Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya: “We want a new country”

In an interview with France 24 from Vilnius, Lithuania, where she is in exile, Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said she hoped for the imminent fall of President Lukashenko. While Belarus is being shaken by a giant wave of demonstrations following the presidential election on August 9, it is urging the authorities not to take part in a bloody escalation. She believes that Alexander Loukachenko’s resignation is an essential precondition for holding “free, fair and transparent elections”.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is the main representative of the Belarusian opposition. A 37-year-old former English teacher claims victory in the August 9 presidential election, accusing the government of rigging the vote in favor of the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years.

When asked by Marc Perelman about the meeting in Sochi, Russia, on Monday between the Russian president and his Belarusian counterpart, she said she regretted the legitimacy that Vladimir Putin gave Alexander Lukashenko. “I am sorry that Mr Putin is on the side of the dictator, and not with the Belarussian people,” she told France 24.

However, the adversary in Lithuania has dismissed fears that Moscow could plan a military intervention in Belarus, as it once did in Ukraine, as the problem does not include borders. According to her, it is evil that her country suffers from “an internal affair”.

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While Svetlana Tikhanovskaya confirms that she and other opposition leaders have met with foreign policy makers since August 9, no such contact has taken place with Russian officials, she assures. . She adds that her husband, blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky, who was arrested and imprisoned in May after running for president, was treated fairly, as were her compatriots Maria Kolesnikova.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaï calls the Belarusian president a “criminal” and calls on the European Union and the United States to impose individual sanctions on Minsk’s strong men. Her people, engaged in an unprecedented wave of protests, are determined to turn the page on Lukashenko, she said. “We want a new country, safe and free, where our children do not become slaves to the system,” she concludes.