Russia is trying to make Ukraine a “dependent dictatorship”, Ales Byalyatski’s wife said Saturday after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize on his behalf.
Among the chaos in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, Byalyatski and the Memorial Russian Rights Group won the Nobel Peace Prize 2022 in October.
Natallia Pinckuk, who received the award for her husband in Oslo City Hall on his behalf, said that Byalyatski had dedicated the prize “millions” of Belarusian citizens to whom she stood up to fight for their civil rights online and in person.
She said that it highlighted the “tragic situation” and the struggle for human rights in her country, while adding that she was echoing the words of her husband.
Pinchuk met her husband only once after he was named Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He did so in prison behind a glass barrier, Pinchuk told a Friday news conference.
I know what type of Ukraine Russia and Putin would prefer — a dependent dictatorship. It’s the same thing as in Belarus today, where oppressed voices are ignored and disregarded,” Pinchuk stated on Saturday. She was citing her husband.
In a crackdown against opponents to Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian Security Police detained Byalyatski (60) and other suspects in July 2013.
After mass protests against the election of the president in August, the authorities had taken steps to close down all non-state media outlets.
Byalyatski is fourth recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in Detention after Germany’s Carl von Ossietzky (1935), China’s Liu Xiaobo (2010) and Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi (who was in house arrest in 1991).
Belarus and Russia, which are officially part of the “union state”, are close allies economically and militarily. After Russia’s assistance in quelling protests following the 2020 election, Lukashenko’s dependency on Moscow grew.
Russia used Belarus to set up a base for the failed invasion of Kyiv that began on February 24. Belarus says it won’t enter the conflict in Ukraine. Russia claimed on Thursday that its troops are participating in tactical exercises at Belarus. This raises concerns about Moscow pressing its ally for more involvement in the conflict.