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Tag: Sviatlana Tsikhanouksaya

In and out of Belarus: the dissidents will not give up

Interview with Andrei Vazyanau, a teacher and Belarusian citizen forced to flee across two nations: Belarus and Ukraine. Interviewer: Claudia Bettiol.

January 31, 2023 - Andrei Vazyanau Claudia Bettiol

In anticipation of a new world

Despite being neighbours, the societies of Ukraine and Belarus know very little about each other. The Kremlin’s use of Belarusian land in its invasion of Ukraine suggests that this divide may persist into the future. However, it is clear that the two countries’ democratic populations will have great potential for cooperation in the years ahead.

The analytical group “BELARUS-UKRAINE-REGION” was established at the end of 2020 at the University of Warsaw. At that moment it was already quite clear that the Belarusian revolution of 2020 would not lead to a quick change of power in Minsk. There was also not yet much talk of a full-scale war in Ukraine, which is Belarus’s neighbour. In fact, analysts and observers who spoke about such a threat in 2021, or even early 2022, would usually add a disclaimer that in their view, the breakout of a war was a very unlikely scenario.

December 7, 2022 - Oleksandr Shevchenko

It is our duty to bring our fight to a victorious end

An interview with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, leader of democratic Belarus. Interviewer: Paulina Siegień

PAULINA SIEGIEŃ: Your life has dramatically changed over the last year. These changes took place even earlier when your husband, Siarhei Tsikhanouski, decided he would run for president. We all know what took place afterwards. What was the most important lesson that you have learnt as a result of all that has happened?

SVIATLANA TSIKHANOUSKAYA: My life has been in constant change for over the last year and a half. At first, Siarhei decided to run for president, then he was arrested so that he could not submit necessary documents to register with the election committee, which included collecting signatures for his candidacy. My husband gave me these documents along with the power of attorney in case something happened. Nevertheless, the Belarusian election commission did not accept these documents from me and challenged my power of attorney, saying that the candidate must come and sign in person. That is why on the following day, I decided to submit these documents myself, meaning, on my own behalf.

September 12, 2021 - Paulina Siegień Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya

One year on. What has changed in Belarus?

The 2020 elections took place in the middle of a pandemic, dismissed by the president as a "psychosis". They were the first elections to be contested by other sectors of the Belarusian elite. Since that day, the situation has changed. Over 38,000 people have been arrested, and over 500 have been declared political prisoners. Peaceful protesters, peaking in numbers at around 250,000 in Minsk but significant in all cities, have been arrested, tortured and in several cases, murdered. What comes next remains an open question.

On August 9th 2021, Alyaksandr Lukashenka held a press conference to discuss the events of the previous year. It was attended by both local and foreign journalists. The de facto leader of Belarus fielded questions in his own style and according to his own perceptions – or stated perceptions – of the world. He expressed his views on the so-called All-Belarusian People's Assembly, on the change of president in the United States and in general about the West's vendetta against his rule, as well as the attacks on his security forces by protesters.

September 12, 2021 - David Marples

Between history and magic

The protesters and Belarusian commentators adopted the role of colonised objects. The scale of the protests surprised everyone. As soon they erupted, the clichéd accounts that the pro-tests represent the birth of the nation were repeated like a mantra. Apparently it emerged sud-denly and Belarusians were formed as a nation in that moment.

A year has passed since the presidential elections in Belarus, which initiated an un-precedented social uprising, often referred to as the Belarusian revolution. Like most revolu-tions, the Belarusian one created its own symbols. Their appearance and dissemination among the protesters had primarily a unifying function. Symbols express the intentions of a revolu-tion. Their interpretation allows us to reconstruct the vision of the future that could emerge on the ruins of the overthrown regime. It raises the following question: one year after the start of protests, how can we describe the symbolism of the Belarusian revolution and can we say it will be an unfulfilled one?

September 12, 2021 - Paulina Siegień Wojciech Siegień

Constitutional reform process in Belarus: recent trends and developments

Constitutional reform is a hot topic in and outside of Belarus. Two approaches are currently underway: one led by Alyaksandr Lukashenka and another by the opposition, led by Sviatlana Tsikhanouksaya.

The need for change to the Belarusian constitution was announced long before the events of 2020, and both Alyaksandr Lukashenka and the opposition have initiated a process after the election. The opposition has emphasised the need for changes to the constitution by the political crisis while Lukashenka’s initial interest in constitutional reform was two-fold: to calm the protests and to assure Russia that he can maintain control over the situation. Based on an official proposal recently announced, the changes proposed by Lukashenka’s constitutional commission do not encompass substantive change to the existing non-democratic model, making it even more bureaucratic and slow.

September 12, 2021 - Hanna Vasilevich

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