US President Biden expressed his support for the pro-democracy movement in that country during a meeting with Belarusian opposition leader Tikhanovskaya. Tikhanovskaya was received at the White House, something usually reserved for heads of state and government.
Biden said after the meeting that the United States stands with the Belarusian people, where dictator Lukashenko has been in power for 27 years.
Tichanovskaya, who previously spoke with Secretary of State Blinken and National Security Advisor Sullivan in Washington, later said she asked for Biden’s support. The United States is “morally obligated” to help the Belarusian people, according to 38-year-old Tikhanovskaya. It’s unclear what Biden specifically promised.
Amazing election result
In August last year, there were presidential elections in Belarus, in which the opposition for the first time managed to make a serious fist, despite strong opposition this time too. Several opponents were jailed before the elections. Tikhanovskaya, the partner of one of the arrested opposition leaders, eventually introduced himself as one of the opponents and was surprised by a convincing campaign.
According to the official results released by the authorities, Lukashenko won again this time by a large majority, but the opposition and even the president’s supporters called the result incredible. Unprecedented mass protests broke out across the country, which were brutally suppressed; thousands of Belarusians have finished in prison.
The EU and the US sided with the Belarusian opposition and imposed sanctions on Lukashenko’s government. This happened, among other things, after Belarus landed an airliner between Greece and Lithuania in Minsk and then pulled a dissident off the plane.
Tikhanovskaya emigrated to Lithuania and is trying to increase the pressure on Lukashenko with international help. She ultimately hopes for new elections supervised by international observers. Lukashenko still has the crucial support of the big Russian neighbor.
Earlier this year, Nieuwsuur spoke with relatives of detainees in Belarus. The images and stories are shocking and provide a glimpse into what is going on in the country’s prisons:
“Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover.”