After days of speculation about his health, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been seen in public for the first time since 8 May. Footage released by state media on Monday showed the president at a military command centre and looking healthy.
The 65-year-old leader had not been seen in public since 8 May, sparking rumors that he was seriously ill. His absence from a ceremony in Minsk on Sunday further fueled speculation that something was wrong with his health.
Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko is a Belarusian politician who has been the president of Belarus since the establishment of the office on 20 July 1994. Often described in the West as Europe’s last dictator, Mr Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994, suppressing any dissent. In 2020, he was re-elected for a sixth term with 80% of the vote amid allegations of electoral fraud and mass protests against his rule.
Rumors Over Health
The president’s sudden disappearance from public view sparked rumors over his health and led to speculation about who would succeed him if he were to become incapacitated or die while in office. The country’s constitution does not provide for an acting president if the head of state is unable to perform their duties due to illness or other reasons.
Belarusian state news channel ONT published a photo on Monday showing President Alexander Lukashenko at what it said was a military command centre near Minsk. The photo showed Mr Lukashenko wearing a black suit and tie and appearing healthy despite being absent from public view for almost a week. He was seen talking to officers at an air defence unit and inspecting military equipment during his visit to the base outside Minsk.
The reappearance of President Alexander Lukashenko after days of absences has put an end to speculation over his health and potential succession plans should he become incapacitated or die while in office. It remains unclear why he disappeared from public view for almost a week but it appears that he is still very much in charge as Europe’s last dictator continues to lead Belarus with an iron fist.