Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaja is accused of planning terror in Belarus. The demonstrations in Minsk and other cities in the country have been going on every weekend since the election last autumn, in which President Aleksandr Lukashenko allegedly received 80% of the vote. The opposition has claimed throughout the election that it was rigged. The accusations against Svetlana Tikhanovskaja are not unexpected. Belarus, like its close ally Russia, has a long tradition of false accusations and imprisonment of opposition figures and journalists who are critical of the regimes. Killing opponents is not unknown either.
Known strategy from Russia
Putting opposition leaders out of business by making false accusations is something we have seen in Russia for many years. Recently, for example, Navalny was arrested for breach of duty to report after he was released on parole following a false conviction earlier. He was arrested and is now in prison for breaching the duty to report. A reporting obligation he could hardly comply with all the time he was poisoned and hovering between life and death in a hospital in Germany.
Belarus also has a long tradition of false accusations and sentences against opposition figures that are troublesome for President Lukashenko. Svetlana Tikhanovskaja’s husband is among those who have had a taste of how the opposition is put out of the game by accusations, arrests and trials that can hardly be described as anything other than a game for the gallery. He is serving a prison sentence for taking part in an illegal demonstration. In this way, he was prevented from standing as a candidate for the presidential election this autumn. It was then that his wife Svetlana Tikhanovskaja took over as the unifying leader of the opposition.
A conviction for terrorism will prevent Tikhanovskaya from standing for election
Lukashenko clearly sees Svetlana Tikhanovskaja as a threat to his personal power in Belarus. The reason why she still hasn’t been arrested is obvious. After the election, she traveled to Lithuania where she currently lives in exile. Nevertheless, she has managed to bring together the opposition, which was initially very divided. But a united opposition agrees that the first step for Belarus must be to get a new president and build the country on democratic principles.
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) came on 5 November 2020 with a report after the elections in Belarus. The report confirmed major irregularities in connection with the election and how it was held. The report also confirmed major violations of human rights in the country, committed by the police and the security forces in connection with the election.