The daily events in Belarus, a former Soviet Republic, are worthy of a Netflix drama, full of unexpected twists, spearheaded by heroic protagonists and driven by a righteous cause.
But it’s real life. The stakes could not be higher, and the lessons more poignant for the rest of the world — including for Americans, concerned about their own democracy.
Photos of the three beaming women — Tikhanovskaya, Tsepkalo, and Kolesnikova — became a rallying symbol for a population chafing under dictatorship.
Police violence against pro-democracy protesters only served to further delegitimize Lukashenko and energize demonstrations, which have continued bringing to the streets a sea of Belarusians dressed in red and white week after week.
The three were pushed into a car where they found their passports. Authorities were presumably trying to deport Kolesnikova, an iconic figure in the democracy movement.
Suddenly, Kolesnikova grabbed her passport and ripped it apart, throwing the pieces out the window. Then she climbed out the window, refusing to be taken away from her country.