Belarus leader Lukashenko rebukes official for not getting Jews ‘under control’

Graffiti of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Credit: Thierry Ehrmann via Wikimedia Commons.

( In a televised address on Wednesday, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko admonished a Jewish regional governor in Belarus for not getting the country's Jewish population "under control."

Expressing annoyance that the Jewish head of the online publication, Yuri Zisser, was "not behaving correctly," Lukashenko said in his speech that he proceeded to confront Minsk Region Governor Semyon Shapiro.

"I told you a year ago to take all the Jews of Belarus under control," Lukashenko recalled telling Shapiro, Reuters reported.

The president mocked Shapiro, saying that he "prayed in the synagogue. There was rain only in Minsk region. Semyon Borisovich (Shapiro) is a good guy."

Lukashenko also praised Belarus's Jewish community—which comprises just 0.14 percent of the country's 9.5 million population, according to a 2009 census—for assisting Belarus in resisting the Nazi occupation during World War II. About 800,000 Belarusian Jews died during the Holocaust. But the president called Jews "white boned," implying that they prefer not to perform menial work. 

"They don't like to get their hands dirty or fight, but they did get their hands dirty with us!" Lukashenko said.

Posted on April 30, 2015 .