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Tsikhanouskaya Says 'Illegitimate' Leader Lukashenka's Intimidation Tactics Losing Effect

Rogue Valley

Putin = War Criminal
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Apr 18, 2013
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Tsikhanouskaya Says 'Illegitimate' Leader Lukashenka's Intimidation Tactics Losing Effect


Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the self-exiled former presidential candidate who has become an unlikely leader of the Belarusian opposition, says the intimidation tactics of authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka are only hardening the resolve of the tens of thousands protesting against the contentious results from last month's election that the West has called falsified. Speaking in an interview with Current Time on September 14 as the Belarusian president met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Tsikhanouskaya called Lukashenka an "illegitimate" leader who has no authority to make agreements on behalf of the country. Current Time is a Russian-language network led by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA. The Belarusian people have called on Lukashenka to step down and hold free and fair elections, claiming the vote was rigged in his favor. On September 13, almost 800 demonstrators were detained in Belarus during rallies denouncing the election results.

Tsikhanouskaya, who claims to have won 60 to 70 percent of the vote, said the mass arrests on September 13 were aimed at showing the Kremlin before the talks that Lukashenka was still in control of the situation at home. "The mass show of force by sending so many riot police to the scene of the protests was likely organized to frighten people so that they would not demonstrate. But it doesn't work anymore. People have the intention, people have the desire to live in a new Belarus without someone usurping [power]. Russia, Belarus's most important economic and strategic partner, has been closely watching the upheaval. Kremlin planners are wary of a repeat of what happened in Ukraine in 2014 when mass protests led to the ouster of the pro-Russian president there. Underscoring the Kremlin's potential involvement in the crisis, Lukashenka and Putin have held at least five phone calls since the election, while the September 14 meeting, where Russia agreed to a $1.5 billion loan to Minsk in a gesture of support for the beleaguered Belarusian leader, was their first face-to-face encounter since the vote. Putin gave few details about the new loan, but he also signaled support for Lukashenka in other ways and said defense cooperation would continue.

With a new $1.5 billion "loan", Putin ensures that Lukashenka/Belarus are financially indebted to Moscow.

However, Lukashenka does not have the legal right to agree to such a loan. He is not the rightful president of Belarus.

US sanctions against officials of the illegal Lukashenka regime are forming....

Related: U.S. Senators Introduce Resolution Calling For Sanctions Over 'Unconscionable' Crackdown In Belarus
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