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Belarusian Nobel Winner Says Lukashenka 'Untrustworthy'

Svetlana Alexievich, the Belarusian author who just won the Nobel Prize for literature, says President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is "untrustworthy" after reports that the EU is set to suspend sanctions against him.

"Every four years, new European officials come to power and think they can solve the Lukashenka problem without knowing that he is a man who is untrustworthy," Alexievich said during a press conference in Berlin on October 10.

"He is a 'Soviet man' and will never change," she said.

EU sources said on October 9 that Brussels was ready to suspend sanctions on some 140 Belarusians, including Lukashenka, if there is no political crackdown during the October 11 presidential election.

Alexievich said voters don't expect "any surprises" from the election in which Lukashenka, dubbed Europe's last dictator, is widely expected to win.

"As Stalin once said, it's unimportant who votes or for whom, what matters is who counts the vote," she said.

Alexievich, an outspoken critic of the strongman president, said Lukashenka did congratulate her on the Nobel Prize after she won on October 8.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and dpa