Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka has acknowledged that his relations with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are "bad to say the least."
While talking to a group of Russian provincial reporters in Minsk on October 1, the Belarusian leader suggested that it were Messrs. Medvedev and Putin who were behind the so-called information war between the two countries.
"One of our ministers engaged in ideological work traveled there two days ago," Mr. Lukashenka said. "An influential person in charge of the media approached him to ask, ‘Well, how do you like the bashing that we give to you?"
"This all originates with Medvedev’s team," he said. "I don’t know to what degree Putin supports the position, but I have information that he is taking the same stance. We know this team. It is the team that bashed Shaimiev [the first president of Russia’s Tatarstan], twisted the arms of Rustam Minnikhanov [appointed as Mr. Shaimiev’s successor earlier this year], then took aim at Ilyumzhinov [president of the Republic of Kalmykia] and then turned to me and Luzhkov. These are one and the same people."
"There are decent people among them who can’t do anything, but they tell us what is going on," he said.
As for Mr. Medvedev’s remark about Belarus’ coming presidential election that he made in China’s Shanghai earlier this week, Mr. Lukashenka suggested that Russia should first show itself respect for “these” human rights and democracy. "We won’t lag behind," he said.
Mr. Medvedev told reporters in China that he hoped that Belarus’ presidential vote scheduled for December 19 would not be marred by infringements on voters’ rights and interests.
When asked to comment as to what he expected from the Belarusian campaign, Mr. Medvedev said, "I don’t expect anything good." "Just kidding, of course," he added.