MOSCOW, July 26./TASS/. The activity of Belarusian opposition figurehead Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is fully financed by the West, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in an interview published on the YouTube channel of Ukrainian vlogger Anatoly Shariy on Monday.
The diplomat emphasized the differences in the West’s attitude towards Tikhanovskaya and towards Anatoly Shariy. "There was a question, and maybe Shariy will answer it - has the West ever offered Anatoly himself, for example, to meet at the Department of State, or has he been invited by the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia? Have any of the Baltic countries given him the chance to broadcast on their platforms?" Zakharova asked. "Has financing been offered [to Shariy], by the way? Since Tikhanovskaya, as we understand, is being financed from A to Z. This is lodging, flights and corresponding infrastructure - all this must be paid for," the Russian diplomat said.
Although Tikhanovskaya is not a professional politician and political analyst, her political activity attracts close attention from Western countries. "Such attention to Tikhanovskaya, such huge financing, I can’t even imagine how much is spent on these news conferences, talks. There has just been the Department of State, can you imagine his? All this amid the coronavirus restrictions and so on. Her travel, tours, pseudo-official events have not literally stopped for even a month," Zakharova added.
According to the diplomat, the West has even granted ‘a special status’ to Tikhanovskaya. "She is received by the heads of state, heads of government. She is even being received at the official and high levels at international organizations, but not as a representative of an NGO or the civil society, but in a certain status invented for her by the West," Zakharova pointed out. "In some countries they have stopped short of recognizing her as head of state, in other countries she is seen as a political leader and mouthpiece of the aspirations of all of Belarus," she stressed. The West did nothing of the kind in respect to blogger Shariy, although he is "a famous opposition activist of Ukraine."
"Why don’t the Western advocates of human rights, democracy, liberalism, freedom of opinion, freedom of peace consider it necessary to somehow draw attention to a well-known Ukrainian oppositionist?" she asked. "He too could be given attention, he could also be invited to the Department of State. I think that Mr [US Secretary of State Antony] Blinken could find a couple of minutes to exchange views about Ukraine’s future with him, while [Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria] Nuland, for example, could discuss with him in-depth how and where to lead Ukraine," Zakharova summed up.
Tikhanovskaya arrived in the United States on July 18. Last week, she met with Victoria Nuland and Counselor of the United States Department of State Derek Chollet in Washington. According to a statement released by the Department of State, Secretary of State Antony Blinken "joined the group for a part of the meeting." On Sunday, Tikhanovskaya arrived in New York.
Nationwide demonstrations engulfed Belarus following the August 9, 2020 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania.