Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

Belarus, 1982

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is generally considered Belarus’ real president-elect. An English teacher and interpreter, she courageously decided to step in for her husband Sergei Tikhanovski, a critic of President Lukashenko, when the election commission refused to register his candidacy in 2020, and who shortly after was (and still is) arrested and imprisoned for breaching public order. The disputed Belarusian elections led to widespread anti-government protests. Now living and working in exile, Tikhanovskaya has vowed to fight the authoritarian regime of Lukashenko, to introduce democratic reforms to the country, to free political prisoners and to move away from the union treaty with Russia. She was on the list of the BBC’s 100 women, included in the 2020 edition of The Bloomberg 50, and nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize by the President of Lithuania and multiple Norwegian members of parliament.