MINSK -- Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said he will not respond directly to recent criticism of him in the Russian media that he describes as "dirty, anti-Belarusian propaganda," RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
Russian state television channel NTV aired the second part of a critical documentary about Lukashenka, "Godfather," on July 16. The first segment, which aired on the same channel
, led to an outcry
from Belarusian officials, aired on July 4.
Anti-Lukashenka articles have also appeared in the Russian newspapers "Izvestiya," "Moskovsky Komsomolets," and on the English-language TV-channel "Russia Today."
Lukashenka told reporters during a tour of southeastern Belarus on July 16 that "those who spurn me" are indeed hurting him and said he's not used to such criticism.
"It's hurtful that it's done by my colleagues," Lukashenka said. "But this isn't organized by the media, this comes from [the Kremlin]."
Lukashenka claimed to know who is giving the orders for critical reports about him and promised to speak soon to "the Russian gentlemen" responsible.
After a meeting with Lukashenka in Ukraine on July 12, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili defended the Belarusian leader on July 16, saying: "All sorts of accusations are made [in the Russian media] -- practically of cannibalism among Belarusians -- but all that is coming from a country where Anna Politkovskaya, someone I respected very much and knew very well, was killed recently and her killers haven't been found, and each investigation [into her murder] falls apart."
In the past, the Russian government has publicly called Saakashvili a "political outlaw."