Belarusian opposition politician Maria Kolesnikova, who has been in remand prison-1 in Minsk since January 2021, in written interview German newspaper Welt am Sonntag appealed to Alyaksandr Lukashenka with an appeal to stop the violence and try to find a way out of the political crisis in a peaceful way.
“I call on the authorities to stop fighting their own people, listen to the Belarusians and start a new dialogue. Stop the violence! Stop absurd lawsuits! Don’t destroy economies and successful businesses! Let people out of prisons! ” – said Kolesnikova.
Maria Kolesnikova lived in Stuttgart for 12 years, reminds Deutsche Welle. In 2020, she returned to Belarus, where she became the coordinator of the campaign headquarters of the presidential candidate Viktor Babariko. Kolesnikova is one of the key figures in the protest against the Lukashenka regime.
In September 2020, a month after the start of mass protests in Belarus against the falsification of the presidential election results, Kolesnikova was detained.
At the same time, before being taken into custody, the security forces tried to take Maria Kolesnikova abroad to “de-escalate” the situation in the country. She was brought to the border with Ukraine by force, after which she tore her passport and announced her intention to stay in Belarus.
Commenting on this step in an interview with Welt am Sonntag, Kolesnikova emphasizes that “I have never regretted it”. “I think I did the right thing. Freedom does not fall on its knees. What is happening now in Belarus, right in the center of Europe, is living proof of this, ”she says.
She also noted that Belarus is not the only country where democracy has not been established. “This is a global challenge,” Kolesnikova wrote and called on the people of Belarus to defend their values and beliefs “step by step”.
Kolesnikova was accused of calling for action against national security, conspiracy to seize state power unconstitutionally, and creating and leading an extremist group. She faces up to 12 years in prison.
On the pages of the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Kolesnikova calls on Belarusians to “defend their values and beliefs step by step”. “Step by step we will build a free and open society. The struggle of the Belarusian people should become our common cause, and their victory should go down in history, ”Maria Kolesnikova is convinced.