Mikhail Gorbachev, еhe first and only president of the Soviet Union, supported protesters in Belarus with the words "well done Belarusians!" However, they still "have to work hard," Gorbachev said in an interview with Podyem publication.
"My dear Republic and the Belarusians whom I love. (...) They have a character now. This is very good. I am watching the situation closely. Today they report what happened the day before - what a mess. I don't think it will pass just like that," Gorbachev said.
According to Gorbachev, "there is a colossal case brewing in Belarus."
Protests in Belarus continue for a second month already. People express their protest against the official results of the presidential election, which took place in Belarus on August 9, and demand incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko should resign and a fair vote be held in the country.
Meanwhile, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko refused to consider his inauguration a secret. He said that the laws of the country do not bind him to invite representatives of Western states to the ceremony. Moreover, he has no obligation to "generally warn anyone" at all.
"This is an internal affair of our country. They claim that we kept it a secret. You know, about 2,000 people were invited to the inauguration together with the military. It is impossible to keep it a secret," Lukashenko said, BelTA news agency reports.
Lukashenko also said that neighboring states take a non-constructive position in relation to Belarus.
"One does not choose their neighbors, and we are doomed to live together, to be friends. But it turns out that this is not always the case. Neighboring states, especially Poland, you know what position they have taken. Even after yesterday's inauguration, they feel offended that we did not inform the Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Czechs or anyone else that we were going to hold this event," Lukashenko said at a meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Belarus Cui Qiming.
Lukashenko's inauguration took place without a preliminary announcement of the date, nor was there any announcement made at all. State TV channels were broadcasting TV shows in the midst of the ceremony, and aired the full recording of the event only in the evening. State-run news agency BelTA announced that Lukashenka took office after it happened, when he had already taken the oath.
The press service of the Ministry of Justice of Belarus, later explained that a live television broadcast of the president's inauguration was not a requirement, nor was there a requirement to invite foreign diplomats to the ceremony.
"The inauguration of the President of the Republic of Belarus was held in full compliance with the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and other laws of the republic," the department said.
The countries of the European Union, the USA and Canada refused to recognize the inauguration ceremony as legitimate. Dmitry Peskov, an official spokesman for Russian President Putin, admitted that he did not personally know about Lukashenko's upcoming inauguration either. Putin did not send official congratulations to Lukashenko after the ceremony, even though Putin was one of the first leaders to have congratulated Lukashenko on his reelection. Putin subsequently stated in various interviews that he considered Belarus elections legitimate and recognised Lukashenko as the winner.