By Kostas Onisenko
Even before the protests and street clashes in the capital Minsk and other Belarusian cities subsided, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow congratulated Alexander Lukashenko on his victory in the presidential election.
The announcement was issued by the press office of the Patriarch on Monday afternoon (the elections took place the day before). The statement said that “you are always paying close attention to the issues of the spiritual and moral condition of the people, especially for the fruitful cooperation of the state authorities with the Exarchate of Belarus.”
Elsewhere, the Patriarch expressed the hope for continued cooperation, “that will contribute to the unification of the people, the implementation of socially important plans and initiatives, the enlightenment and patriotic education of the new generation, the establishment in society of lasting ideals of mercy, peace, righteousness and justice.”
It is interesting that the announcement was made a few hours after the presidential elections, when significant police clashes with opposition supporters on the streets of Belarus’ major cities occurred.
On the same day, the election results were recognized by Russia, China and Kazakhstan, while it is unknown whether they will be finally recognized by EU countries and the US, as there are serious indications of fraud during the election process.
A few days before the election, President Lukashenko said in an interview that in his youth he had been trained to carry out anti-religious propaganda in (then-Soviet) Belarus. He stated that his relationship with the Church is analogous to that of the citizens of the country, implying that it does not concern him personally.