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December 23, 2010 (KATAKAMI / RIA NOVOSTI) — Russia’s Ambassador to Belarus Alexander Surikov has criticized the Belarusian opposition for rioting, saying the reelection of Alexander Lukashenko as president was “predictable.”
“A predictable election, a predictable victory,” Surikov said at a press conference in Minsk on Thursday. “We understood everything from the very beginning.”
Thousands of people flooded into central Minsk on Sunday after news emerged that Lukashenko, dubbed “Europe’s last dictator” by the West, had won 79.7 percent of the vote on Sunday.
More than 600 were jailed for up to two weeks, while a dozen detainees, including six presidential candidates, are facing longer terms of up to 15 years for organizing “mass disturbances.”
“The opposition was counting for a yellow, orange or some other kind of [‘color’] revolution,” Surikov said.
“The organizers and participants [of the demonstrations] should be judged according to Belarusian law,” he said. “It is Belarus’s internal affair, not ours.”
The ambassador conveyed his empathy to those who were injured in the riots, however added that the mere presence of a person at a non-sanctioned protest is “already a breach” in the law and therefore illegal.
International monitors have said the Sunday ballot was “flawed.” (*)
MINSK, December 23