Tsikhanouskaya sees Belarusian opposition's success on intl stage

  • 2023-08-10
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who moved to Vilnius from Minsk after the Belarusian presidential election three years ago, admits that the Belarusian opposition has not achieved all of its goals, but she sees success in acting on the international stage and maintaining the unity of among her countrymen.

"I see success in the international arena as we have managed to create institutions – the United Transitional Cabinet, the Coordination Council. Yes, maybe we have not yet achieved special results, but we are learning how to work in a democracy as democracy will come to Belarus and we will have to "switch" to a democratic system very soon," she told reporters in Vilnius on Wednesday as the Belarusian community commemorated the third anniversary of the Belarusian presidential election that is non recognized in the West.

It may seem that "little has been done this year and we have not achieved our goals", she says.

"Yes, that's understandable. Three years is a long and hard road of displacement, of sacrifice. Belarusians have not "burnt out" over the past three years as they have managed to maintain unity despite the regime's persistent attempts to divide us," Tsikhanouskaya added.

She also described as a success the fact that the international community has managed to distinguish between the Minsk regime and the people of the country, and "not to put us in the same basket, to look at our cases separately".

"This is a very difficult job, given the challenges we face, both for those who have moved and for those who remain in Belarus. The crackdown in the country continues, and people are not free to speak out against the regime or speak in favor of Ukraine: it becomes a criminal offense to fly the Ukrainian flag, to sing a Ukrainian song, to speak Belarusian," she said.

Belarus held a presidential election On August 9, 2020 and it was followed by mass protests following the announcement that authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has led the country since 1994, had won it again. Thousands of people were arrested and some were issued long prison sentences.

Lukashenko's key rival Tsikhanouskaya moved to Lithuania after the election and continues her political activities from Vilnius.

On Wednesday, around 500 people gathered in Vilnius to mark the election anniversary. They marched from the Cathedral Square in central Vilnius to the Belarusian Embassy.