In Minsk this morning the authorities were preparing for new protests by citizens. The city center is closed. Columns of military vehicles were spotted in several districts of the capital at once. On Independence Square near the presidential palace, the military deployed barbed wire and fencing shields.
The Nekhta Telegram channel announced a new march - the March of Heroes. Lukashenko’s administration announced that his inauguration will take place no later than October 9th. Until this moment, the citizens of Belarus intend to protest. After that - when, according to the protesters, Lukashenko finally loses his legitimacy - all options are open.
Today Minsk residents are going to visit Alexander Lukashenko and his elite at their home - in the villages of Drozdy, where Lukashenko has. True, Lukashenko himself has 17 residences throughout the country, but he also has a haven in Drozdy. The diplomatic town, where the residence is located and the entire political and business elite of the country lives, began to be built in the mid-2000s. Around the construction of several elite settlements, where resellers lured buyers "homogeneous social environment". With this semi-bureaucratic euphemism, real estate sellers described the situation that strangers did not go there and did not settle.
Indeed, Lukashenko's nest is one of the blank spots on the map of Minsk. The Yandex map does not indicate the names of the streets, nor the numbers and the location of houses - a military secret. However, this is how all dictators and other authoritarian elites live.
This is not the address of the German Chancellor in Berlin, where her name is not on the door panel, but the name of Angela Merkel's husband is written - "Dr. Sauer". There is one police car at the entrance, two policemen are talking to each other and answering the questions of passers-by, and if it rains, but they are sitting in the car, they cannot get wet.
Not so in Drozdy. Behind a high fence with rows of barbed wire, nothing is visible but a dense forest. At the entrance, as expected, a checkpoint. Soldiers at the checkpoint. Video surveillance is installed along the perimeter, not a single curious person will hide from it.
- Diplomatic town and the adjacent territory began to be built up in mid-2000s, sites here are not sold, and distributed across decision of the Minsk City Executive Committee among the Belarusian political elite: from ministers and security officials to businessmen, - says Artem Chertsov , deputy head of the department of sales of the secondary housing market of the real estate agency. - By for understandable reasons offering real estate in Dipgorodok on advertising sites not seen It was. Yes and who wants to move from here.
Several years ago, journalists managed to break into the village. Houses are not striking with great splendor. They are far from their Russian colleagues and their estates, whom Alexei Navalny and FBK are telling. But against the background of the average earnings of Belarusians of $ 350 a month, "little Europe" is very different from how people live in Belarus. In addition, their boss also does not like when his subjects live "for show". “Our people do not like to flaunt their wealth - this is a feature of the mentality. In this, our society can be called more Soviet. And I think it's not entirely bad”, - Lukashenko hinted to his people more than once.
The Belarusian elite settled in a heap. Former prime ministers, speakers of the chambers of parliament, ministers, businessmen, hockey players and other representatives of the Belarusian elite live next to Batka. Although cottages in Drozdy are not for sale, back in 2013 they were estimated at $ 2.5 million per house. Their price was constantly growing, and even Lukashenko's retirees, such as the former Minister of Internal Affairs Vladimir Naumov or the former head of the presidential administration Ural Latypov, who, as Belarusian journalists say, have long since moved to Moscow, are in no hurry to part with real estate in their homeland.
Another loyal "soldier" of Lukashenko, Lydia Yermoshina, lives in this village, the head of the Belarusian Election Commission, which became famous in the last elections not only for the "phenomenal" electoral success of its patron of 80%, but also for the way she provided her cabinet to the Belarusian KGB for processing Svetlana Tikhanovskaya , after which she was sent to emigration to Lithuania.
A total of 150 houses have been built in the village. The former and current heads of administration, prime ministers and deputy prime ministers, judges and bankers live here.
Homeowners of homes boast a variety of careers under their irreplaceable boss. For example, former Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikov began to build his house in the rank of chairman of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences. During this time, he managed to visit the Prime Minister and Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly. Now he works at the Eurasian Economic Commission.
Alexander Lukashenko himself has many residences. They considered that, on average, there are three of them in each region of Belarus. In 2017, according to information from Alexander Grigorievich himself, there were 17, but they are all "very modest," he added, answering an interviewer's question. Allegedly, all of them were not built with budget money. In 2019, another palace appeared, but information about it was classified.
Lukashenko lives in Drozdy most of the time and likes to receive guests there. Farther's favorite attraction is to show journalists "grown by himself" potatoes and watermelons. Various buildings are located on 20 hectares. "Barsky House" with an area of 2000 sq. m, there are two buildings for the official reception of 850 sq. M. On the territory there is a restaurant, bar, buffet, shop and water disinfection station.
Lukashenko partially moved to the Ozerny complex when his son Kolya went to first grade. There, Lukashenko's father and son live behind a high fence in the 17th century estate of Count Tyshkevich.
There is the Zaslavl residence on the Minsk Sea. On its territory, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, ousted in 2011, pitched his Bedouin tent during an official visit to Belarus in 2018.
They built a refuge for Lukashenko in his native village of Alexandria in a protected area with its own boiler room.
Lukashenko does not like his residence in Belovezhskaya Pushcha "Viskuli" and rarely happens. He says that here “his country was destroyed” - in 1991 an agreement was signed here on the termination of the existence of the Soviet Socialist Republic and the creation of the CIS.
The financing of Lukashenko's estates is a deeply secret matter. It is scattered over many departments: this is the Presidential Administration, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Security Service, local budgets...
The Belarusian dictator has three residences in Minsk. The most luxurious of them is the "Palace of Independence", which is now guarded by soldiers behind barbed wire.
The Palace of Independence was designed by the Chinese and built by the North Koreans in the strictest secrecy. The walls of the palace are covered with photographs of Alyaksandr Lukashenko from early childhood to the present day. The palace has, among other things, its own bunker. Journalists interviewed experts - the construction alone cost the treasury at least $ 700 million. In this residence, tables are set with dishes trimmed in gold and platinum. The Minsk City Executive Committee placed such an order on the public procurement portal. The most expensive porcelain was purchased from Falken. The chandeliers are made at the German factory Faustig. Similar orders cost several hundred thousand euros. The parquet was laid by specialists from Russia at 2,000 euros per square meter.
The United Civil Party of Belarus tried to find out how much the residence had cost.
“I have information that someone is lying”, - the head of the UCP Anatol Lyabedzka told the reporters. - There is a statement by Alexander Lukashenko, which was disseminated through official channels. According to him, not a single kopeck from the budget was spent on the construction of a residence at the intersection of Orlovskaya and Pobediteley Avenue. At the same time, on August 29, 2013, I received an official response signed by the First Deputy Minister of Finance, in which it is written in black and white that the residence is financed as follows: 50% - payments from the republican budget and 50% - from the budget of the city of Minsk.
A visit to the Drozdy residence is often included in the stay program of distinguished foreign guests. Belarusian citizens are not invited there. Today we will find out what will come of this unplanned visit.