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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lukashenko Shows Athletes Carrot, Stick

MINSK, Belarus -- Authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko on Friday told his country's Olympic athletes that he would shower them with rewards if they perform well at the Sydney games, and followed up with a warning not to complain.

Lukashenko, who heads the country's Olympic committee, exhorted athletes at a meeting in Minsk, the capital.

"Just produce the result and you'll have an apartment and dozens of thousands of dollars and you'll provide for yourself for the rest of your life,'' he said. "I'll buy you anything you need, be it guns, boats, swimming trunks, even undershorts.

"But God forbid if I hear any complaint or question on the eve of your departure for Sydney,'' he added.

Under Lukashenko, who is openly nostalgic for the Soviet Union, Belarus' economy is collapsing.

"I want you to know that we have quite a few problems besides sports," he told the athletes. "[But] if you show good results, I'll have the grounds to reward you at the expense of others,'' he said.