Exiled Belarus leader: revolution is being planned
Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has said the dictatorial president Alexander Lukashenko will face an uprising if he commits troops to the invasion of Ukraine.
A former teacher, Tikhanovskaya was widely seen as the victor in the 2020 presidential election.
Tikhanovskaya told The Times that a network of resistance activists has been established within Belarus to take advantage of when Lukashenko is at his weakest to break the security system.
She is now living in Lithuania, where she heads a government in exile.
Tikhanovskaya said: “Our cyber partisans know how to paralyse the railways and fuel supplies for military vehicles. Security services, police and the military will be blocked from going out on the streets to stop us.”
In September Russia failed to respond to Armenian requests for troops and observers are questioning Putin’s ability to support his regional allies.
“There are too many people in prison so when we ask people to go out on the streets we need to be sure that this will work, that it will be the last time.”
She left Belarus in a violent crackdown as Lukashenko claimed a sixth consecutive term.
“If he will make our army participate, it will be political suicide for him,” Tikhanovskaya told the media. The 40-year-old was in Liverpool to address Britain’s opposition Labour Party’s annual conference. “Even those people who are for this regime, allies of Lukashenko, they are against the war in Ukraine.”
Tikhanovskaya, who speaks fluent English after spending her childhood summers in Ireland, last week attended the United Nations general assembly in New York and is also visiting Poland and France.
“It wasn’t Ukraine that was occupied first, it was Belarus. The only difference is that Lukashenko collaborated with Putin. And now he is only kept in power because of Putin so he cannot make any decisions without the Kremlin’s say-so.
“Ukraine is fighting to keep its independence and so are we. But our fight is an underground one, a partisan one.”
Tikhanovskaya said Lukashenko relies on Russia, his security services and the economy.
Belarus faces six packages of sanctions and Tsikhanouskaya is asking for harsher measures targeting exports of wood, potash and steel and secondary sanctions on Lukashenko and his associates.
The fates of Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin are linked. Picture credit: Kremlin