Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya meets with President of Austria

Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya is in Austria. Two years ago, Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makei came to this country on a visit. Nevertheless, Austria considers the current authorities in Belarus illegitimate and will help the Belarusian people striving for change, Svyatlana told Belsat.

“Svyatlana, what’s your mood at the start of your second European tour this year?”

“I am in a fighting spirit. We know where we are heading what we want, and we promote the needs of the Belarusian people at an international level.”

“Today, on April 27, you had a meeting with the president of Austria. Tell us about your impressions and what you have achieved.”

“It has always seemed that Austria has been friends with the regime. But we have all seen Austria’s tough stance on what is happening in Belarus. They have spoken about the illegitimacy of the former President of Belarus, about the rigged elections, condemned the violence. And we have seen the desire to help us in this difficult time.

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen welcomes the Belarusian opposition Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Vienna, April 27, 2021. Photo: LEONHARD FOEGER/ Reuters/ Forum

“Indeed, the relationship between Belarus and Austria is special. Lukashenka was here in Austria two years ago. There are also economic interests, a lot of Austrian capital in Belarus. Is your team planning to use economic and financial leverages somehow?”

“We ask companies to condition their cooperation, to ask them to stop violence, to ask them not to fire workers who in some way express their political stance, and to become a lever of pressure on the authorities. Think first and foremost about human dignity, human rights, not just the material side of doing business. We try to explain to them why it’s important now to think about people and to do business with the regime in a way that doesn’t degrade human dignity.”

“While you are visiting European countries, Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said that there will be a decree, according to which, in case of death, the power will be transferred to the Security Council…”

“It’s like rearranging the chairs on the sinking Titanic. We need a political transformation through new elections and. Not to stay in the contrived stability we’ve been living in for so long, we need to move forward.

“Your team told Belsat that Austria might be a good platform for talks with Alyaksandr Lukashenka. So far, we have not seen any interest in such a dialogue on his part. This dialogue is just nonsense, or will it ever take place?”

“We want to build a new country. As a neutral country with good relations both with the European Union and the East, Austria can be both a venue of such a dialogue, meetings, conferences, or round tables and act as a mediator.

“Does Austria have an opportunity to influence Russia as Belarus’ neighbor, which we look at with caution?”

“We must use all opportunities for dialogue, for establishing contacts with our eastern neighbor. Austria is ready to find such contacts and build such ties.”

Interviewed by Tatsyana Reut/