Belarus Leader Claims to Have Outdone Putin

    The Wall Street Journal
    By The Wall Street Journal

    By Olga Razumovskaya

    MOSCOW—When it comes to fish tales, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s monster pike catch last week has been trumped by the leader of neighboring Belarus, who says he hauled in a catfish more than twice the weight.

    At a government meeting on fishing and hunting rules, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he caught a catfish weighing 57 kilograms (126 pounds), as well as two other tiddlers coming in at 24 kilograms and 7 kilograms.

    Mr. Lukashenko, who has ruled the former Soviet state for 19 years, caught the whopper in the Pripyat River, he said in footage broadcast Tuesday by Belarus’s ONT channel.

    The authoritarian leader didn’t say exactly when or where he’d nabbed the beast, but noted the river is now full of fish, unlike several years ago.

    “Now if you put a finger in [the water], the fish will grab it,” he said.

    The Kremlin said last week that Mr. Putin had caught a 21-kilogram pike in a lake near Russia’s border with Mongolia. Bloggers claimed the weight was exaggerated, which Mr. Putin’s spokesman dismissed as idle speculation.

    While the Kremlin website shows a photo of Mr. Putin proudly displaying his catch, there were no shots of Mr. Lukashenko’s haul on his website or in Belarusian media.

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