As Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko promised, Belarus was one of the only countries to hold its annual Victory in Europe Day parade on time, despite the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the country.
The parade itself was a typical military showing of over 3000 soldiers and 150 pieces of equipment and artillery, and included a 36 airplane and helicopter airshow. Lukashenko had earlier called the coronavirus pandemic a “psychosis” and advised Belarusians to treat the disease with “vodka and hard work.”
“In this idiotic world which had lost its way, there will always be people who will judge us for the place and time for holding this blessed day. I want to talk to them like a person: don’t rush to conclusions, and especially judge us, the inheritors of Victory, Belarusians. We just couldn’t do it any other way, we didn’t have any other choices,” the dictator claimed.
According to reporting by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, crowd spacing was intended for 11,000 people, and nearly all were filled. People also stood outside on the streets, though less than along the official parade route, and few were wearing masks.
According to the latest data, Belarus has 21,101 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 121 deaths so far and 5,484 recoveries. Despite pleas from the World Health Authority to introduce quarantine measures and limit social contact, the Belarusian government has decided to do nothing instead. Lukashenko, for his part, blamed the coronavirus on “God’s punishment” for Belarusians who "don’t respect the forests."