Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's Speech at the Polish Economic Forum

“Ladies and gentlemen, 

It is an honor for me to be addressing the present and future political and business leaders of Poland. 

Belarusians are grateful to have Poland as a friend and neighbor. You have been kind and generous to accept the many fleeing citizens of Belarus. Those people had to leave the country because of political repression. The numbers keep growing. These people want to go back, but they want to go back to a democratic country. 

In the language of economics, revolutions are very hard to sell. It is a difficult and costly attempt with an uncertain gain, with no precise timelines or budgets. Yet, Belarusians knew that not having freedom bears a higher cost. 

Since the rigged election on August 9, 2020, we have been peacefully fighting for our freedom. The Polish know what a peaceful fight is, the Solidarnocs movement is an excellent example of breaking free with non-violent means. The current Belarusian regime does not know what non-violent means are. We now know of 32 000 people detained and of 322 in prison for political reasons. We now know of the documented cases of torture and mistreatment. 

I can’t translate this revolution into the language of economics because we are talking about values: dignity, democracy, freedom, respect. I can’t translate the pain. It is something that one either feels or does not. I can just hope that you understand. 

We share a common past. We can start looking for a future where both of our countries are free and prosperous. You are the people who stand at the steering wheel of politics and the economy of future Poland. Your support gives a chance for free and democratic Belarus. Our demands to the current government are as follows: stop the police violence, release the political prisoners, and organize free and fair elections. You can help us in this fight with words of support on social media by asking your government officials to sanction Lukashenka’s regime, by providing aid to human rights defenders, victims of the repressions, journalists, striking workers by accepting the fleeing students and workers.

We call upon you, our Polish friends, to join us and support our peaceful fight for freedom.

Thank you!”.

14 April 2021 в 15:40