Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

Lukashenka attacks critics for sombre economic forecasts

Critics who predicted another economic crisis for Belarus in 2012 have been proved wrong, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said at a news conference in Minsk on January 15.

"I remember what gloomy pictures were painted by certain experts and analysts," he said. "I advise you to stay away from these oracles as they pursue completely different goals: they seek not to inform the public but, engaging in dirty politics, to scare [people]."

Mr. Lukashenka referred to fake text messages sent out to many mobile phone users earlier this month. The messages warned of a coming devaluation of the Belarusian rubel. "Thank God, they managed to figure them out very quickly, they failed to achieve anything," he said.

Addressing the reporters, Mr. Lukashenka warned them against "mistaking irresponsibility for freedom of speech."

Mr. Lukashenka claimed that he was influenced by meetings with journalists. "Even if I pretend not to care you must understand that I take very, very seriously everything that we will be talking about here and what people say," he said.