Crimea came under the jurisdiction of Russia in violation of international laws, but the question of the peninsula’s membership is complex. This position was expressed by Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a former rival of the current president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, in an interview with the Latvian edition of LRT. According to her, the majority of Belarusians hold the border view that the “de jure” Crimea belongs to Ukraine, but the “de facto” has already become Russian territory. That’s how she preferred to answer a question about the peninsula during the election campaign. “We understand that there are international laws,” she said.
However, Tikhanovskaya believes that Belarusians do not need to and do not have to take a principled position on this issue, especially now that they are more concerned with their own internal political crisis. “The situation with Crimea is very complicated, and Belarusians have different views on this issue and we would not like this issue to somehow divide us,” the former presidential candidate explained. According to The Atlantic Council analyst Franak Vjachorka, she is afraid of harming the Belarusian protest and calling associations with the Ukrainian Euromaidan, as Lukashenko calls her political orientation “pro-Western, pro-Polish, pro-American”. His ex-rival wants to distance himself from this reputation in order to keep the maximum number of supporters at home.
On August 31, the opposition of Belarus, led by Tikhanovskaya’s ally and former head of the campaign headquarters of ex-banker Viktor Babariko Maria Kolesnikova, announced that they were creating a new political party that would work together with the Coordinating Council of the Opposition, which is a civil association. Kolesnikova admitted that she is ready to become the new leader of the protest in the country.
Belarusians have been protesting for the fourth week. The main demands of the disgruntled are the resignation of the current leadership of the country, holding new elections, and bringing to justice those who brutally dispersed the first rallies and mocked thousands of prisoners. The current head of state Alexander Lukashenko says that the elections were held in compliance with the law, people threw themselves at riot police, and protests were organized and paid for by third countries.