Do Belarussian people battle against Covid-19 or Lukashenko?
Our lives have been changed significantly recently.
The COVID-19 virus affected all of us. Most of the states in the world conceded that the coronavirus is the biggest global test since World War II and are trying to do what they can to prevent this contagious virus. Some of their measures include the complete or partial shutdown of airports, banning any type of transportation and forced quarantine regimes at home. So far, they have failed to stop the spread of the disease and the situation is getting worse day by day. As the situation suggests, the only solutions to this problem are the complete understanding of the virus and the preparation of a vaccine. All other measures can only slow down the outbreak but will not prevent it.
As of April 18, the number of cases worldwide has surpassed 2 250 000, and it continues to increase at a faster daily rate. Most of the working buildings are closed and the people are working from home if they have not lost their jobs. Nearly all European countries take this virus seriously and they are doing everything at their disposal to help their citizens. Only one country still continues to live as nothing happened and it is Lukashenko’s Belarus. The virus already hit Belarus hard with 4779 cases registered, and, unfortunately, 42 deaths. Still, Lukashenko considers this virus as psychosis and suggests that drinking vodka (while not working) and visiting saunas occasionally will be helpful.
Belarus football league is the only league in Europe that is not suspended and fans are also allowed to support their favorite teams from the stands. Furthermore, on 30 March the president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko participated in a hockey match in order to disprove all the “Myth” surrounding COVID-19. This is quite ridiculous and inhumane given the circumstances as Lukashenko’s ideas have not changed significantly until now.
Unfortunately, Belarus faces the same problem that most post-Soviet countries do. They are ruled by a one man government that eliminates his opponents by force or extortion. Lukashenko is infamous for creating a “Free” parliament and “Free” electorate system. Each time, he is being selected as a president during the elections, while his opponents are either arrested or “disappear”.
Essentially, he is like a strongman who rules his country with an iron fist. The acceptance of the coronavirus can have a detrimental impact on his authoritative status. Obviously, the leader does not want his reputation to be tarnished among his people. Furthermore, there will be a new presidential election in Belarus this year. Practically, if he concedes and accepts the existence of coronavirus, his reputation will suffer given the circumstances. Therefore, Lukashenko pretends as if nothing happened in the spotlight. However, the government has started to implement some policies behind the curtains. Lukashenko extended the Easter holiday break for the students for 2 weeks. Moreover, hospitals are reorganized to be more prepared to treat COVID-19 patients.
In conclusion, the author is deeply concerned regarding the situation of the Belarussian people. Hopefully, the government authorities will recognize the severity of the pandemic and will adopt necessary measures in order to prevent the outbreak of the COVID-19.
The author of this article is Tofiq Bayramov.