The Polish-based Belarusian opposition news outlet Nexta on March 8 has published an investigative film about Alexander Lukashenko's luxurious life, reminiscent of Alexei Navalny's YouTube film Putin's Castle. Within a week the film (Lukashenko, Goldmine) was watched by 5,5 million viewers. Lukashenko dismissed it as rubbish and cheap photoshopping. 'I didnot steal anything from my state.'
The film on Lukashenko only has Russian subtitles
The investigative material focuses on Lukashenko's personal expenses and what it describes as Lukashenko's villas, expensive cars, planes, helicopters and gifts he allegedly uses for his own personal needs.
The report says Lukashenko has been offering 'protection' to corrupt Belarusian and foreign business people. It mentions, in particular, a luxurious residential compound in Krasnoselskoye near Minsk, which Nexta says is a gift from Russian oligarch Mikhail Gutseriyev to Lukashenko in exchange for 'protection'.
According to the moderator, the film was based on the testimony of several anonymous sources, including a man presented in the film as a former employee of Lukashenko’s administration. Nexta also obtained documents it says back up the claims.
Stepan Putsila, the founder of Nexta, told Current Time on March 9 that the documents were not presented in the film at the request of those who provided them. Putsila said that Lukashenko's name was not in any of the obtained documents, adding that Lukashenko’s automobiles, which alone are worth more than 4 million euros ($4.75 million) and include a Maybach and a Rolls-Royce, are officially registered in other names.
Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, has said that his 'only palace' is a tiny house of less than 60 square meters where he was raised by his mother.
'I did not steal anything from my state, did not take anything', Lukashenko said last week after reports of the film's imminent release were published.
Lukashenko has amended the constitution several times during his authoritarian rule that brought Belarus the unwanted moniker 'Europe's last dictatorship'.