Stronger resistance against President Alexander Lukashenko is needed not only for her oppressed compatriots, but also for the security of the EU itself, said opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya in the European Parliament. Anyone who does not want to offend Lukashenko, she says, only encourages him. Tyrants thrive on ‘appeasement’, she argues, referring to the initially indulgent treatment of Adolf Hitler.
If the regime stops directing thousands of asylum seekers to the EU border, Lukashenko will find another weapon, Tikhanovskaya told MEPs. “A greater flow of smuggling drugs and other bans, where? A military provocation? A disaster at a nuclear power plant near the EU’s external border? The regime has already made those threats itself.”
Tikhanovskaya took on Lukashenko in the 2020 presidential election, who according to Brussels stole the victory and crushed the ensuing mass protests. She fled her country and has been in exile ever since. The 39-year-old opposition leader received the European Parliament’s human rights award last year and is allowed to speak there regularly.