Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya on this year’s Bloomberg 50 list

Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Berlin. Photo: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE / Reuters / Forum

The Bloomberg 50 annual list includes innovators and leaders who ‘deserved a nod’ for their impacting and defining our world in 2020.

Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya has been also named as one of the 50 most influential people in the world by Bloomberg News.

“She’s spent four months in exile since her unlikely campaign turned into the biggest challenge ever to longtime dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka,” the authors of the list say.

Earlier, Tsikhanouskaya made it to the 2020 BBC list of 100 inspiring and influential women who are ‘leading change and making a difference during these turbulent times’.

In May, her husband Syarhei Tsikhanouski, the author of Youtube channel Страна Для Жизни (A Country for Life), revealed his presidential ambitions while serving a 15-day jail term for participating in unauthorised mass events. However, the Belarusian Central Election Commission refused to register his initiative group. According to them, only a person who intends to campaign for the presidency must sign the documents. As Syarhei Tsikhanouski was in custody at that moment, all the necessary documents were signed and filed by his wife. On the back of the situation, his wifeSvyatlanaTsikhanouskaya managed to get her initiative group registered instead.

Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya: No one wants bloodshed, but Lukashenka keeps warning against ‘maidan’

According to the CEC, 80.1% of voters supported Alyaksandr Lukashenka in the presidential election in August. Belarusian also officials claimed that Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya got only 10.12% of votes. However, on the back of announcing the results of the official exit polls, Belarusians started to take to the streets, saying that their votes were stolen.

In the wake of the brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters, Tsikhanouskaya initiated the creation of the Coordination Council (СС) as part of taking urgent measures to restore law and order in Belarus as well as to ensure the transfer of power in the country. Belarus’ Prosecutor General opened a criminal case over establishing the Council, naming it a ‘threat to national security’. The authorities believe the body aims at seizing power in Belarus.

Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya was forced out of the country; now she is staying in Vilnius. In October, Russia and Belarus included Tsikhanouskaya on the interstate wanted list under Article 361-3 of the Belarusian Criminal Code (‘calls for overthrowing the constitutional order’).

Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya tells about family, faith and politics in exclusive interview with Belsat TV