Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya

Belarusian politician, educator, and pro-democracy activist

Sviatlana Heorhiyeuna Tsikhanouskaya or Svetlana Georgiyevna Tikhanovskaya (Belarusian: Святлана Георгіеўна Ціханоўская / Śviatłana Hieorhijeŭna Cichanoŭskaja) (Russian: Светлана Георгиевна Тихановская) (born 11 September 1982) is a Belarusian human rights activist and politician who ran in the 2020 Belarusian presidential election as the main opposition candidate after her husband Sergei Tikhanovsky was arrested.

Democracy is about participation in the first place. And with participation comes responsibility for decisions and actions.


I have no right to give up, because people who are in jail didn't give up. They now are suffering for us. Only these people, the families of those repressed in Belarus, have given me the energy to go on.
  • We will need a President who is experienced in economics, in politics, in strategy. I am not supposed to say this, but that’s clearly not me. We have people in Belarus, including among the political prisoners, who deserve to be in this position. People will make their choice. And then, even if things don’t go as we want them to, we will all share the responsibility, because this will have been the people’s choice.
  • I know that Belarusians woke up. Belarusians—we will never return to the state of slaves, as we had been living for 27 years. I don’t hope—I’m sure, that Belarus will be a success story. We will win [against] autocracy. We will bring our country to democratic changes. I take this belief from the Belarusian people, from those who are behind the bars. I take this belief from democratic countries that are standing with Belarusians at this difficult moment. Together, with the free world, we will be able to bring our country, our wonderful Belarus to these changes as well.
  • I’m here on this place by fate. I’m here only because I believed Belarusians that they want changes, and people believed in me. Now, and I’m doing what I can. You know, I can’t call myself the leader of the revolution because it’s everybody who is doing something is already a leader, because it’s impossible, you know, to organize everybody. People are self-organized. You’re right, I’m not going to participate in new elections. It’s not my aim. And I talked about this to Belarusians in the presidential campaign. My mandate is only to be with Belarusians till we bring our country to new elections.