Mrs. Tsikhanouskaya receives the award as leader of the peaceful resistance against the oppressive regime in Belarus and as prominent advocate of political and civil freedom in her country. Living in forced exile in Lithuania she continues the fight for freedom and for a better future for all Belarusians. She works tirelessly to gain international support for her cause, although this requires great personal sacrifice.
Tsikhanouskaya is widely recognized as the winner of the presidential election in Belarus on August 9, 2020, against the autocratic President Aliaksandr Lukashenka. Tsikhanouskaya’s story began when she entered the race after her husband was arrested for voicing his presidential aspirations. Lukashenka publicly dismissed her as a “housewife,” saying that a woman cannot become president. Nonetheless, Tsikhanouskaya united and successfully led the democratic coalition. Following her forced exile, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya inspired unprecedented peaceful protests in Belarus, with some rallies numbering at least 200,000 people. As the leader of the Belarusian democratic movement, she has visited 26 countries, gathering support and advocating for the release of more than nine hundred political prisoners and a peaceful transition of power through free and fair elections.
The Roosevelt Foundation sees in Mrs. Tsikhanouskaya a true leader of the democratic movement who gives the people of Belarus a voice and hope for a better future in which the rule of law and basic human rights are respected. In awarding the International Four Freedoms Award to Tsikhanouskaya, the Roosevelt Foundation expresses its support and appreciation to the democratic movement and to the people in Belarus who continue to fight for their fundamental freedoms. Their commitment and courage are an example for others who live under difficult circumstances in countries where human rights and democratic values are violated.