op_tusk1_Beata ZawrzelNurPhoto via Getty Images_belarus protest Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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A Light in the East

Although the peaceful protests in Belarus have yet to overturn the results of August's fraudulent presidential election, they have continued to grow. Here, Sławomir Sierakowski, having recently returned from Minsk, speaks with former European Council President Donald Tusk about what the events in Belarus mean for Europe.

BRUSSELS – After a month of massive peaceful marches, rallies, walkouts, and strikes in response to the fraudulent presidential election of August 9, Belarus remains in a state of political limbo. While the opposition continues to mobilize, Aleksandr Lukashenko, the president for the past 26 years, is clinging to power, exploring his options vis-à-vis Russia, and hoping the demonstrations will taper.

Having covered developments on the ground from Minsk between early August and early September, Sławomir Sierakowski of the Institute for Advanced Study in Warsaw recently spoke with Donald Tusk, a former prime minister of Poland (2007-14) and president of the European Council (2014-19) who now leads the European People’s Party, the pan-European grouping of center-right political parties that is the largest faction in the EU Parliament. In a wide-ranging discussion, Tusk shares his own view of the situation in Belarus and its implication for the wider region, the European Union, and EU-Russia relations.

Winds of Freedom

Sławomir Sierakowski: Before we get to geopolitics, let’s talk about feelings: Are you consumed by the protests in Belarus?

Donald Tusk: My whole family is gripped by what’s going on there, even my 11-year-old grandson. We hadn’t seen each other for quite some time, but his first question to me was, “Grandpa, what will happen to Belarus?”