‘I hope common sense will prevail’ Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s first press conference since fleeing Belarus, in brief
On Friday, August 21, Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya) gave her first press conference since fleeing Belarus for Lithuania. Here’s a quick rundown of what she had to say (direct quotes are in quotation marks). You can watch the full press conference here.
The violence against protesters must stop, political prisoners must be released, and the presidential elections must be held anew. I have yet to decide whether or not I’ll take part in the new elections, because they need to be achieved first. “I love my country [rodina] so much and I really want to go back there. I’ll definitely return when I feel safe.” My husband knows that I’m abroad with our children, he’s happy that we’re safe. I don’t know how long the protests will go on, but the Belarusian people will never be able to accept the current government [or] forgive the violence during peaceful demonstrations. The opposition’s Coordination Council will assist the workers who have gone on strike. I have no desire to discuss the kind of threats that I’ve received or what happened before my departure to Lithuania. Moscow hasn’t contacted me. I call on all of the countries of the world to respect the sovereignty of Belarus. I hope that common sense will prevail, that the Belarusian authorities will enter into a dialogue, and that new elections will take place.
Translation by Eilish Hart