While global attention has focused on Putin’s war of aggression in Ukraine and Hamas’ savage attack on Israel, other authoritarians go about their business with less notice. In Belarus, dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka continues to stifle free speech, imprison opposition leaders, and use violence as a means of intimidation. Lukashenka and his regime are also complicit in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The Belarusian dictator not only fosters a close relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin but has also permitted the deployment of Russian troops and materiel on Belarusian soil, facilitated the stationing of Wagner troops in Belarus, and joined Russia in the forced deportation of Ukrainian children.

Against this bleak backdrop, the Belarusian democratic movement has continued to work toward a free, secure, and stable Belarus. Led by national leader of Belarus Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, opposition forces advocate for a Belarusian society built on freedom, rule of law, and sovereignty. It is crucial for the United States and its allies to support Belarusian democratic leadership while Lukashenka continues to threaten international security through repression at home and active support for Russia against Ukraine.

How is the Belarusian democratic movement working to both counter Lukashenka’s violent regime today and shape the framework for a free Belarus? What role can the United States and the West play in supporting Belarusian leaders fighting for a secure and democratic future for the people of Belarus?

The Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center is joined by the national leader of Belarus Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, leader of the United Transitional Cabinet for the transfer of power, and a panel of experts to discuss US support for the people of Belarus and the dangers the Lukashenka regime poses to European and transatlantic security and stability.

Keynote remarks

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya
National Leader of Belarus

Speakers

Ambassador John Herbst
Senior Director, Eurasia Center
Atlantic Council

Christopher Smith
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Eastern Europe and Policy and Regional Affairs, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
US Department of State

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya
National Leader of Belarus

Franak Viačorka
Nonresident Fellow, Eurasia Center
Atlantic Council;
Advisor to National Leader of Belarus Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya

Moderator

The Eurasia Center’s mission is to enhance transatlantic cooperation in promoting 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.

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