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For few days the Belarusians, full of fear, full of hope, have been discussing what happened to Lukashenko. Information on the alleged "stroke" of the Belarusian president was published by the Russian anonymous Telegram channel "Nezigar", which writes on the Belarusian issues with special cynicism. These "news" were joyfully picked up some Ukrainian media, and on July 30-31 the entire Belarusian non-state press and social networks have counted how many days Lukashenko did not appear in public and why canceled his visit to one of the regions.
Belarusian bureaucratic machine has once again demonstrated its sluggishness. In fact, only on the third day of the “social media storm” Lukashenko's press secretary Natalia Eismont told that information about the illness of the head of state was "complete nonsense." "I will not comment on it. Alexander Grigoryevich is in his work mode," Eismont stated.
However, the people believed only after Lukashenko has publicly appeared on television during a meeting with one of the officials.
During these three days, the Belarusians have generated a lot of jokes and memes. "Let us hope for the best," it was, perhaps, the most popular post in the social media. People were actively posting pictures from "The Death of Stalin" movie. "Stalin's funeral was preceded by a political affair about pest physicians. Coincidence? I do not think so," one of the users wrote, hinting that in recent months, the scandalous and mass arrests of doctors and health care officials have been taking place in Belarus.
However, Lukashenko’s "illness" has demonstrated that for many Belarusians any hopes for changes in the country have long been limited to the only possible option - the death of the incumbent head of state. Nobody believes in economic and political reforms, even the talk about the "successor" has died down. Everyone has realized that while the current head is alive, one cannot think about any successor.
And one more thing was very vivid during the "stroke crisis." Even Lukashenko's opponents have become so used to his existence as president for 24 years that some of them asked "What will happen in case of his death? What if everything becomes worse? Who will take advantage of this instability?" It was a sort of Stockholm syndrome.
In any case, it is obvious that Russian information attacks against Lukashenko and his entourage are intensifying. We cannot talk about a large-scale information war, however, it can already be called partisan raids, which are not yet conducted by parts of the regular information army, but by some subversive detachments (Nezigar). Obviously, the next presidential election in Belarus, which to take place in late 2019, would not become a simple and formal campaign for Lukashenko. And the "health" of the Belarusian president would be used as a target issue.