Jailed opposition activist Syarhei Tsikhanouski answers questions

Syarhei Tsikhanouski. Photo: Vasil Mauchanau/Belsat

Blogger Syarhei Tsikhanouski, who is still in custody, has answered questions of Belarusians while still in jail. He is quoted by the telegram channel “Country for Life”.

According to Tsikhanouski, he has no free time from politics, because there is no politics in Belarus. The blogger just always thinks about how to make life better.

“I’ve never been interested in politics. There has never been any politics in Belarus. I’ve always loved talking to people. Even abroad. I’m interested in what’s important to them, what drives them, what the meaning of their lives is. I am constantly thinking about how to make people’s lives better, and I have a lot of ideas for that”.

Syarhei also noted that his wife Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya has done a lot to win, but this is not the end.

“There’s a saying: the smaller part is done. We need to focus on what else needs to be done to win. Undoubtedly, Svyatlana’s team has done a lot, but we can’t relax until we win”.

The blogger said that neither he nor Svyatlana were interested in politics, but fate chose them.

“I just couldn’t do otherwise. I thought we would either win or lose. But I didn’t assume we could get stuck in the middle”.

For now, Tsikhanouski can’t say whether he’ll stay in politics when he is out from prison.

“I don’t know when I’ll be out. I’ve always said that I will stay as long as the Belarusian people will let me. I have a lot of ideas and I would like to implement them. But whether I’ll have health and time, is unknown. At first I was told that I had only a little time left to wait. Then it was a couple of months. Recently I read a forecast claiming that the regime has a year left. There are no options: we’ll wait until you realize that tying ribbons and making threats on social networks doesn’t help. And then we can think about politics”.

Syarhei Tsikhanouski planned to become one of Lukashenka’s opponents in last year’s presidential election. However, he could not register, so his wife Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya took part in the campaign. On May 29, 2020, Tsikhanouski was detained at a picket in Hrodna. He has remained behind bars ever since. The term of his detention has been repeatedly extended.

On 11 March it was reported that the Main Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee brought final charges against Tsikhanouski. The blogger is charged under four criminal articles of the Criminal Code:

Part 1 of Art. 293 (“Organization of mass riots”);

Part 3 of Article 130 (“inciting social hatred”);

Part 2 Art 191 (“Obstruction of the work of the CEC”);

Part 1 of art. 342 (“Organization of actions that grossly violate public order”).

The maximum penalty is provided by Part 1 of Article 293: according to it, the blogger could get up to 15 years in jail.