The Future of Democracy in Belarus: Europe's Next Challenge

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A Panel Discussion with Senior Polish, Lithuanian and UK Officials, Belarus’ Opposition Leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Vladzimir Astapenka, former Belarusian Ambassador.


More than five months have passed since the rigged presidential elections in Belarus, which are widely perceived to have robbed Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya of her rightful win as the country’s new leader. The scale of the protests against Alexandr Lukashenka’s regime has been unparalleled. And so has been the unprecedented brutality of his security apparatus.

The European Union, the UK and the wider community of democratic nations have been unanimous in their support for Mrs Tsikhanouskaya and her colleagues on the Belarus Coordination Council. But what are the choices facing the continent in the months to come? What can be done to stop the violence and ensure a peaceful transition of power to a government which truly enjoys the support of the Belarussian nation?

RUSI has teamed up with the Lithuanian and Polish embassies in the UK in this unique event, which links politicians in Vilnius, Warsaw, and London with Belarus’ top opposition leaders.

Speakers include:

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of democratic Belarus and human rights activist. A teacher and interpreter by training, Mrs Tsikhanouskaya stood in during the 2020 elections for her husband Siarhei Tsikhanouski, after he was jailed for his political activities. Following her forced relocation to Lithuania by Belarusian authorities, she continues to lead the opposition to the authoritarian regime in her country and is determined to ensure that the voices of all Belarusians are heard.

Marcin Przydacz, Poland’s Undersecretary of State for Security, the Americas, Asia, and Eastern Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A graduate of the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Jagiellonian University, he also studied in Kyiv. He was president of the board of the Politics and Diplomacy Foundation, a think-tank, and from 2015 to 2019, he served as deputy director of the Foreign Affairs Office at the Chancellery of the Polish President.

Mantas Adomėnas Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs. He served as a Member of Parliament at the Seimas (Parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania from 2008-2020.

Vladzimir Astapenka, former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus in the Argentine Republic and responsible for multilateral diplomacy of the National Anti-Crisis Management.

Wendy Morton MP is the Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). Wendy was first appointed as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development on 13 February 2020. She was first elected as Conservative MP for Aldridge-Brownhills in May 2015.

Arkady Rzegocki , Ambassador of Poland and Renatas Norkus, Ambassador of Lithuania, will be making introductory remarks.

Watch the recording

In partnership with

  • Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania to the United Kingdom

    Event partner

  • Embassy of the Republic of Poland in London

    Event partner


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