Former presidential candidate of Belarus Svetlana Tikhanovskaya gave an interview to Russian journalist Irina Shikhman. The conversation took place in Vilnius. Before Tikhanovskaya appeared, the room where the meeting took place was examined by the guards provided to Lukashenka's rival by the Lithuanian government. At the beginning of the interview, the oppositionist hesitated for a long time to drink water from a glass and joked about this with Shikhman.
«I didn't pour water , - Irina Shikhman said with a smile, taking a bottle of water. «Is it closed?» - Tikhanovskaya asked her apprehensively. «We started to open it … Then tell me how it is to you», - answered the presenter, and both women laughed. «Take the first sip!» - someone from the film crew or Tikhanovskaya's security gave advice to Shikhman.
After that, the liquid was poured into glasses, and Tikhanovskaya nevertheless decided to drink. Before taking a sip, she stared at the water for a moment. «Everything becomes a meme of some kind», - noted the ex-presidential candidate of Belarus.
“Here, the guards come before your arrival. They check everything. Later [I] I got confused with this water: you can open the bottle or not. We're just preparing everything in advance. Are you already used to it yourself? " - asked the first question to her guest Shikhman.
“I'm used to security. To the water … Yes, there were no such questions , - answered Tikhanovskaya. According to her, after moving to Lithuania, she did not take additional measures to ensure the safety of herself and her loved ones.
She noted that she herself did not ask for bodyguards: «Lithuania kindly provided me with such an opportunity … I do not pay for security».
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya in August 2020 participated in the presidential elections as the main candidate from the Belarusian opposition. According to the republican CEC, 10.12% of the votes cast for it, while 80.10% voted for the incumbent head of state Alexander Lukashenko. Tikhanovskaya's supporters disagreed with the results, and unauthorized rallies have been taking place in the country since August 9. Tikhanovskaya's husband, Sergei, at the beginning of 2020 announced his desire to stand for election, but at the end of May he was detained.
Tikhanovskaya and Shikhman's reaction to water bottles stems from the recent incident with Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who became ill on board a Tomsk-Moscow plane on August 20. He was taken to the Omsk hospital. On the morning of August 22, the oppositionist was transported to the Berlin clinic Charite. From August 20 to September 7, he was in a coma. Navalny's supporters claim their leader was poisoned by adding poison to a bottle of water. Russian law enforcement officials argue that there is no sufficient reason to believe that Navalny was poisoned.