Copyright © 2024

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Tsikhanouskaya says Belarusian opposition has “lost the streets” for now but won’t end the revolution

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya with her hand raised while campaigning as a Belarusian presidential candidate at a rally in Minsk, 19 July 2020. Photo:
Tsikhanouskaya says Belarusian opposition has “lost the streets” for now but won’t end the revolution

In an interview with Le Temps, Sviatlana Tsikhanoŭskaya says that at present, the Belarusian opposition has “lost the streets” and cannot withstand the force being used by the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka but will recover its position in the spring.

“I must acknowledge that we have lost the streets,” the Belarusian opposition leader says. “We do not have any chance to struggle with the force being used by the regime against the protesters. They have arms and force and at present it seems that we have lost. I know that Belarusians are tired and afraid.”

How Alyaksandr Lukashenka stole the Belarus presidential election


Now, Tsikhanoŭskaya says, “the opposition is preparing itself for the future struggle. We are working to connect various opposition initiatives which have arisen” so that we will be able to subject the regime “to constant pressure” even though for the present people are not going into the streets sometime this spring.

Asked to compare the movement in Belarus with the one in Russia led by Aleksey Navalny, the Belarusian leader says that they are fundamentally different. “In  Russia, these are meetings against corruption … In our country, we want free elections.” Russia has not reached the same “point of nonreturn.”

In fact, she points out, “in Russia demonstrations are taking place but in Belarus, there is a revolution.” Revolutions, especially those in pursuit of democracy, take longer but also have deeper roots.

Despite Tsikhanoŭskaya’s brave words, many analysts have concluded that the suspension of mass protests, even though some continue both inside Belarus and outside, means a victory of Lukashenka and will give him greater freedom of action in his negotiations with Vladimir Putin.

Andrey Rezchikov of Moscow’s Vzglyad newspaper surveys the views of some Moscow analysts. Minsk political scientist says Tsikhanoŭskaya’s failure to achieve change with large protests means that she is unlikely to do so now that they have ebbed, whatever she predicts about the future.

He does not exclude the protests may resume, but they almost certainly will do so under new leadership.

For the time being, the Belarusian protest movement is going into the underground. There are many smaller groups there who will organize small protests until some larger unity emerges.

Vladimir Zharikhin of the Institute of CIS Countries says that Tichanoŭskaya has “not passed the test of the streets” and thus is losing her role as leader of the opposition. But Kirill Koktysh of MGIMO says that the demonstrations have failed and are unlikely to be renewed anytime soon under some new leader.

As a result, Lukashenka is likely to be in a position to act more freely for some time to come than he has in recent months.
Unprecedented protests started in Belarus in the wake of the announcement the official results of the presidential elections of 9 August 2020 which are widely believed to have been rigged in favor of dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Despite the harsh crackdown by authorities, the regular mass protests and other acts of civil disobedience have been lasting for many months since then.

Read more:

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here

    Will the West continue to support Ukraine?
    • Know what moves the world.
    • Premium journalism from across Europe.
    • Tailored to your needs, translated into English.
    Special discount
    for Euromaidan Press readers
    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!

    Related Posts