If you were 11-years old and had a dictator for a father, it's understandable that you would also aspire to be like him one day. By the age of seven, he had met Pope Benedict XVI, Hugo Chavez and Dmitry Medvedev, then-president of Russia.
Meet Nikolai Lukashenko, the future dictator of Belarus. His father, Alexander Lukashenko won his fifth term as President of Belarus by a landslide victory on Sunday, and warned the opposition against protests that could derail the lifting of Western sanctions imposed over human rights abuse allegations.
According to the Daily Telegraph, he is Belarus' "president-in-waiting" and is being groomed by his father to take over as Europe's next 'last dictator'. He accompanied his father last month to the UN summit in New York where he was photographed with the Obamas.
He even met the most charismatic dictators of them all: Hugo Chavez at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas in 2012. The solemn fair-haired boy, often dressed in a miniature version of his father's outfit, has accompanied Lukashenko to international events ever since he was four years old. He likes guns and carries around a gold-plated pistol he was given by the former Russian President and current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
It was at this meeting that President Lukashenko announced that Nikolai was his potential succession. "You're correct in pointing out that my kid is here alongside us. This shows that we have seriously and lastingly established the foundation for our cooperation, and that in 20 to 25 years there will be someone to take over the reins of this cooperation," reported The Independent.
11-year-old Nikolai is known popularly as 'Kolya' made his first public appearance at the age of four. He has presided over military parades in a replica of his father’s uniform, and been photographed at military exercises with the golden sidearm in the belt of his camouflage uniform. Here he is at the Belarus' Independence Day parade in 2011.
Little Nikolai met Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, during a meeting at the Vatican in the pontiff's private library. In the 21 years under Lukashenko's rule, Belarus in many ways has seemed little different than the Soviet republic it once was. Dissent is stifled, sometimes harshly. The economy remains largely state-controlled. Even the flag is nearly identical to the Soviet-era one.
According to reports, it seems that President Lukashenko started bringing his son to events in a bid to shatter his hard image as Belarus attempted to forge closer ties with the EU. However he has denied these claims saying, “This is not a PR campaign. Am I the only president with children? Yes, Kolya belongs to politics. That is his destiny as a presidential child.”
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Updated Date: Oct 13, 2015 08:04:31 IST