Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko called Svetlana Alexievitch, 2015 Nobel Prize winner in literature, ‘a bad son of its country’.

“You don’t get to choose your country like you don’t get to choose your parents or your mother. It is the way it is. And if you say bad things about your country, if you are ashamed of it, then you’re a bad son,” said Lukashenko.

Lukashenko mentioned Svetlana Alexievitch while giving the Order of Francysk Skaryna to composer Viktor Drobysh during an award-giving ceremony in Minsk.  The Belorussian President compared Drobysh with Alexievitch by saying that the former, though being far away from his country, had never been ashamed of calling himself a Belorus, ‘unlike some of our artists and even Nobel Prize winners, who left Belorus and tried to throw mud at it even prior to getting the award’.

Lukashenko probably referred to what the writer said abroad, and more specifically, to an interview with German journalists which took place in Berlin on October 10. According to Belorussian publication Novosti, Alexievitch warned Europe that Lukashenko ‘is bargaining to get more preferences from Russia, so he could turn his back on Europe once he gets Russian money’.

It is not the first time Lukashenko makes a mistake like this. For example, after Vasyl Bykov, a world famous Belorussian writer passed away, Lukashenko said he liked his poems.