On September 2, during his speech in one of the Minsk schools, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said that he has a Tesla car. Belarusian president claims his Tesla is a present from Elon Musk. However, Musk has neither visited Minsk nor yet admitted that he made an expensive gift to Lukashenka.
Lukashenka, Tesla, and Musk
During the meeting in school, Lukashenka added that his Tesla is a present from Elon Musk.
«I have an electric car, a Tesla. Sometimes I test it. Musk gave it to me as a present. I also have an electric motorcycle already produced by the Minsk plant», said Lukashenka to the STV channel.
Belarusian president had already received expensive presents before, such as Maybach 62 in 2012 from an unknown Russian citizen, a bicycle that costs around €7,5K (Tut.by) from the Russian businessmen Igor Makarov. In March 2019 Lukashenka also received skis from the former chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz.
However, Lukashenka’s claim that his Tesla is a present from Musk has caused some doubts.
Earlier, in 2017, Belarusian president tested Tesla Model S and said that he drove it at 280 km/h while the actual maximum speed of that model is 30 km/h slower. Several Belarusian media have asked Musk on Twitter whether he had made a gift to Lukashenka.
Лукашэнка: Ілан Маск падарыў мне «Tesla»
— Тэлеканал Белсат (@Belsat_TV) September 3, 2019
It remains unclear whether Musk could have presented Lukashenka with Tesla considering that Musk has not paid any official visits to Belarus despite the earlier invitation by the Belarusian MFA.
During the same speech in school, Lukashenka said that he admires environmentally-friendly transport and would like to ride a bicycle to work, but he doesn’t want to copy the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
Internet freedom that divides Lukashenka and Musk
While Belarus has been discussing Musk’s present to Lukashenka, Minsk hosted the conference where Lukashenka elaborated on the freedom of the Internet.
Elon Musk is a famous advocate of the free Internet which he wants to make globally accessible by 2027.
Lukashenka hardly shares this approach and believes that the states have a right to restrict the Internet. During the conference on counter-terrorism that took place in Minsk on September 3-4, he said:
«I speak freely on the topic of Internet because none of you will reproach me that we have at least somewhat restricted the Internet in Belarus. Although it would be necessary. But we don’t yet know how to do this so that a civilized society again would not subject us to sanctions», BelTA cites Lukashenka.
Recently, Lukashenka also mentioned that he discusses internet freedom with his youngest son Mikalai. Opening the conference on counter-terrorism in Minsk, Lukashenka said that during the breakfast with his son, Mikalai explained that «If you want to buy drugs, weapons – this is the network to do it <….> there is probably something to think about here».
Alesia Rudnik Belsat.eu