Belarus’ government-in-exile – Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya | DW Documentary

From homemaker to presidential candidate, in Belarus. In this documentary, Turkish journalist Can Dündar meets Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a woman who unexpectedly finds herself fighting for her country’s freedom, from exile.

In President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey, Can Dündar has been regarded as ‘Public Enemy No. 1’ ever since he exposed illegal arms shipments by the Turkish government to Syria back in 2015. Erdoğan has personally described the journalist as a terrorist and called for him to be locked up for life. As his trial got underway, Can Dündar survived an assassination attempt and fled to Germany. Since then, he’s been working to defend his homeland against Ankara’s lies and speak out in favor of truth and freedom.

Dündar meets a woman with a mission not of her choosing. In 2020, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s husband Sergej advanced from blogger to presidential candidate against his country’s authoritarian leader, Alexander Lukashenko. But like all opponents deemed potentially dangerous, he was jailed. In a spontaneous move, his wife Sviatlana submitted her own candidacy for the post – and was permitted to run. Initially, Lukashenko didn’t see her as a threat – but Tsikhanouskaya and her team captured the hearts of the people and her popularity levels soared.

When election day came and Lukashenko claimed victory with an alleged 80 percent of the vote, hundreds of thousands of people cried fraud and took to the streets in protest. Tsikhanouskaya received death threats and was forced into exile.

But her fight against Lukashenko continues – from Lithuania Tsikhanouskaya has been received by world leaders and showered with awards. Can Dündar accompanies her on her travels and experiences her struggle to secure freedom for political prisoners, including her husband Sergej. Dündar experiences a woman who, to this day, doesn’t feel totally at ease in her role. How can someone who never wanted power be a leader?

Also available in:

‘Guardians of Truth’ series:
Can Dündar meets Anabel Hernández:
Can Dündar meets Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya:
Series playlist:

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