Tikhanovskaya was running in the place of her husband, Sergei, who had been preemptively arrested by Lukashenko’s government to prevent him from challenging the president. She joined with women connected to other imprisoned and exiled candidates to run on a simple platform of rerunning the election with their involvement. But they, too, were forced into exile, and Lukashenko turned to his patron, Russian President Vladimir Putin, for support.

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