This is a statement by Olga Zubrilova, winner with Ekaterina Zuizuik of the New European of the Year Award, which they accepted on behalf of the Women of the Belarus Opposition.
Read the citation here
"The Belarusian protest should not be compared with Ukraine or Kirgizia or any other country.
Our enemy is a dictator who has been creating his “fortress” for 26 years.
He has his army, his system, his TV... And all these years we’ve been working to make this regime stronger – and that is our huge mistake.
This regime cares only about itself, the whole nation has become its hostage.
Now the Nation is waking up to struggle against the system for the right to freedom, safety and a better life.
And Belarusians have to destroy the system with our bare hands. This is our way.
We do not want barricades – that would be our pure defeat not only because we are weaponless against heavily-armed bandits, but also because we do not want more victims.
Each life matters.
Throughout our not long-ago history we’ve been learning to value each human life, because so many Belarusians became victims:
* repressions between 1917-1953 – over 600 thousand Belarusians were repressed
* World War II - every 4th Belarusian was killed
* Covid-19 (which the government does not acknowledge so we have to save ourselves)
* Lukashenko, who has given carte blanche to his police to kill and torture citizens
Belarusians have to stand up for their lives.
We have no right to stop the struggle.
We want to survive as human beings.
We want to win as a Nation.
This is our peaceful war."