Most countries in the world have gone into quarantine and lockdown as a result of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, ravaging the planet. But Belarus stands as an exception to that trend, with dictator Alexander Lukashenko saying that massive public events – such as the May 9 Victory Day parade and summer elections – will continue as planned.
“I have to say that we can’t cancel the parade. We just can’t. I thought about this long and hard. Of course, this is an emotional, deeply ideological thing. We have to remember that those people (participants in the war – ed.) died… for us, no matter how pathetic that sounds,” said the Belarusian dictator about the May 9 parade. Later, he voiced a similar sentiment regarding Belarus’ planned summer elections, during a conversation with Moldovan president Igor Dodon.
“I know that you (Moldova – ed.) have presidential elections, but our president elections will happen earlier than yours. We don’t have any basis for moving them, we don’t have the Constitutional opportunity to move these elections. That’s why we’ll hold these elections. We’ll figure out the day soon. This will definitely be in the summer,” commented Lukashenko, as he believes that the “coronavirus situation is more or less normal."
The elections are constitutionally set to occur no later than August 30, 2020. As for the Victory Day Parade, Lukashenko believes that it doesn’t pose a large threat from an epidemiological standpoint, though he did add that people could stay home if they were “worried about their health.”
According to data available on May 4, Belarus currently has 17,489 confirmed coronavirus cases in the country, with 103 deaths.