Belarus: Lukashenko Absence After Health Report

    Belarus: Lukashenko Absence After Health Report
    Last updated May 15, 2023
    Image credit: Associated Press [via Euronews]


    • Longtime Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko was absent from the country's annual "National Flag, Emblem and Anthem Day" celebration on Sunday, fueling speculation on his health.[1]
    • The 68-year-old ruler hasn't been seen in public since last Tuesday when he attended the Victory Day events in Moscow and Minsk but appeared unwell and did't deliver a speech for the first time in his presidency. His office has declined to comment.[2]
    • Unverified reports from the opposition outlet Euroradio claim that he was admitted to a medical center on Saturday, with opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya stating that "we should be well prepared for every scenario."[3]
    • Senior Russian Duma member, Konstantin Zatulin, downplayed concerns in an interview with Russian outlet Podyom, arguing that Lukashenko had been ill before traveling to Moscow and that he may need some rest.[4]
    • Following these rumors, the Belarusian outlet Pul Pervogo published on its Telegram channel a photo of the country's leader with a bandage on his left hand, allegedly working at a central air force command base.[5]
    • Lukashenko is a close ally of Vladimir Putin, who backed his crackdown on protests and dissident media. Last year, Minsk allowed its territory to be used as part of Russia's war in Ukraine.[6]


    Pro-establishment narrative

    As Lukashenko's health reportedly deteriorates, so does his iron grip on Belarus. The international community must be ready to support the nation's transition to democracy before another Kremlin-backed puppet is installed to take his place. The struggle for democracy that began in 2020 cannot be left unfinished, as this could be a once-in-a-generation chance for Europe's oldest dictatorship to be vanquished.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Media outlets have been outrageously irresponsible in spreading rumors about Lukashenko's health, which have come to be false, even though Minsk hadn't reported any problems with his condition. In the face of the mounting of fake news, it's crucial to rely on official reports.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that Alexander Lukashenko will leave power in Belarus by February 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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