MINSK, March 19. /TASS/. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said that Belarusians would have other presidents in the future, but for the time being he urged everybody to stay patient and preserve popular unity, the BelTA news agency reports.
"There will be other presidents. I can guarantee this. Then you will be able to compare and understand everything. For now just stay patient," Lukashenko said at a meeting with the staff of a dairy company in Grodno.
Lukashenko warned that the "world has gone crazy" and asked his fellow citizens to be closer to each other.
"We must pull through. The world has gone crazy. People in this world have lost their sense of direction. This is not the right moment to go to extremes. For this reason, I proclaimed this year as the year of popular unity," he said.
Lukashenko is certain that Belarus will remain united.
"We will not bow to anybody. We will not kneel in front of anybody. There are people who do not like many things. We’ve got to be patient. An overwhelming majority wishes to live in peace and calm. Sociological polls indicate that the people are afraid of losing stability and order in the country. This is very precious. The people have realized what they could and can lose. We must prevent this from happening," Lukashenko said.
"I had a gut feeling. I didn’t have the facts that I have now, but I felt that we were beginning to be torn apart. I’ve frequently said that Belarus is at the breaking point. Russia cannot afford to lose us, because the last stronghold is here," he stressed.
Nationwide demonstrations engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The opposition is beating the drum for more protests, announcing new mass actions in the spring. Belarusian officials have repeatedly claimed that the protests are being coordinated from abroad.