Tsikhanouskaya in Berlin: I think majority would give Lukashenka opportunity to leave

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

Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya held a press briefing for German and international media. Answers to the main questions are published by the Telegram channel of Tsikhanouskaya.

How can you be sure people don’t get tired given that there is no clear end to the crisis yet? What can you say about young people leaving the country?

Tsikhanouskaya: Young people are proud to make history. They are not going to leave. I cannot give any guarantees, but I am confident that they will fight for a peaceful future. They are brave and strong.

Can you guarantee that Putin will not repeat the 2014 scenario?

Tsikhanouskaya: I cannot be sure of anything in this case. However, I am calling for dialogue. This is the 21st century, we are civilized people. There is no need for war and blood. Sitting down and talking is much easier. The protest is not controlled from abroad. Not controlled from Russia. A couple of months ago, Lukashenka accused my husband and other people of being coordinated by Russia. Now he has changed his mind and blames Europe.

The reason is that Lukashenka does not understand his people. Doesn’t want to hear their will. If Lukashenka really wants to know who to blame, he should look in the mirror.

What will happen to Lukashenka? Will he just leave, will be convicted or are there other options?

Tsikhanouskaya: I have two views on this. As a person and as a national leader. I cannot forgive him as a person. However, as a national leader, I must make a decision that will affect the history of the country. There are different opinions on this matter. Many want to have him tried. But I think most will just let him go if he leaves us alone. I think the issue requires dialogue.

What is your role and how do you see your own political future?

Tsikhanouskaya: I insist on my transitional role. I’m not sure I see a political future for myself (laughs). I didn’t want this role for myself. I don’t think I will stay in politics after the new elections. Nevertheless, it’s too difficult for me. However, if everything is in order in the country and you don’t need to fear for yourself and your loved ones every day, it’s probably easier to be a politician. I don’t know, I’ve never been one (laughs).

Do you think strikes are still possible or have they already exhausted themselves?

Tsikhanouskaya: Of course they are possible. Immediately after the elections, the workers took to the streets from their factories and the regime got scared. Lukashenka got scared. Because of this, he began to put pressure on the workers, and, of course, people were afraid of reprisals against them and their families. But I know that the workers did not forgive the violence after the elections, and the strikes just changed. Now these are Italian strikes and self-organized groups in the workplace. Perhaps they are not so visible, but last week I spoke with the workers and I know for sure: their protest continues.

On October 6 Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as with German deputies. On October 7, Tsikhanouskaya is scheduled to meet with German Foreign Minister Heiko Mas.

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