Summing Up: One Year Since the Disputed Presidential Elections in Belarus

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On August 9, 2021, exactly one year since the ill-fated last presidential election, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka conducted a press conference that lasted more than eight hours. On online social networks, the favorite though overused joke of his detractors has been: Did they all (meaning the audience) wear diapers? Whether or not they did, Lukashenka’s speeches are routinely marathon performances, and this one was no exception. Consequently, simple content analysis would not do justice to his pronouncements. Moreover, on official sites, his remarks are almost always heavily redacted. For example, Lukashenka used the word merzavets (scoundrel) about 20 times (Regnum, August 11) to describe foreign leaders and especially members of the opposition, but the official detailed summary of the speech contains only 3 mentions of this word (President.gov.by, August 9).

In a nutshell, Lukashenka’s message was about defeating the Western puppet masters who…

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