandr Lukashenko said he hoped that the Belarusian people would not elect “fascists” like Zenon Poznyak, leader of the Popular Front and one of the architects of Belarusian independence. Lukashenko, often noted for his intemperate style, is likely to get his wish: The opposition has not been given any media time. Moreover, the parliamentary vote seems certain to be overshadowed by the simultaneous referenda bringing Belarus closer to the Russian Federation, making Russian a state language, and restoring Soviet era symbols. All but the last are expected to pass easily.
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