Lukashenko 'untrustworthy': Belarussian Nobel literature laureate
Svetlana Alexievich, the Belarussian dissident who won this year's Nobel Literature Prize, warned Saturday that President Alexander Lukashenko is "untrustworthy" after reports that the EU is set to suspend sanctions against him.
"Every four years, new European officials come to power and think they can solve the Lukashenko problem without knowing that he is a man who is untrustworthy," Alexievich told a news conference in Berlin on the eve of presidential elections in Belarus which she says will be rigged.
European sources said Friday that the EU was ready to suspend sanctions against Lukashenko after he released the country's last political prisoners.
A decision will be taken before October 31, when the measures expire and must be either renewed or scrapped, they said.
But the decision will hinge on incident-free elections on Sunday and a peaceful aftermath, one source said. The Belarussian strongman is expected to win a fifth consecutive term.
Alexievich said of Sunday's elections: "No one doubts that Lukashenko will win... We all suspect that for Lukashenko it doesn't matter how we will vote, what is important is those who will count the ballots, and so there will be no surprise," she said.
But in a surprise move in August, Lukashenko released from jail six opposition leaders considered the last political prisoners in Belarus, including Mikola Statkevich, a former presidential candidate imprisoned in 2010.
Alexievich said Belarus remains "a soft dictatorship". She told the news conference: "Stalin's dictatorship is not the only model. There are lots of other variations."
© 2015 AFP