Belarus President Looks Past Death With New Power Backup Scheme
(Bloomberg) -- The longtime president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, laid out a plan to transfer his nearly unlimited power to a close-knit circle of officials should he be murdered as he struggles to navigate the third decade of his rule.
Last month, Belarus and Russia accused the U.S. of secretly backing an alleged coup plot against Lukashenko. According to versions from the president and state-owned media, it involved the murder of him and his sons, switching off the power grid, and organizing an invasion of SUVs armed with machine guns from neighboring Lithuania. U.S. authorities denied the accusations.
Lukashenko, in power since 1994, faced unprecedented popular resistance to his re-election to a sixth term last August. As protests largely fizzled out after more than 30,000 arrests and thousands more fleeing the country, he is now looking for ways to prop up the reeling economy. The U.S. imposed sanctions against state-owned petrochemical companies last month and Russia’s Transneft said it will cut its crude oil shipments to the former Soviet republic in half in May.
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