Exiled Belarusian Opposition Activist Returns Ahead Of Election
Opposition activist Vyachaslau Siuchyk has returned to Belarus after five years of self-imposed exile in Ukraine, becoming the second government foe to come home ahead of an October 11 presidential election.
Siuchyk’s wife, mother, and friends met the activist at a train station in Minsk on September 15.
While he held out no hope for a free and fair election, Siuchyk suggested the political landscape could be shifting following Russia’s intervention in neighboring Ukraine, which has raised alarm about Moscow’s intentions in other ex-Soviet republics.
Despite raised hopes, a full turn toward Europe seems unlikely.
Do recent events indicate that Belarus could fully turn towards Europe and pull away from Russia politically? In the last few months, a number of developments have excited observers in international media and revitalised old debates about the former Soviet country’s future. But despite positive indications, a broader view suggests that this prediction may be overly optimistic.
In the judgment of most media freedom or democracy indexes, the Eastern European country is labelled as one of the worst in Europe and in recent years Belarus has shown no tangible progress towards establishing a free media atmosphere.