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Niinistö meets Belarus opposition leader Tikhanovskaya

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has been living in exile in Lithuania since last summer's disputed election.

Svjatlana Tsihanouskaja pitää tiedotustilaisuutta vaaleassa jakussa ja mustassa puserossa. Taustalla on kangas, jossa komeilevat Baltic News Servicen tunnukset.
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya at a press conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, last August. Image: EPA

Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya will meet with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö in Helsinki on Tuesday.

Tikhanovskaya will speak at a discussion event on Belarus at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA), which will be streamed live beginning at 1:15 pm local time on Wednesday. Also speaking at the event will be FIIA Director Mika Aaltola and MP Ilkka Kanerva, former president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

On Wednesday, she is to meet with Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) and Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green).

Marin and Tikhanovskaya were both recently included in Time magazine's list of top emerging leaders as well as the BBC list of the world’s most influential women.

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

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

"The fraudulent election and widespread police violence triggered a deep political crisis in the country and sparked unprecedented peaceful mass protests, which have continued to this day," FIIA notes.

In December, the European Parliament awarded Tikhanovskaya the Sakharov human rights prize.

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