It would be a significant challenge to find any media in the world that would introduce Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as a housewife. But that was exactly what she was only a few months ago.
Now the Belarusian opposition leader has turned into a full-fledged politician – communicating with both European leaders and international organizations.
And this week she visited Denmark for the first time.
Grateful for Denmark’s position
Tikhanovskaya was in Copenhagen to receive the Politiken Freedom Prize – and an accompanying 100,000 kroner – awarded to individuals or organizations fighting for freedom rights.
But Denmark is much more than the opposition in Belarus – Tikhanovskaya also met with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod and other government and civil society officials during her stay.
The Danish government has been a strong supporter of the movement and has brought the EU sanctions complaint against the long-standing strong male president Aleksandr Lukashenko.
“There is a lot of news around the world, but we want people not to forget us. “The more people are aware, the more support we get from the international community, and the more pressure there is on the regime,” Tikhanovskaya told a news conference on Thursday.
“We are so grateful that Denmark is among the countries that impose sanctions on the current regime.”
A galvanized nation
Since the announcement of the controversial presidential election results in August, tens of thousands of people across Belarus have taken to the streets to protest every day.
This is not the first time Belarusians have come out in numbers to protest in the wake of a ‘victory’ in the Lukashenko election. But this time is different.
This year is unusual, not only because of the large scale of the protest movement, but because it attracts enormous international coverage and support.
This is emphasized by Denmark and the rest of the EU, which is strongly behind the opposition in Belarus and is imposing sanctions on the Lukashenko regime.
Tikhanovskaya was also among ten Belarusian opposition figures awarded the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights by the European Parliament this year.
As is the case with the prize money awarded to the Politiken Freedom Prize, the 50,000 euros received will be donated to volunteers in Belarus.
“The main goal of our foreign visit is not to entertain our egos, but to do everything to help the Belarusians at home. The prize money will help volunteers who help us spread information, for example through Telegram. “Franak Viačorka, Tikhanovskaya’s senior adviser, told CPH Post.
“For example, they allow people to unite and share the news of the protests in their own backyards. It is crucial because our fate is now being decided on the streets of Minsk and other cities in Belarus. ”
Tikhanovskaya’s visit to Denmark comes just days before a central opposition ultimatum to Lukashenko expires on Monday, October 26.
Three clear conditions were set: the current president must announce his resignation, the violence on the streets must stop, and all political prisoners must be released.
If these demands are not met, the opposition has called on Belarus to launch a national strike in all companies and educational institutions. They are also being asked to block roads and cause a collapse in sales in state stores.
In fact, tomorrow could see the regime face the biggest demonstrations yet.
It is not yet known how many people can afford to stop working and join the strike. However, it is clear that Lukashenko will not leave his post tomorrow.
Instead, Lukashenko is likely to try to reassure citizens by making changes to the constitution, a move also supported by Russia – which remains a Lukashenko ally.
“The reform of the constitution that has begun will provide answers to many questions. But at the same time, maintaining stability is a critical condition for the development of the state and society, “Sergei Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, told BELTA earlier this week.
No matter what happens in the coming days and weeks, the pressure on Lukashenko has never been so enormous.
And it does not seem to change at any time. The movement is here to stay, Tikhanovskaya claims.
“Our struggle is difficult to suppress because it is disorganized. We have many leaders. This regime can not imprison a person and everything will be destroyed. Even if I disappear, this movement will continue, ”she said.
Source: The Nordic Page