In the war in Ukraine, Belarus is clearly on Russia's side - at least when ruler Lukashenko has his way. But the vast majority in the country is not on a war course, says opposition leader Tichanovskaya.
Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya anticipates strong opposition to her country's possible full participation in Russia's war against Ukraine. "Our partisan movement will sabotage it. Orders will be refused. Or the Belarusian soldiers will surrender there immediately," said the politician. Two years after the rigged presidential election in Belarus, she said that Russia, with its support for ruler Alexander Lukashenko, was probably already eyeing the ex-Soviet republic as a "bridgehead" for an attack.
In the election on August 9, 2020, the authoritarian ruler Lukashenko was again proclaimed the winner of the election, triggering unprecedented protests in Belarus. Many see Tichanovskaya as the winner of the election. Due to massive state repression, there are now almost no more major demonstrations in the ex-Soviet republic.
"Lukashenko is a collaborator. He dragged Belarus into this war and now he's doing whatever is asked of him to keep Russia in power," Tikhanovskaya said ahead of the second anniversary of the disputed presidential election. Today it is clear that the Kremlin probably already had war plans back then and therefore left Lukashenko in power. In her exile in Vilnius, the politician criticized that he was leaving Belarusian territory so that Russian forces could attack Ukraine from there.
"But there were also acts of sabotage against the important supply routes at the beginning of the war. Rail partisans slowed down military transport; and information was given to the Ukrainian armed forces about the bases from which Russian missiles were being fired." A battalion of Belarusian fighters was also formed in Ukraine against the Russian invasion.
Despite the high pressure of expectations from the Kremlin, Lukashenko has still not managed to get the country on course for war, said Tichanovskaya. "86 percent of the people in Belarus are against the war. We don't have any anti-Ukrainian sentiment." At the same time, she complained about "massive repression". "Anyone who speaks out openly against the war is treated like an opponent of the regime." The situation of political prisoners, including her husband Sergei Tichanowski, in the country is devastating, said the mother of two.