Lukashenko urges lawmakers to ignore Russian media attack

The FINANCIAL -- MINSK. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has called on the country's lawmakers to ignore Russian "media pressure", RIA Novosti reported.

After months of backbiting, including a three-part Russian documentary called "The Godfather" accusing Lukashenko of a lurch towards authoritarianism, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hit out for real in early October.

Responding to Minsk's allegations that the Kremlin was interfering in Belarus's presidential election campaign, Medvedev accused Lukashenko in his weekly video blog of "hysterical anti-Russian rhetoric."

"It is a media squabble," Lukashenko told journalists after talks with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite in Minsk. "It's their problem. We are not getting involved in it."

"As far as the economy goes, we have no arguments but this squabble has left a mark on a number projects," he said.

Other countries, including Lithuania, are ready to invest in those projects, he said.

Relations between MOSCOW and Minsk have been strained over several economic and political disputes, including gas transits, and Lukashenko's failure to honor his promise to recognize the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.


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