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Lukashenka complains about lack of patriotism 'among men'

Belarusian Defense Minister Viktar Khrenin / BELTA​

On November 23, Alyaksandr Lukashenka met with Defense Minister Viktar Khrenin to discuss the situation in the Armed Forces and in the country, according to official sources.

In the view of Lukashenka, the lack of patriotism is to blame for everything. "We see one of the main shortcomings in this situation - the lack of real patriotism, especially among our men. First of all, among those (we see it among the students) who did not serve in the Armed Forces, who did not taste this bread. True, it can be seen among those who did serve, but these are few. Thus, there is a big gap in our patriotic education, it must be eliminated," the state-run news agency BelTA quotes Lukashenka as saying.

Lukashenka may have confused patriotism with love for the authorities. Foreign observers have repeatedly noted that the Belarusian protests are neither pro-Russian nor pro-Western. This is evidenced, for example, by the absence of foreign flags at street rallies. People have taken onto the streets due to internal Belarusian problems, and above all the rigged elections and unprecedented police violence.

Lukashenka's interest in what is happening in the army is also easily explained. Fresh conscripts have just been drafted, and the draft includes young men who saw with their own eyes the street protests or may have even participated in them.