Kolya Lukashenko: Belarus President Takes 11-Year-Old Son to UN General Assembly
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko surprised everyone by taking his 11-year-old son, Kolya, to the UN General Assembly in New York.
Kolya, short for Nikolai, was photographed posing with his father alongside Barack and Michelle Obama at a reception for the summit on September 28.
Lukashenko Jr. joined world leaders in the seats of the general assembly hall as his father addressed delegates from around the world.
It was not a one-off “take your child to work day” for Belarus’s ruling family.
Kolya Lukashenko, the president’s youngest son, often accompanies his father on official business, including a visit to Beijing for China’s World War Two commemorations on September 3.
The boy was pictured watching Beijing’s massive military parade alongside the likes of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and lining up for a photo shoot with leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping.
There are claims Alexander Lukashenko is grooming Kolya to be his successor. The president denied this and insisted Kolya was so attached to him that he would not go to sleep without him.
Alexander Lukashenko, who is estranged from his wife Galina, illegitimately fathered Nikolai, who was born in 2004. Though never confirmed by the government, it is widely believed that the Kolya’s mother is Irina Abelskaya.
Irina Abelskaya and Alexander Lukashenko, now 61, had an affair when she was Lukashenko’s personal doctor.
Alexander and Galina Lukashenko have two sons together – Viktor, 29, and Dmitry, 25.
Among other recent trips, Kolya Lukashenko went with his father to the United Arab Emirates in October 2014 where they visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
Kolya may be extraordinarily well travelled for an 11-year-old, but some critics have begun to question the increasing impact of all these appearances on his education.
The boy missed a week of school in September this year – the same amount of time that he missed during six months of 2014, according to the Polish-funded, Belarusian-language TV station Belsat.
Alexander Lukashenko’s tight grip on power has brought criticism from the West – with the Bush administration describing him in 2005 as the “last dictator in Europe” at the head of an “outpost of tyranny”.
Human rights groups accuse him of widespread abuses.
Meanwhile most Belarusian media channels are controlled by the government.
Kolya Lukasheno has received special attention in recent years – attending numerous world events and meeting global leaders.