Russian TV resumes media attack against Lukashenko

The FINANCIAL -- Russian state-run TV has resumed a media attack against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Ekho Moskvy radio station said on October 6, according to RIA Novosti.

In July, the NTV channel broadcast a three-part documentary called "The Godfather," revealing disappearances of Belarusian opposition politicians and human rights violations in the country.

The channel is now showing a repeat of the documentary in response to recent disputes between Lukashenko and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Ekho Moskvy said.

Medvedev criticized Lukashenko in his video blog on Sunday for using his pre-election campaign for the Belarusian presidential elections on December 19 to make damning remarks about Russia.

On Monday the Kremlin press service said Russian-Belarusian relations had reached a deadlock, but Russia would maintain political contacts with Belarus.

Tensions between Russia and Belarus have reached an all-time high in recent months following an energy dispute and Minsk's refusal to recognize the former Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which Russia has supported since a five-day war with Georgia in 2008.

Accordingly, there has been speculation that Russia, which has traditionally backed incumbent Belarusian President Lukashenko, may lend its support to an opposition candidate ahead of the elections.

The media attack echoes this summer's TV smear campaign against former Russian mayor Yury Luzhkov, who was sacked on September 28 after a series of disputes with Medvedev.


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