European Parliament address, Kalinowski Conference, visit to Sweden. Results of the work of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s Office on September 11-17, 2023

VISIT TO SWEDEN. On September 11-12, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was on a working visit to Stockholm. She made a speech at a rally in Stockholm, as well as addressed the OSCE and PACE delegations. During the visit, the Belarusian leader met with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Defense, the Speaker of the Riksdag, and the Friendship Group for democratic Belarus. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya also received the Anna Lindh award.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT. On September 12-13, the European Parliament hosted a number of events focused on Belarus.

On September 12, a debate on the situation in Belarus was held, in which Anatoli Liabedzka, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's Advisor for Constitutional Reform and Interparliamentary Cooperation, participated. During the debate, MEP Petras Auštravičius presented a draft resolution. MEPs emphasized the importance of cooperation with Belarus’ democratic forces and civil society, visa support for Belarusians within the country, and simplification of legalization of stay for Belarusians abroad.

On September 13, the Belarusian leader spoke at the European Parliament. She urged MEPs to support Belarusians' European aspirations, told stories of political prisoners, and demonstrated the new Belarusian passport. After Ms. Tsikhanouskaya's speech, there was a vote on the resolution developed by Petras Austravičius, with more than 450 MEPs supporting it. The adopted resolution recognizes the regime's involvement in the war, calls for an international investigation of Lukashenka's crimes, and supports professional and academic programs for Belarusians.

The exhibition “Belarusian Martyrology” by artist Xisha Aniolava opened at the European Parliament. The exhibition focuses on Belarusian political prisoners. The artist has created more than 600 paintings and will continue her work until all political prisoners are released.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya also met with the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, and discussed the formats of cooperation between democratic Belarus and the European Parliament. They agreed to hold a series of events on Belarus in December.

KALINOWSKI CONFERENCE. On September 13, the Kalinowski Conference was held in the European Parliament, organized by the Office of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in partnership with the European Dialogue Center. The conference discussed the prospects of Belarus' European integration, the issue of Belarusian political prisoners, and the Russian threat to Belarus’ independence. Representatives of the Office, the United Transitional Cabinet, Belarusian political, social, and human rights initiatives, and members of the European Parliament took part in the panel discussions. You can see the recording of the conference by following the link.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya delivered opening remarks. She called for practical steps to start close cooperation between democratic Belarus and the European Parliament, including a memorandum on cooperation, a specific strategy for solving the Belarusian crisis, and systemic assistance to Belarusians.

During the conference, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's Advisor for the Constitutional Reform and Interparliamentary Cooperation, Anatoli Liabedzka, proposed to the European Parliament and the European Union to establish a foundation to provide financial support to Belarusian political prisoners.

LEGALIZATION FOR BELARUSIANS ABROAD. Many Belarusians face legalization of stay issues in view of Lukashenka’s recent decree suspending passport renewal in diplomatic missions abroad. For such people, the People's Embassies of Belarus, in cooperation with the Office of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and the United Transitional Cabinet, launched the website, which gathers useful information on travel documents issued in foreign countries that Belarusians who live abroad may obtain.

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF DEMOCRACY. On September 15, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya addressed Belarusians on the International Day of Democracy: “Belarusians keep carefully nurturing the seeds of democracy within themselves every day. When they walk through downtown Minsk with Okean Elzy or Liavon Volski playing on their headphones. When they switch to the Belarusian language on social media and learn it through shows on YouTube. When they use VPN to read Nasha Niva and watch Belsat. Democracy is not only a great blessing but also a great responsibility. It makes everyone responsible for their decisions, choices, and actions. But I know for sure that we are prepared for it. And not in some distant future, but here and now. We have preserved our inner freedom, learned to value each other, and come to believe in ourselves. And now we know we have the foundation we need to build a new society.”

MINSK FORUM XXI. On September 12, the XXI Minsk Forum was held in Vilnius, where ways of keeping Belarus and Belarusian identity on the international agenda were discussed. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's Senior Political Advisor Alexander Dabravolski and Head of Public Outreach Daniil Garkavy took part in the Forum.

OFFICE VOLUNTEERS. On September 15, volunteers of the Office had an online call with Valery Kavaleuski, Deputy Head and Representative for Foreign Affairs in the United Transitional Cabinet. During the call, they discussed the new Belarusian passport and the prospects for its recognition, the stance of the Ukrainian authorities towards democratic Belarus, and the recent resolution of the European Parliament. An interview will soon be released on the Telegram channel.

EDUCATION. On September 13, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's Advisor on Education and Science, Tatiana Shchyttsova, took part in the discussion “Academia In Exile” in Berlin. During the discussion, scientists and students in exile highlighted the situation in their home countries and described their vision for a democratic future. See the recording of the discussion at the link.

PLANS FOR NEXT WEEK. On September 18-19, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will take part in a number of events within the framework of the UN General Assembly in New York, which will bring together the leaders of almost all nations. Ms. Tsikhanouskaya is expected to meet with a number of foreign ministers and political leaders and take part in a discussion on Belarus’ sovereignty and independence organized by the EU Delegation to the UN. 

MEDIA. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was interviewed by Delfi (Lithuania). She also published op-eds in POLITICO (International) and Dagens Nyheter (Sweden).

17 September 2023 в 19:40