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29 Aug, 2020 13:06

Putin recognizes Belarusian election as legitimate, as Tikhanovskaya says Russia could mediate transition from Lukashenko

Putin recognizes Belarusian election as legitimate, as Tikhanovskaya says Russia could mediate transition from Lukashenko

Former Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, now exiled in Lithuania, believes Russia could be the mediator in discussions between President Alexander Lukashenko and the opposition about the country’s future.

However, her view is based on the assumption that Lukashenko is interested in participating in a transition. They come after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the contested Belarusian election results as legitimate.

Speaking to Euronews, Tikhanovskaya emphasized that the primary responsibility for the future of Belarus lies with the Belarusian people, but did not rule out foreign help. “If we need international mediation in the negotiations, we, of course, see Russia as one of the participants in this process,” she explained. “We are friends with Russia.”

In the past few weeks, in the face of calls from Western voices for Belarus to abandon Moscow, Tikhanovskaya has made it clear she’s not anti-Russian. Speaking to the European Parliament, she stressed that the so-called “peaceful revolution” is “neither pro-Russian nor anti-Russian,” and “neither anti-European Union nor pro-European Union.”

Speaking to the TV channel Russia 1, Putin confirmed that the Kremlin recognizes the Belarusian election result as legitimate, despite widespread international criticism that the vote was falsified, including in Russia itself.

Belarus’s political turmoil began on August 9, when the country held presidential elections. Officially, incumbent Lukashenko received 80.10 percent of the vote, with opposition candidate Tikhanovskaya receiving just 10.12 percent. Following the release of exit polls, thousands of Belarusians took to the streets, where they were met by the police with tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets.

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