Belarus Freedom Forum asks the US government to recognize Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of the democratic forces of Belarus and the evident winner of the contested August 2020 presidential election in Belarus, as the official representative of the people of Belarus.
On February 24, 2022, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya announced that “she assumes the responsibilities of defending the sovereignty and interests of Belarus” as Lukashenka’s regime unlawfully traded in the independence of Belarus to Russia and entangled Belarus in the criminal act of war on the side of the Russian aggressor. The Belarusian communities worldwide support Sviatlana Tshikhanouskaya in her decision and see her as the only legitimate representative of the people of Belarus.
Lukashenka has lost his legitimacy since the 2020 presidential election and does not represent the Belarusian people. The following actions of the Lukashenka regime further alienated the Belarusians and the international community. Lukashenka unlawfully allowed Russia to use the territory of Belarus, its infrastructures, and the troops to attack Ukraine, turning Belarus into an aggressor state. The Lukashenka regime undermined international norms and laws by orchestrating the migrant crisis on the EU-Belarus border and hijacking the Ryanair flight to kidnap an independent journalist. Lukashenka’s grip on power is only secured by Russian monetary and political support and ruthless repressions unleashed by Belarusian security forces, putting tens of thousands in prisons, driving hundreds of thousands into exile, and destroying independent media and NGOs.
The Belarusian people denounce the illegitimate ruler Lukashenka for stealing the election, using violence against Belarusian people, waging war, undermining the sovereignty and independence of Belarus, and turning Belarus into a pariah state and a protectorate of Russia.
We, the Belarusians in the U.S., applaud the decision of the legitimate winner of the August 2020 presidential election and the pro-democracy leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to assume the responsibility of a defender of the sovereignty and independence of Belarus. We ask the U.S. government to officially recognize Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.