Event Recap

New Atlanticist

Dec 7, 2020

Belarusian opposition leader’s message to the West: ‘Stay with us and we will win’

By David A. Wemer

Explicit support from Western governments for the Belarusian people and stronger pressure on Lukashenka and his allies will help oust the regime and allow for new elections, Tsikhanouskaya said. “Stay with us and we will win.”

Belarus Civil Society

The Atlantic Council hosted a conversation with Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on December 7, 2020.

Belarus has been rocked by mass protests since its longtime authoritarian leader, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, claimed victory in the country’s rigged August 9 presidential election. After being forced to flee the country due to threats to her family, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya—widely recognized by the international community as the real winner of the election—has led the Belarusian opposition movement while conducting an international campaign to rally support for the Belarusian people in their peaceful protests to remove Lukashenka from power. With firm backing from Russian President Vladimir Putin and an inability to keep protesters from filling the streets each week, Lukashenka and his security forces have illegally detained, beaten, and tortured Belarusians for demonstrating against his government. Tsikhanouskaya has fought for the advancement of self-determination, human rights, and freedom in Belarus, and is the recipient of the European Union’s Sakharov Prize, the bloc’s top human rights award. Today, Tsikhanouskaya continues to lead the Coordination Council for the Transfer of Power, recognized by EU lawmakers as the legitimate representative of the Belarusian people.

This live event was part of the Atlantic Council’s #ACFrontPage event series, an ideas platform spotlighting global leaders who are championing constructive solutions to global challenges. This event featuring Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was hosted by the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.

An #ACFrontPage Event

Atlantic Council Front Page is our premier live ideas platform for global leaders to discuss the defining challenges of our time. #ACFrontPage is a high-level event series featuring top newsmakers across multiple digital platforms. Harnessing the convening power and expertise of the Council’s sixteen programs and centers, #ACFrontPage leverages the Council’s capabilities in social media, press, and digital outreach to spotlight the world’s most prominent leaders and the most compelling ideas across sectors and engage new audiences eager for nonpartisan and constructive solutions to current global challenges. This widely promoted program features the Council’s most important guests and content serving as the highlight of our programming.


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The Eurasia Center’s mission is to promote policies that strengthen stability, democratic values, and prosperity in Eurasia, from Eastern Europe in the West to the Caucasus, Russia, and Central Asia in the East.