Lukashenka's inauguration: why all the secrecy?
Lukashenka has been sworn into office for a sixth term in an unannounced ceremony. The event was not broadcast live on television, as is usually the case, and the announcement that it had taken place only came afterwards. Was this confirmation of his status as a dictator alienated from his people or a clever move that prevented violent excesses?
Fear of insults and disgrace
For Echo of Moscow the inauguration is an admission of weakness and of lacking legitimacy:
“A president for whom - according to the official version - 80 percent of the population voted and who is opposed merely by a bunch of drunkards and troublemakers on the payroll of the US and Poland has sneaked into office like a thief. ... Because he was afraid he would be chased out of the palace in disgrace if the public got wind of his inauguration. Lukashenka fears his people so much that the ceremony wasn't even aired on television. Instead of the president, a spokeswoman read his oath [as the images of his inauguration were shown without sound]. Perhaps she'll now take over from Lukashenka? After all, unlike him she dared to pronounce the oath publicly.”
Clever move against the opposition
For the pro-Kremlin website Vzgljad the rushed ceremony is a wise move:
“The opposition was placing much emphasis on the inauguration because it would have been a prominent occasion on which the people could be gathered and the fight made sacred - for example by escalating the protest and ensuring that it culminated in street battles with victims. ... Then Lukashenka's inauguration would have been associated with bloodshed and a broad-based protest organisation could have been established on this basis. ... But 'Batka' thwarted the plans of his opponents and left them no time either to escalate tensions, prepare the population ideologically, paint banners or invent slogans.”