On October 8, NTV, one of Russia’s most popular TV channels, has broadcasted the latest episode of its scandalous miniseries “Крёстный Батька” (The Godfather). Little clarification here, “Батька” is Belarusian word for “father” not Russian (“Отец”). “Батька” is how many Russians (and some Belarusians) jokingly refer to Lukashenko, that’s how he referred once to himself in mid-nineties in relation to Belarusian people and the name stuck with him. By choosing this title for the series authors wanted to draw clear parallels between ways of doing “business” by Lukashenko and those depicted in Coppola’s Oscar-winning gangster-drama.
The entire 25 minutes of the movie is devoted to accusing Belarusian president of killing his political opponents. Col. Dmitry Pavlyuchenko and his SOBR (Special Rapid Response Unit) are shown as likely perpetrators of assassinations of Hanchar, Krasowski, Zakharanka, Zavadski and some other people who were threatening Lukashenko’s grip on power. This theme was not new to the series. In previous episodes authors were already touching on this point, but here they decided to spend the entire 25 virtually on the same topic. They have also dedicated more time than previously to talking about mysterious death of Aleh Biabenin, founder of the most popular Belarusian opposition website who was found dead on September 3rd of this year.
There are also attempts to portray Lukashenko as a friend and partner of such unpopular in Russia people as Borys Berezovsky, Mikheil Saakashvili, Viktor Yushchenko, Yury Luzhkov and some others.
One can’t help but notice that the only opposition candidate shown in this film was Vladimir Neklyayev. This fact clearly demonstrates who is Russia’s candidate on these elections, not that too many people still had any doubt about it. It will be very interesting to follow the electoral campaign, the first presidential campaign since Lukashenko came to power (1994) where Moscow will be supporting opposition, at least officially.
With all this negative information about Lukashenko it is hard to understand why it took more than ten years for Kremlin to realize that the first and only president of Belarus is not playing fair with his opponents, is power hungry and a hypocrite.