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Tikhanovskaya says protests in Belarus were never directed against Russia

She urged Russians not to trust media reports and politicians that can harm relations between the peoples of both countries
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya Natalia Fedosenko/TASS
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya
© Natalia Fedosenko/TASS

VILNIUS, September 9. /TASS/. The protest movement in Belarus has never been directed against Russia, Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya who is now in Lithuania said.

"That was not the fight against Russia at any stage, and I am certain it will not be such," Tikhanovskaya stressed in her address to Russia posted on her Telegram channel on Wednesday.

She urged Russians not to trust media reports and politicians that can harm relations between the peoples of both countries. "Do not trust propaganda media and politicians, do not let them damage relations between our peoples," Tikhanovskaya said.

According to the opposition politician, "the peoples of Russia and Belarus have always been good neighbors and close friends," and that will be the case in the future. She stressed that Belarusians sought friendly relations with all neighbors, while maintaining the sovereignty of their own country. Tikhanovskaya thanked those Russians "who support the Belarusian people’s struggle for freedom."

The former presidential candidate who is now in Vilnius posted a special five-minute address "To Russia" for the first time. Prior to that, she communicated via video conference with members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, some members of the UN Security Council and recorded an address to the European Council.

Belarus held its presidential election on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission’s data, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won 80.10% of the vote, whereas Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was considered to be his key rival, garnered 10.12% of the ballot. Subsequently, she refused to recognize the outcome of the polls. After the results of exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests flared up in downtown Minsk and other cities. In the early days, they were accompanied by clashes between protesters and police. The authorities call for an end to illegal rallies, while the Coordination Council set up by the opposition demands more protests.