Belarusian opponent Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, exiled in Lithuania and prosecuted for organizing “mass unrest” after the 2020 presidential election, calls on France to act diplomatically on the situation in her country.
A Belarusian opposition figure, exiled in Lithuania, calls on Paris to the rescue. “I call on France and President Macron to act decisively in the search for a solution to the Belarusian crisis,” said Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, during a press conference upon her arrival in Paris on September 15. The opponent underlined the “weight” of France on the international scene and said she was ready to meet the President of the Republic “at any time”. “Belarusians need new energy to move forward,” she said.
I call on France and President Macron to act decisively in the search for a solution to the Belarusian crisis
No meeting between Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa and the head of state is however scheduled during her visit to France, which will include, according to AFP, a series of talks until September 18 with politicians, parliamentarians and representatives of Civil society. In the afternoon of September 15, the head of French diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian also received her, expressing to her the “solidarity” of France with the Belarusian people in the face of “a repression that has not has only become radicalized for a year ”.
Tikhanovskaïa in particular prosecuted in Belarus for organizing “mass unrest”
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has resided in Lithuania since August 2020, following the presidential election won by outgoing Head of State Alexander Lukashenko, which she contests.
Belarus asked Lithuania on March 5 for the extradition of the activist, prosecuted in her country for her role in the 2020 post-election protest movement. A request that the Lithuanian authorities firmly rejected.
The Belarusian authorities accuse Svetlana Tikhanovskaya of having organized “mass unrest” last year; she has also been prosecuted since autumn 2020 for “calls for actions undermining national security”, a crime punishable by three to five years in prison.
The Central Election Commission of Belarus rejected all complaints about the invalidity of the results of the 2020 presidential election. In August 2021, the Belarusian head of state further announced the holding in the future close to a “free, open and democratic” referendum on the country’s constitution. The leader assured that Minsk would organize this constitutional referendum “openly and honestly to work out the Constitution at the level of a presidential project, which will be made public for debate at the national level”.
Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa, for her part, is increasing the pressure against Alexander Lukashenko “so that he stops his repression and starts a dialogue with the opposition with a view to new elections”, according to AFP. Very active at the international level, the opponent has already been received by Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, President Joe Biden on July 27 in Washington and Prime Minister Boris Johnson in August. She also met Emmanuel Macron in September 2020, in Vilnius; the French leader then promised to help mediate the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) in the Belarusian context.