Durbin, Tillis, Shaheen Introduce Bipartisan Resolution To Recognize Political Repression In Belarus

Next month marks the two-year anniversary of the fraudulent president election

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced a bipartisan resolution recognizing the second anniversary of the stolen 2020 Belarus presidential election, the historic peaceful protests, and the continued heroic efforts of the Belarusian people. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has ruled as an undemocratic dictator since the first presidential election in Belarus in 1994. The resolution was also cosponsored by Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Ben Cardin (D-MD).

Durbin joined Shaheen, Tillis, and Fischer at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Madrid to discuss congressional support for the transatlantic relationship, as well as continued Russian aggression and interference in western democracies last month.  Before the summit, Durbin met with Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Lithuania.

“The Belarusian people have had enough of Lukashenka’s oppression and cowardly sellout to Putin to use their country to attack Ukraine,” said Durbin. “The United States Senate fully supports the aspirations of Belarusians to live in a democratic, sovereign, independent country, and we stand in solidarity with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and the Belarusian people, who continues to strive for a free Belarus.  I hope the Biden Administration will quickly appoint a new Special Envoy to Belarus to help continue this effort.”

“The Russian invasion of a free and sovereign democracy has had a ripple effect across the entire world, and the Belarusian people continue to be pulled into the aggression by Putin puppet Alyaksandr Lukashenka,” said Tillis. “Despite his 28-year dictatorship and blatant election fraud in 2020, the Belarusian people continue to show tremendous bravery, standing up for their country against tyranny. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan resolution on the heels of our successful NATO Summit to highlight the continued repression and honor the courage of the Belarusian people.”

“Next month marks the two-year anniversary since the fraudulent presidential election in Belarus that continued Lukashenka’s dictatorial rule and resulted in thousands of political dissidents and activists being arrested,” said Shaheen. “I’m proud to lead a bipartisan resolution with Senator Durbin rejecting that election as undemocratic and calling for new elections to be held. Belarus deserves a government that reflects the will of the people, free from political intimidation and the dismantling of democratic institutions that have become the norm under Lukashenka’s regime. The U.S. Senate stands in solidarity with the many brave Belarusians, including Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, striving for a free and democratic Belarus.”

Durbin and Shaheen launched the Free Belarus Caucus, which advocates for democracy and free and fair elections in the former Soviet Republic that has been rocked by increasing political repression after decades of rule by Lukashenka. They also unanimously passed a Senate resolution (S. 658) condemning the arrest of opposition candidates and calling for a fair and legitimate August 2020 election. In January 2011, Durbin traveled to Belarus after the stolen December 2010 election, during which time he met with the families of the jailed opposition candidates.  

Full text of the resolution is available here.