Aleksandr the Gentleman

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Aleksandr the Gentleman

If there were a Goofus and Gallant to represent the nations' rulers, one of the finalists for the role of Goofus would have to be the president of Belarus, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko.

Although the state-controlled media declared Lukashenko the winner of the recent Belarus election, international observers called the vote illegitimate. According to the New York Times, this is what transpired when reporters questioned Lukashenko at a brief news conference:

When asked whether [Lukashenko] could assure the safety of demonstrators, whom he threatened last week with having their necks wrung, he chided the journalist for posing the question. "I see your neck is in place," he said. "Why are you so concerned?"

Later, when another journalist asked what he had talked about with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, he was similarly crude. "About women," he answered.

How do you say "uncouth" in Belarusian? Pat Robertson isn't the only one who knows what God is up to:

At one point Mr. Lukashenko also suggested that Belarus, impoverished and isolated, was aided by God, noting that an intense snow squall had swirled through the capital Sunday night just as the opposition demonstrators were gathering outside.

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