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Belarus opposition figure Tikhanovskaya calls on Finland to solve crisis

Belarus has detained more than 300 political prisoners.

Tsihanouskaja puhuu mikrofoniin lähikuvassa.
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya challenged Alexander Lukashenko for the presidency after the regime jailed her husband. Image: AOP

Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya told Yle that Finland could play a pivotal role in solving the political crisis in Belarus.

"Finland is a mighty country. Many countries underestimate their power and influence. Finland is a neutral state with a unique opportunity to help us find a solution," she told Yle.

Tikhanovskaya has repeatedly appealed to the international community since going into exile in Lithuania.

"Finland could take initiative and call for roundtable talks between the regime, Russia and civil society in Belarus," she said, noting that a top summit would be an important step in solving the crisis.

Tikhanovskaya also appealed to Finland to help when she visited Helsinki in March.

"While you think and wait our people continue suffering in prison," she said.

Tikhanovskaya was the main opposition candidate challenging incumbent Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus' presidential election last August.

The election was declared fraudulent by Western countries, which did not recognise the results. Tikhanovskaya was forced to go into exile in Lithuania after receiving threats following the disputed vote.

As of 9 May, Belarus had imprisoned 371 political prisoners, according to human rights group Viasna.

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