In Belarus, “women’s revolution” shakes President Lukashenko

Until a few months ago, she was just a housewife. A mother of no history, modest and withdrawn, living in the shadow of a husband who has become the star of social media, a talkative and politicized man, ready to do battle with power.

But this Sunday, July 26, at nightfall, in front of a crowd of several thousand people in Gomel, a small town in Belarus, it is she, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who is acclaimed by rocking the lights of the phones on the air of Estaca, this Catalan song that the Spaniards sang to free themselves from Franco. The one that the Poles of Solidarnosc also hummed before bringing down the communist regime.

That night, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, 37, confirmed her status as the face of an opposition determined to end the reign of Alexander Lukashenko, the first and only President of Belarus since the collapse of the Soviet Empire. ” I’m not scared anymore “, she told the assembly.

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In Minsk, the capital, as in the Belarusian province where the 30-year-old is campaigning for the presidential election on August 9, the same scene is repeated, subjugating political scientists who believe they are seeing the birth of a “women’s revolution”. A revolution “of” women because Svetlana is not alone. At his side, Veronika Tsepkalo and Maria Kolesnikova. All three speak on behalf of their man.

Presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (center), in Minsk (Belarus) on July 19.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the first, launched her candidacy to replace her husband, Sergei Tikhanovski, ultra-popular YouTuber, who had probed in the Belarusian campaigns the anger of the common people against the excesses of Lukashenko and his disastrous management of the Covid-19 before d ‘be detained at the end of May.

The second, Veronika Tsepkalo, is the wife of Valery Tsepkalo, a candidate rejected by the electoral commission on July 14, who has since fled Belarus with her children. The third, Maria Kolesnikova, is campaign manager for Viktor Babariko, a former banker placed behind bars for alleged tax abuses.

A new force

Thinking that the country would despise, like him, a woman who does not even know how to hold a weapon, Lukashenko authorized the candidacy of Tikhanovskaya, refusing that of all the other candidates considered “serious”. No one imagined then that the blogger’s wife would run a real campaign. The thirty-something, apolitical, alone and scared, knew that the authorities could withdraw custody of her two children at the slightest pretext.

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