“I have never traded in people, maybe this is because I am from a village and have not grown up in Minsk in modern times. I know what poverty is, and I have seen true friendship and mutual help. We even fought with each other with a log or a shaft on our shoulders, but then we helped each other. Therefore, this personal [experience] from my childhood dominates me. I am always ready to throw myself into fire and flames to protect a person, so no bargaining can be here. You should draw one conclusion from this: if they come to power, they will do exactly as they say. It will be exactly in this way,” the Head of State said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that he had never done so and was not going to. “That Polish lady – Boris – is an evidence of this. It would seem that she is the enemy for Belarus. She happened to get there, but who helped her? Nobody. No one rushed to protect her, and so on. Well, her mother (probably an elderly woman) wrote me a letter: ‘I will die soon’. Most likely, she is our supporter. I thought: ‘Well, listen, Boris is guilty. She will spend time in prison, and then? The old woman came and asked me for. I… That was a personal decision, everyone was against then. I said: ‘Will she turn the country over? No. So she should be released’. Her mother arrived and I instructed to hand her over to her mother – in line with the law, everything was done as it should be. The mother came and took her away. She is still grateful,” the Belarusian leader said.
“This poor Boris is being tormented now about how to turn the flag: to Poland, back and forth. "No," she says. “Thank you. Did you help me when I was staying there? No one helped." True, she is not a supporter of Lukashenko. Probably, she understands this somewhere deep in her soul, but she will not say this openly. However, I know for sure: she has taken such a human position – not to mention her mother,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.
Therefore, the Head of State is convinced that we should not be inflexible, ‘taking a stand and failing to see anyone’. “After all, there were people who were actually deluded. There were different people, but they are people. As for those you have mentioned, criminals and others, I will not bargain – even if there is some benefit for the country behind it, because I know that… How will I look you in the eyes, if I let them go free because I was asked to. No way! This will never happen. They should bear responsibility for this, because – in case of connivance – it will happen again. However, if it is somewhere possible to achieve a compromise, then this should be done. This is our society," the Belarusian leader emphasised.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also mentioned an attempted assassination of journalist Grigory Azarenok, as well as illegal actions against his mother. “That scoundrel was caught, and I said: ‘Take him to Azarenok and his mother. He might crawl on his knees, but if they do not forgive him, he will rot in prison’. But Azarenok forgave him. I did not say ‘not the mother’, I said ‘him and his mother’. I thought he would not forgive him, but they forgave him. Actually, I promised that if they forgive, it means one approach. He is all time proclaiming on the TV that there should be no forgiveness, but he personally forgave. I do not reproach either his mother or him: it is up to them to decide. They looked that scoundrel in the eyes. I did not see him. They were right in their decision,” the Head of State believes.
“I am acting exactly in the same way – choosing a compromise if possible. If not, if we see that this is the enemy... Therefore, if you have some kind of power and force today, you should restrain yourself, you should not dismember people left and right,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
Answering a question of whether there have been many requests for pardons, the President said, “A fair amount. It is an ongoing process, and it involves not only these crazy ones: different people are there [in prison]. A commission under the President is operational, and it deals with pardon issues. All time we are granting citizenship to people, we are asked about a pardon. This is a pardon – not an amnesty.”
As regards an amnesty, the Head of State recalled that it is usually timed to various significant events and dates. “We will shorten the time in prison or release some. Only a few will go free. Time would be cut to five (from six), four or three, and so on. An amnesty does not mean that all can go free. No. Someone's sentence will be commuted," the President explained.
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the Belarusian society is confused now, “True, around 75 percent of people are our supporters, those who have understood a lot. But 25 percent is a lot: it is more than two million people. There are 10 percent – about a million of people – who have always been our opponents. Some of them have even become our enemies after that, and we should see these people. We must work with them, with this layer, but we should also not lose sight of our people. There should be a very delicate approach here," the President said.
“Therefore, if you see that I have let someone go, or relax something, or do something else, you should not think that I am already trading in your opinions. You have no idea what kind of pressure I am experiencing – primarily, from your side. I am afraid to set you up. I think: you are on the barricades and you support me from there, making some kind of idol out of me, and so on. How can I set you up – real civil servants who are rooting for the country. You cannot imagine, this is the most responsible matter,” the Belarusian leader noted.
“You should not worry. I am making an appraisal of this, piling up, dividing or not, making compromises or not. But those who should serve prison time will do so. I actually have more information. I do not trade in people’s destinies in exchange for money or for no reason. I have not accustomed to this. Never take what belongs to others and never offend people. Justice is above all,” the President concluded.