MINSK, 30 July (BelTA) – The former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was not forced to leave Belarus for Lithuania in August 2020. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the relevant statement as he met with government officials on 30 July to discuss urgent issues of the public and political situation, BelTA has learned.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “She says she was forced to leave. I read a report today that she was forced to leave Belarus and threats went nearly as far the capture of her kids and something else. Listen. I always draw the line at kids. You know it. Children should not bear this kind of responsibility for actions of their parents that goes as far as saying I will travel to Lithuania and will capture the kids. Well, if you take kids to Lithuania, protect them. Trust me, I've never put the matter like that. She came to [Head of the Operations and Analysis Center under the President of the Republic of Belarus] General Andrei Pavlyuchenko and asked him to tell the president that she wanted to leave. Verbatim from his report to me. I said she was free to go. Valery Pavlovich [Vakulchik, the then chief of Belarus' KGB], it happened after they wanted to burn them in that house. Do you remember I ordered you to remove the [SWAT team] Alpha from the streets? He was shouting he could not redeploy Alpha due to a possible threat to the Palace of Independence. I told him to do it. I told him he and I will take up arms but he should protect that house [where representatives of the opposition gathered up on the ballot day, 9 August 2020]. Otherwise, miscreants would burn them and would accuse us of it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, there was a plot meant to gather representatives of the opposition in one place, including Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. “It was good that someone from our military was there protecting her. He understood that danger was imminent. He understood who could solve the problem. He called the Internal Affairs Ministry. I think Kazakevich worked in the Internal Affairs Ministry. It was my intuition that prompted me to order the KGB chief to remove the Alpha team from the streets, make them wear civilian clothes, and demonstrate that we'd already seen what the criminals wanted. It saved the day,” the head of state said. “I think the same day or the next one she came. I gave instructions to tell her that the Internal Affairs Ministry will help her leave the country and go to her kids. She didn't say anything about her husband. She made a request for some family from Vitebsk. And then [Head of the Operations and Analysis Center, General Andrei Pavlyuchenko] had to wait for this family at the border. She came with the husband and the kids. We did everything she had asked. We understood she had to go to kids. I don't pick fights with women at all.”
“She was about to leave the country when General Pavlyuchenko called me saying she did not have any money. I told him to contact a state company, which will remain nameless, and ask for how much money she wanted. $15,000 right? Then give her $15,000 and let her go. We have to think about kids after all. This is what happened. And today she says she was threatened, that her kids had been taken from her, and the rest. What a skunk. It is the first time I've said it about her. Although I don't pick fights with women,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.