Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the rival of the long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko, has announced readiness to become a national leader so that the country "calms down and gets back to a normal rhythm."
That's according to a new video address released Monday on the Strana dlya Zhizni ["Country for Life"] YouTube channel.
"I have and have had no illusions about my political career. I didn't want to become a politician. But fate has brought me to the very front line of confrontation with arbitrary injustice," Tikhanovskaya said.
She added she was "ready to take responsibility and act as a national leader so that the country calms down and gets back to a normal rhythm."
I have and have had no illusions about my political career. I didn't want to become a politician. But fate has brought me to the very front line of confrontation with arbitrary injustice.
Read alsoKremlin deploying Russian Guard troops to Belarus border – media (Photo, video)The statement is in stark contrast to her earlier public address released on August 11 after she fled the country to Lithuania and suggested she is still a "weak woman I was initially."
Looking visibly distressed, Tikhanovskaya said she made "a very difficult decision" and that she did it "all by herself".
"Children is what's most important in life," she concluded.
After her husband's arrest, Tikhanovskaya had her children taken out of the country to Lithuania.
Protests in Belarus and Tikhanovskaya's departure
On August 9, after presidential elections were held in Belarus, official exit polls claimed incumbent Alexander Lukashenko sealed a staggering 80.23% of the vote, while his closest rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya gained just 9.9%.
On the same night, thousands of Belarusians took to the streets to contest what many believe is a rigged vote count.
In a crackdown on protests, riot police fired rubber bullets, used tear gas, and detained thousands, of whom many were badly beaten and injured while in custody.
Tikhanovskaya refused to take lead of the protests. According to her press secretary, the politician would not want to end up behind bars like her husband Sergei Tikhanovsky.
At the same time, Tikhanovskaya said she considered herself winner of the presidential election, and called on her rival Lukashenko to negotiate.
Shortly after the elections, Tikhanovskaya fled Belarus to Lithuania.
The European Union has not recognized election results, while international organizations and foreign governments have condemned violence applied against peaceful protesters. Ukraine said it "generally shares" the position voiced by the EU, stopping short of direct non-recognition or recognition of election results.