MINSK, 4 October (BelTA) — In a recent interview to CNN, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko dismissed CNN journalist Matthew Chance’s assumptions about the atmosphere of fear in the streets of Belarus as completely untrue, BelTA has learned.
The journalist said that his attempts to interview people in the streets of Minsk were unsuccessful as no one was willing to answer.
“Did you say who you are?” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“Of course,” the journalist answered.
“So you said you were from CNN, and people — maybe an overwhelming majority — did not want to talk to you in Minsk? Right?” the head of state asked once again and, getting a positive answer, continued: “People in Minsk are very intelligent, wise, talented and educated. They know what CNN stands for.
Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled that there was a CNN journalist recently at the Big Conversation with the President and people could see it live on TV. “So in Minsk, people know very well that your channel is biased, and they simply didn’t want to talk to you about it, because they knew that you were going to distort anything they said anyway. So I’m sorry, but that is a fact,” the president said.
“The fact that the people of Minsk didn’t want to talk to you — look, that’s your problem. You are a journalist, a talented person, you should have got them to open up. You didn’t succeed. What’s that to do with me? That’s not my fault. If you asked for my help, I would have helped you. But you didn’t ask me for it,” the Belarusian leader added.
However, the journalist drew another conclusion from the refusal of people in Minsk to talk to him, which is difficult to apprehend but which fits ideally into conspiracy theories. He considered it to be a manifestation of the fear in which the residents of Belarus are.
“An atmosphere of fear. That is a lie, Mathew. You’re lying. I’m sorry. You’ve walked around Minsk, without security guards. Nobody accompanied you. And I don’t see any fear in your eyes today. So what have our people got to fear?” the head of state said.
“The main thing about our country’s image, our special thing so to speak, is that our people don’t need to fear walking around, be it day or night, going out with young children, even babies in prams, and that is our own achievement. I am ready to stand up for it at any level with anybody. I don’t believe that you had anything to fear in Minsk, I just don’t believe it. This is a lie CNN concocted in advance, or maybe somebody had you do it,” the president stressed.
“Well it looks like you’ve come here to accuse me of something, but I won’t hold it against you. You must have been given this assignment,” the Belarusian leader said.