“Until you kill me, there will not be any more elections.”

Trump didn’t say it — not out loud, at least not yet.

But in face of mass protests demanding that he go, the dictator of Belarus did.

I read the Times article (linked above) and blinked a few times at what seems like familiar descriptions. (Hint: mentally replace “Mr. Lukashenko” with “Mr. Trump” and see how you feel about it.)

Although Mr. Lukashenko declared a landslide victory and 80 percent of the vote in the Aug. 9 election, protesters and international bodies, including the European Union, have called it fraudulent. The main opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, also declared victory and fled to neighboring Lithuania out of fear for her safety.

***

Over the past week, Mr. Lukashenko pushed to rally his supporters around the flag. He made a flurry of statements about an imminent invasion from the West and an internal conspiracy to destabilize Belarus. He accused protesters of being against Russia — a key ally — and called them “rats” and “trash.” On Sunday, some protesters waved the Russian flag to show that they do not want their country to turn away from Moscow.

Some of Mr. Lukashenko’s assertions seemed directed at the attention of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who is leery of any anti-Russian protests in former Soviet republics. On Saturday, Mr. Lukashenko thanked Mr. Putin and called him a friend, one day after confirming having invited several Russian journalists to replace the Belarusian ones who resigned from state-run news media outlets this month in protest over censorship.

But I keep coming back to what Lukashenko said because it seems to be the whole ball of wax, right there in one dreadful proclamation of absolute tyranny. Let’s repeat it, over and over and over:

“We had elections,” he told a crowd of workers last Monday. “Until you kill me, there will not be any more elections.”

 

 

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