Belarusian opposition figure Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who officially came in second in the recent presidential election, and has fled to Lithuania due to threat of being detained in her home country, has formed a ‘coordination council’ to facilitate the transfer of power from long-term dictator and six term President Alexander Lukashenko.
Widespread protests across the country continue, leading to at least one death when security forces arrested thousands; although, many have been released due to international pressure.
“I, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, am initiating creation of the Coordination Council for transfer of power. This council can be joined by civic society members, respected and famous Belarusians and true professionals of their trades,” she said in a statement issued by her campaign staff, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
She added that she entrusted her authorized representative Olga Kovalkova and lawyer Maxim Znak with collecting applications to join the council from organizations and citizen associations.
Tikhnovskaya thanked those who backed her and is ready to help with talks with the current authorities. “I ask you to unite in the coordination council. We desperately need your help and experience. We need your connections, contacts, expert advice and support. This coordination council should be joined by everyone interested in dialogue and peaceful transfer of power – working groups, parties, trade unions and other organizations of the civic society,” she added.
Yesterday Tikhanovskaya called for protests ‘in all cities’ and an end to the violent crackdown against demonstrators, reported RFERL.
Lukashenko is reported to have reached out to Russian President Vladimir Putin for help. Many in the Russian government would like to see Lukashenko gone, as he has resisted becoming another neighboring territory controlled by the Kremlin. However Putin is loath to allow a ‘color revolution’ in the former Soviet republic and possible loss of influence to the West, or worse, a spillover of the unrest inside the Russian Federation.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko discussed the protests shaking his country with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday, Belarusian state news agency Belta reported, reported The Moscow Times.
“The presidents discussed the situation that is unfolding inside and around Belarus,” Belta reported, citing Lukashenko’s press service.
“The aggression against Belarus is developing. We need to contact Putin, the president of Russia, so that I can talk with him now,” Lukashenko said in a meeting with government officials.
“Because this is already a threat not only to Belarus.”
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