Aliaksandr Lukashenka has finally made it into Europe. And he liked it. “Solid work,” he said on Friday, 7 September during the unveiling of the new 5-star-hotel (the only one in Belarus) in the historic centre of Minsk. One of the few available photos from the ceremony can be viewed here – the surroundings of the hotel were sealed off from public and international journalists since morning.
“Hotel d’Europe” is supposed to be the copy of what was once the most luxurious hotel of Minsk, destroyed by a bomb during the WWII. The new “Europe” was built according to the tastes of the new masters of the country. The building was moved from its original site, finally burying the remnants of the first Minsk Belarusian theatre. The Belarus-made “Europe” is rather expensive – the cheapest suite starts with $450, more than the average monthly salary in Minsk.
The regime does seem to have recently found a soft corner for Europe in its heart. As we have already reported, Belarus offered more economic cooperation with the EU, notably in the energy field, at a conference on the European neighbourhood policy in Brussels on Monday (3 September). However, the actual Europe is not offering Lukashenka the 5-star luxury. No cooperation without democratization – this was the answer of the European Commission. Europe won’t let Lukashenka choose, in which spheres to cooperate, and in which not to.