Kyiv Urged to Reassess Its Stance on Belarusian Democratic Opposition

by Roman Cheplyk
Friday, November 24, 2023
Kyiv Urged to Reassess Its Stance on Belarusian Democratic Opposition

The apparent indifference of official Kyiv towards the Belarusian democratic opposition, particularly its leader Sviatlana Tsihanouskaya, calls for immediate reconsideration or clarification

It raises a pivotal question: Why does President Volodymyr Zelensky and his administration continue to overlook Tsihanouskaya, despite her being embraced by leaders from Washington to Poland? This disconnect with Ukraine's democratic Western allies, especially in a time where unity against Russian imperialism is crucial, is increasingly conspicuous.

The urgency of this matter is underscored by recent events. On one hand, Ukraine's adversary, Vladimir Putin, meets with his Belarusian subordinate, Alexander Lukashenko, in Minsk for a Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit. On the other, Tsihanouskaya, believed to be the rightful winner of the 2020 Belarusian presidential election which Lukashenko manipulated, voices her support for Ukraine. Her recent tweet praises the Ukrainian parliament’s decision to sanction Lukashenko's associates and military complex.

While diplomatically refraining from critiquing Ukraine's delayed action, Tsihanouskaya and her team, Belarus's democratic government in exile, continue their vigorous campaign for support against the Lukashenko regime, which still detains her husband and numerous Belarusians as political prisoners.

Tsihanouskaya's political ascent began unexpectedly, following her husband's arrest, leading her to assume his presidential candidacy. Now in exile, she was initially cautious in her statements, including those about Russian-Ukrainian relations. However, since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, with Lukashenko's active participation, Tsihanouskaya has become a vocal proponent of Belarus’s democratic European identity and an ally to Ukraine.

In September, addressing the European Parliament, she asserted that the European political project would remain incomplete without Belarus and Ukraine, suggesting their accession to the EU would signify the end of the "Evil Empire."

This situation places Kyiv in a critical position to reassess its current stance towards the Belarusian democratic movement, a decision that could significantly impact Ukraine’s strategy and global reputation.

You will be interested