August 9, 2021 marks one year since 2020’s highly fraudulent presidential elections in Belarus. To support aspirations for freedom and democracy of Belarusian people who have been peacefully protesting against the country’s authoritarian regime, the Community of Democracies hosted a number of events to gain a better perspective on the situation and express solidarity with Belarusians.
In this interview for CoD series ‘Women Leading in Crises’, leader of democratic Belarus, Sviatlana Tsihanouskaya speaks of the dramatic and ongoing struggle for democracy in Belarus.
In a discussion held on February 9, 2020, the Secretary General of the Community of Democracies, Thomas E. Garrett, spoke to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and her Senior Advisor, Franak Viačorka on the current situation in Belarus and the way forward.
‘Belarusians have demonstrated courage, strong will, and dedication. No words can fully describe what they have experienced in these six months,’ highlighted Tsikhanouskaya in her keynote speech at the event.
Franak Viačorka provided a brief outline of some practical support mechanisms to the people of Belarus. He pointed to young people as the primary driving force behind the protests, saying youth served as an inspiration for others to join the protest, spread the word, and raise awareness through social media.
The protests in Belarus are driven by the young generation. The CoD event Youth for Democratic Change featured presentations by young Belarusian democracy activists,Vika Andrukovič and Daniła Łaŭretski as well as interventions from CoD Youth Leads from Haiti, Portugal, Romania, and South Africa who addressed the presentations and also shared experiences from their countries on youth activism and political participation.
‘Our nation has never been as united as now’– highlighted Vika Andrukovič in her speech. Daniła Łaŭretski outlined the historical context of Belarusians’ fight for freedom and independence and spoke to significant role of young people in driving democracy movement in Belarus.