The world already knows that Belarus is the sole country where football and hockey championships were not cancelled. Now, it’s the head of state who draws attention of the leading international media to our country.
First, it was vodka, banya and working in the fields suggested by President Alexander Lukashenko as a means to prevent and fight coronavirus. Sunday interview the president gave right after the hockey match he participated in, gave even more reasons for clickbait headings.
“It is better to die standing than to live on your knees,” he told journalists and added that “I don’t see why I should stop it. There are no viruses here. It’s (the ice rink) like a refrigerator. The best thing for heath (…) It is a truly antiviral drug!”
The world media immediately responded to these statements with dozens of articles. At least two were published by CNN, one of the largest American media holdings.
One of them mostly focuses on the quotes, the other titled “Post-Soviet strongmen prescribe vodka, hockey and folk medicine against coronavirus” goes on Belarusian realities, describes Belarus as one of the most repressive societies in the former Soviet Union.
“Belarus has officially reported 94 cases of coronavirus – and no deaths – but Lukashenko’s critics have cast doubt on those statistics, warning that authorities there could be downplaying the numbers as the country gears up for a presidential election later this year,” the article reads.
It highlights that Lukashenko shares the view of US President Donald Trump on the fact that much more people “will die from unemployment than from coronavirus.” “Now you understand why I didn’t close the factories.”
In its Sunday article titled “Tractors and vodka will cure Belarus of the coronavirus, says leader”, The Times also repeats the sensational statements of the Belarusian leader about the epidemic, the economy and popular preventive measures, noting that they caused a lot of jokes on social media.
The publication also cites the words of Belarusian political observer Artyom Shraibman: “For Lukashenko, it’s a matter of principle now to prove that he was right and that panic is more dangerous than the virus and that the problem is being blown up by the media.”
‘Better to Die Standing’: A European Strongman Scoffs at Virus. This is the headline of the article published by Bloomberg on Monday. The authors criticise the absence of serious measures to counter the spread of the virus in the country and stress a 62% increase in the number of cases from last Friday.
Daily Mail published an article fully based on Alexander Lukashenko’s quotes. Repeating the thoughts of their colleagues from other media, the British tabloid, however, explains the reason for the continuation of football and hockey championships in Belarus by the president’s love for sports.
The articles consisting mainly of Lukashenko’s advice on the prevention and treatment of coronavirus were also published by Forbes, The Sun (even indicated the game schedule of the Belarusian championship), The New York Post, The Independent, Deutsche Welle, Washington Post and others.