Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka gave his annual press conference to Russian regional journalists today. You might think, after his country's recent lukewarm reaction to Russia's recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, he would be singing the praises of his Russian benefactors.
Instead, he talked about alcohol and the dangers of cutting down trees. Here are some choice quotes from our Belarus Service.On Alcoholism:
"We, the Slavs, will probably not be able to defeat this evil. But perhaps it is not necessary to fight this evil as long as drunk people do not meddle in our lives."On Ecology:
"If anyone begins thoughtlessly cutting down trees in Minsk, he will have to deal with the president."On Water:
"We, and Croatia, have the purest water in the world. That's why our vodka is the best."On public safety in Minsk:
"My little boy, who is 5 years old, goes to the Cheluskinets Park in Minsk for a merry-go-round ride in the evening without me, only with a man I ask to accompany him."On the West's lack of understanding:
"We won't be understood in the West, no matter how long we will be kissing them in certain parts."On the recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
"A time will come and we will consider this issue. We will do it as the Russian Federation did -- in parliament. I think our deputies whom we are to elect soon will address this issue."On Russia's wealth:
"The Russians have such [huge] amounts of money. If I was given such money, you would not recognize Belarus."
-- Luke Allnutt