Opinion | No One in Europe Is Secure From My Nation’s Dictator

“What would you do for love? The person I really like was attempting to topple a dictator. After which he went to jail for it. So I did what any loyal spouse would do. I ran in his place. I’ve no real interest in politics. My dream is simply to be mom and an awesome spouse. And now I’m main a revolution towards Europe’s final dictator.” [MUSIC PLAYING] ”(CHANTING) Sveta! Sveta!” [GUNFIRE] “My title is Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. And I’m from Belarus. We’re run by a dictator, Alexander Lukashenko. He’s oppressive tyrant who has been in energy for 26 years.” Europe’s closest equal to North Korea. Accused of human rights abuses, stifling dissent, and working sham elections. “Lots of people who disagree with him simply disappeared.” The president had ordered his assassination. DW Information has spoken with a person who says that he was a member of the demise squads. “When COVID got here, he requested, ‘Do you see this COVID round? I don’t see it. So it doesn’t exist.’” Belarus has certainly one of Europe’s highest per capita an infection charges. “1000’s of individuals died due to it.” – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] “Our president doesn’t respect his individuals in any respect. My husband went across the nation simply speaking to common individuals, asking how they had been dwelling.” – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] “He was touched by bizarre individuals who didn’t have good circumstances for working.” – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] “And it turned so essential for him.” – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] “He was exhibiting all these movies on his YouTube channel, ‘A Nation for Life.’ His subscribers began to ask him to run for presidency as a result of he knew all the issues from inside.” – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] “I used to be sitting at house with my youngsters. And I used to be worrying about him. Authorities knew that he will probably be a severe opponent for Mr. Lukashenko. And he was jailed. So I collected paperwork for myself and introduced these paperwork to Election Fee. At that second, I didn’t take into consideration nation. Possibly it sounds fallacious. However, at very that second, I used to be pondering solely about my husband, to help him. However I used to be positive that they know who I used to be. And they’re going to by no means, by no means enable me to be registered. And it was nice shock after they did. I’m positive that they did this simply to chuckle at me. They had been positive that folks won’t ever vote for a lady, for unknown particular person, for housewife. We went round Belarus. I’ve by no means talked to such quantity of individuals. I used to be afraid that I’ll overlook all of the phrases. I understood how harmful, in our nation, to run for presidency since you’re like a bug in entrance of tractor.” A whole bunch of opposition activists have reportedly been arrested, amongst them the president’s predominant challengers. “I understood that I’m not prepared to guide the nation as a result of I’m not economist. I’m not a politician. So I promised that I will probably be president not more than half a 12 months, simply to prepare new elections, that’s it.” [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] “Throughout all this election marketing campaign, I had loads of moments once I wished to step away as a result of I used to be frightened.” – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] “I obtained phone name from unknown one who informed me that, if I proceed to run this marketing campaign, I will probably be jailed and my youngsters will probably be put in orphanage. And the subsequent metropolis, it was Minsk. About 60,000 individuals got here. And, at that very second, I understood that I can’t step away.” ”(CHANTING) Sveta! Sveta! Sveta! Sveta! Sveta!” [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] “So many individuals simply got here to indicate that they’re with me. They’re drained to reside beneath stress. They don’t need this dictator anymore. We had loads of observers at each polling station. And we noticed that almost all voted with me. Until the top, there was a tiny hope that they’ll depend actually. However it was so tiny that it simply disappeared.” NARRATOR: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] “Official end result was 80% for Mr. Lukashenko and 10% for me. He stole all of the individuals’s voices. 100,000 of Belarusian individuals went out for peaceable demonstrations.” [GUNFIRE] “Police simply was going round and beating and beated and beated all of them. Individuals had been simply overwhelmed so laborious. 1000’s have been imprisoned, overwhelmed, and tortured.” NARRATOR: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] “This footage was recorded by a Belarusian journalist who was overwhelmed on the streets after which turned a affected person on this hospital in Minsk. The ward is stuffed with so many various individuals with the very same accidents and really related tales.” – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] “And a few of these sufferers weren’t even protesters. One affected person was simply going to purchase vinegar at his native store. Even worse, some protesters stated they had been raped.” – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] “That is what Lukashenko does to his personal individuals.” [MUSIC PLAYING] “After the elections, I needed to go away Belarus.” Belarusian opposition chief has been filmed talking beneath duress. Tikhanovskaya was pressured to flee the nation. “At that second, I had to consider household, about husband. I used to be able to step away as a result of it was tough to simply accept this violence. So I actually was prepared to surrender. Solely, Belarusian individuals didn’t give me probability to step away. I turned like an emblem of freedom.” ”(CHANTING) Sveta! Sveta! Sveta!” “I began to fulfill with the leaders of various international locations.” “Honorable members of the European Parliament—” “It is vitally essential that folks around the globe are speaking about us.” “We want you all power and persistence within the battle for democracy.” “Authorities had been positive that such violence will settle down individuals. However vice versa occurred.” [? [CROWDS CHANTING] ?] – [CHANTING IN RUSSIAN] “There have been individuals of various professions, of various ages.” – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] – [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] “Outdated individuals, normally, is taken into account to be citizens of Mr. Lukashenko. However, ultimately, they understood. Even these individuals who had been nonetheless apolitical— staff who work in factories, they’re normally apolitical— they began strikes.” – [PROTESTING IN RUSSIAN] “It’s unbelievable for Belarus. I all the time thought of myself to be a weak lady. However when my destiny laughed at me, when it put me in such obstacles that I needed to search for the power, perhaps this power already was inside me. You realize, the identical as me, I’m positive each particular person has power in himself or herself. They simply didn’t know they’ve this power as a result of we had been so frightened by one particular person. However now they wakened. This revolution just isn’t over. To the worldwide neighborhood, we’d like new and honest elections. They are often run by the OSCE. And we’d like an investigation into the human rights abuses to my individuals who have been on the streets for weeks.” [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] “Our revolution just isn’t geopolitical. It’s not a pro-Russian revolution nor [? pro-European-Union ?] revolution. It’s a democratic revolution. And I would like my husband again.” [MUSIC PLAYING]

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