LUKASHENKA SAYS OPPOSITION IS FASCIST.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 28
Belarusan President Alyaksandr Lukashenka kept silent for four days before finally commenting yesterday on fascist violence in downtown Minsk. He declared during a staff conference, in the presence of the press, that the Russian National Unity (RNE) activists’ assault on Belarusan opposition representatives had been provoked by the opposition itself, “as a pretext for proceeding to create its own armed groups.” Lukashenka threatened to crack down–not on the “Barkashovtsy” (followers of RNE’s self-styled leader Aleksandr Barkashov), but on “the destructive actions of the sharetskys, the hrybs and other shushkeviches.” This was a scornful reference to three former parliamentary chairmen who had tried to stop Lukashenka’s rise to dictatorial power and are now active in the opposition.
The president went on to attack the opposition for, allegedly, “rejecting the Russian language” and claiming Russian territories for Belarus. Such views, he said, constitute “extreme nationalism.” And “since extreme nationalism is fascism,” he said, the Belarusan opposition is itself “fascist.” “Fascists fought one another” in the February 5 incident, Lukashenka concluded. He instructed law enforcement agencies to investigate RNE’s activities in Belarus, and asserted that “fascism shall not pass”–an ambivalent posture, considering his definition of the phenomenon (Russian agencies, February 9; see also the Monitor, February 5, 9).
TWO CENTRIST PARTIES JOIN FORCES IN UKRAINE.