Alex & Silvio
The Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi went to Belarus yesterday to pay a visit to the country’s President, Alexander Lukashenko. The event gained relevance on the news worldwide, for it was the first visit of a Western leader to a country which, since 1991, had not had friendly links with the West. This visit is meant to represent a reopening of good relationships between Belarus and the West. A fuller description of the meeting can be found here, and here .
This is Lukashenko:
This guy is an interesting character. Some called him “Europe’s last dictator“. He supported the coup against Gorbachev, in 1991, and then succeeded in being elected President of Belarus in 1994, a position he has kept since then (incidentally, Berlusconi was elected PM, for the first time, in the same year. Mere coincidences.) A fuller biographical profile of Lukashenko can be found here. He has been widely criticized for making comments in which he seemed to imply that Hitler was an example of a great politician. Particularly, he is criticized for a too authoritarian regime, serious human right violations, violent repression of dissent and – allegedly- the ‘suppression’ of some opponents.
Berlusconi, on meeting Alex the Great, highlighted how Alex is loved by his people. Belarussians “love you, which is shown by the elections,” Berlusconi told Lukashenko. More than a meeting, the event became a competition for the best compliment. Did Silvio fall in love?
I wonder why Berlusconi chose such a controversial character to visit, given all the mess that is already going on in Italy at the moment. The italian news report the two reached agreements on the adoption of Belarusian children by Italians: definitely worth a trip to Belarus. Silvio will have time to deal with his own country, later.