MOSCOW, October 22. /TASS/. Awarding of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the Belarusian opposition is yet another example of the European Parliament’s political manipulation and an element of regime change scenario in Belarus, says Russian State Duma (parliament's lower house) Committee on Foreign Affairs Head Leonid Slutsky.
"The Sakharov Prize becomes more and more politicized. The European Parliament has already turned it into an instrument of its manipulations many times. This year has not become an exception," the lawmaker noted.
According to him, awarding the prize to Belarusian ex-presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and her associates "is unfortunately an element of a Venezuela scenario" of regime change in Belarus. Slutsky recalled that the Venezuelan opposition had also been awarded a Sakharov Prize in 2017.
"It is doubly regrettable that the name of our great compatriot has been also written down in the chronicles of the collective West’s meddling in internal affairs of sovereign states," the senior lawmaker said.
On Thursday, European Parliament head David Sassoli announced that the 2020 Sakharov Prize goes to the Belarusian opposition, represented by the Coordination Council.
The Prize for Freedom of Thought was established by the European Parliament in 1988 in honor of Andrei Sakharov, the famous soviet dissident. It is awarded to people, who made "an exceptional contribution to the fight for human rights across the globe."
In different years, the prize was awarded to the Pussy Riot punk group, former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, Russian ex-governor Boris Nemtsov and Belarusian opposition figure Ales Belyatsky. In 2019, the prize was bestowed on pro-Ukrainian activist Oleg Sentsov, sentenced in Russia for terrorism.