Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт


Government-run TV channel launches telethon to campaign for Lukashenka

Aliaksandr Lukashenka
Aliaksandr Lukashenka

The Belarusian public is not surprised by the fact that one of the presidential candidates, the acting head of state Aliaksandr Lukashenka, does not appear on TV with his election program or meets with the voters. In reality, the incumbent simply does not care about election campaigning, as he can safely entrust this to others.

Among other things reported by independent observers, in late August, the ONT government-owned TV channel and the Ministry of Culture launched a ‘nation-wide event’ entitled “We Are Together!”. The telethon is expected to be over exactly on the eve of the voting day, October 11. The TV channel has already arranged concerts in Baranavičy and Homieĺ featuring many popstars.

The purpose of the action is to remind every citizen that when we are together, we are Belarus, an independent, powerful state,” wrote the Homieĺskija Viedamasci newspaper.

It may seem that Belarusian pop stars have nothing to do with politics. Nevertheless, the participants were welcomed by the Homieĺ Regional Executive Committee Chairman Uladzimir Dvornik. He talked about love for Belarus and pride in its achievements. After the official’s speech, a huge screen showed mini-reports on the achievements of the region in various fields.

The name of the action and the words mentioned by the high official do not accidentally reflect the election concepts of the head of state, unchanged from year to year: stability, unity, strong and prosperous Belarus.

Five years ago, before the 2010 presidential election, ONT and the Ministry of Culture also held a similar ‘nation-wide event’, but under a different name “Belarus: That’s Us”. Similarly, popstars were travelling across the country to campaign for a ‘united nation’. The final show was held on December 12, just a week before the voting day. The gala was attended by President Lukashenka. “The action “Belarus: That’s Us” has united the country! These words were sung in unison by everyone – from an ordinary student to the country leaders,” said an ONT report to sum up the results of the major event.

"Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections"