Lukashenko Complains of “Pig Sty” Jewish City

Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko, 2000:

On December 28, Alexander Lukashenko, who is planning to visit Israel on January 4-7, blamed the Jewish state for the “limited relations between the two countries.” “Although many Israelis are former Belarusian Jews and there are still 100,000 Jews remaining in Belarus, the two states have failed to build close or extensive mutual relations,” Lukashenko told reporters in Minsk. “It is the Israel side that is to blame. Everyone knows what kind of policy the West is pursuing toward Belarus,” Lukashenko added.

Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko 2007:

“Have ever been to Bobrusk, have you ever seen what state the city is in? It was terrifying to go inside, it was such a pigstye,” Lukashenko said in a statement supporting his government’s high priority on picking up trash and cleaning city streets.

“It (Bobrusk) was a predominantly Jewish city, and you know how Jews treat the places they live. Look at Israel, I’ve been there. I don’t want to offend any one, but they (Israelis) don’t try very hard that grass is neatly cut, not like in Moscow, among the Russians, among Belarusians.”

Back in 1995, Lukashenko complained that Israel was responsible for harming the economy of Belarus by encouraging a “brain drain”; after all, Jews wishing to get out of the country couldn’t possibly be his own fault. Similarly, it didn’t occur to him during his 2000 whine about Israel being “to blame” for a lack of friendship between the two countries that this might have had something to do with his 1995 rumination that

“Not all of Hitler’s actions were bad, one can learn from his methods of governing a country.”

Anti-Semitism in Belarus was highlighted back in August, when the Simon Wiesenthal Centre noted the distribution of several virulent publications by the Orthodox Initiative. However, the Jerusalem Post notes that Lukashenko has avoided anti-Semitic rhetoric in the past, and that the latest outburst points “not to a new crusade against Belarusian Jews but to a political calculation”, reflecting the country’s increasing alliance with Iran.

Across the border, the Russian Orthodox Church has been continually supportive of Lukashenko: Patriarch Alexei II praised the dictator’s support for “Christian enlightenment and moral health of society”, and presented him with the Order of St. Sergius of Radonezh “for strengthening unity of Slav peoples”. In June the Patriarch bestowed the order of St Vladimir of the First Degree.

Once again, here is one of those banned anti-Lukashenko cartoons:

 (A book-length history of Jewish Bobruisk can be found here)