People from the team of Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya are currently in Moscow. They visit the Russian capital regularly, reports the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita.
Referring to its informed source, the newspaper notes that the Belarusian delegation consists of several people representing the Coordination Council of the Opposition. Their task is to meet with the media, experts and representatives of Russian think tanks, including those directly connected with the Kremlin.
Tikhanovskaya and her immediate entourage have not yet been in direct contact with representatives of the Russian authorities. Russian politician and of the State Duma deputies are not allowed to have such ties.
It’s a different matter for Russian political experts. Thus, the political scientist and head of the Kremlin-linked Center for Political Information, Alexei Mukhin, admitted that he participated in several "events" in Moscow, attended by Belarusian oppositionists. The meetings also took place on air of Russian state TV channels.
"We recently had a discussion on Channel One, with one of Belarusian opposition representatives Pavel Latushko . Why should Russia ignore these people? They are citizens of Belarus and have the right to participate in the constitutional processes of their country," Mukhin said.
Mukhin stressed that the refusal of official contacts with Belarusians opposed to Lukashenko does not mean "Russia's closing of the doors to these people."
The political scientist added that Moscow is well aware of the mood prevailing among Belarusians. "Lukashenko, slowly changing the Constitution, provokes radicalization of protests," he says.
Last Tuesday, the Council on Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation published a new study, according to which at least 70% of protesters have a positive attitude towards Russia. Half of the population of Belarus were disappointed when Vladimir Putin recognized Lukashenko as the legitimate leader of Belarus. One in five respondents believe that Russia should side with the protesters, and more than 60% of Belarusian citizens believe that Moscow should stay neutral. In addition, the study showed that the former head of the Russian Bank Belgazprombank, Viktor Babariko, who is in prison, is the most popular Belarusian politician.
According to the director of research of the Belarusian Center for New Ideas, a researcher of Chatham House, Ryhor Astapenia, it is obvious that Russia understands the changes in the Belarusian society and it is advisable to listen to Belarusians at least at the expert level.
On September 20, Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya called Putin a "wise leader." On October 5, Tikhanovskaya said she is ready to meet with Putin. In November, Tikhanovskaya said that Putin simply did not know that so many Belarusians are against Lukashenko and she would like to explain to him the situation in person.