Fact Check: Portugal Did NOT Restrict Entry For Svetlana Tikhanovskaya And Belarusians


  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Portugal Did NOT Restrict Entry For Svetlana Tikhanovskaya And Belarusians No Restraint

Has the Portuguese government imposed restrictions on the Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya's entry into the country and made conditions more difficult for Belarusian citizens? No, that's not true: A spokesman for the Portuguese Foreign Ministry confirmed that there were no such restrictions, and Lead Stories found no evidence to support this claim.

The claim appeared in a video on the TikTok account @sotniktiktok (archived here) on November 14, 2023.

The text in the video (translated from Russian to English by Lead Stories staff) says:

'Belarusian' impostor helped Belarusians in Portugal

Tikhanovskaya came to Portugal to collect taxes from the relocated 'Belarusian' companies and met with the Secretary of State, from whom she did not hesitate to demand money.

And now the country's leadership is restricting her entry and tightening the conditions for 'Belarusians'.

Don't thank me

This is what the post on TikTok looked like at the time of writing:

Portugal Tikha.jpg

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Nov 15 13:17:06 2023 UTC)

The video on TikTok used a fragment of a video filmed in Lisbon, Portugal, on November 13, 2023, during a meeting between Bernardo Ivo Cruz, secretary of state for international trade and foreign investment, and Svetlana Tikhanovskaya with a group of companies contributing to Portugal's economic growth and Minsk, Belarus' democratization efforts. During the meeting, Tikhanovskaya thanked Cruz for Portugal's support for the Belarusian business community in exile and called on the Portuguese government to simplify the legal procedures for Belarusian entrepreneurs.

On November 14, 2023, Tiago Moreira de Sá, a deputy in the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic, published a comment on X expressing full support for Tikhanovskaya and her actions.

We will support her no matter what.

Lead Stories contacted the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to find out if restrictions were in fact imposed on Tikhanovskaya and Belarusians entering Portugal. The Ministry's spokesperson, Rita Roque, wrote (translated from Portuguese by Lead Stories staff):

This information is not true. The Belarusian opposition leader has been to Portugal twice in just over a year and has always been received at the highest political level.

Lead Stories then asked if restrictions were imposed on other Belarusians after the visit of the Belarusian opposition leader to Portugal. The spokesperson wrote, "The answer is no."

Tikhanovskaya delivered a speech entitled "Fighting for the future: Democracy, exile and Belarus" at the prestigious Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon on November 15, 2023. She announced the creation of the group Friends of Democratic Belarus in the Portuguese Parliament on November 13, 2023. The launch of the group to support Belarusian activists took place during an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe side event in Warsaw, Poland, in October 2023.

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa met with Tikhanovskaya in 2021 and supported the right of the Belarusian people to demonstrate peacefully and to determine their future through free and fair elections.

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