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The Explainer: From the Olympics to Ryanair flights, why is Belarus making international headlines?

Our guest this week is Matthew Luxmoore, Moscow correspondent from Radio Free Europe.

LAST WEEK, A Belarusian Olympic athlete refused to leave Tokyo following her time in the games, saying she was afraid of returning home.

The story of Krystsina Tsimanouskaya was the latest twist in a number of news stories involving Belarus and a crackdown on activists opposed to the regime of president Alexander Lukashenko.

In mid-July, a Ryanair plane was diverted to Belarus, allegedly on the basis of a false bomb scare, in order to rest opposition journalist Roman Protasevich. 

Anti-Lukashenko protests took place in late 2020 in Belarus, with tear gas used on some occasions to disperse protesters. 

What has been going on in Belarus, and why? Why are people protesting the regime, and why have such high-profile international incidents occurred?

To explain more about the political unrest, and Alexander Lukashenko’s aims, we’re joined on this week’s podcast by Matthew Luxmoore, Moscow correspondent from Radio Free Europe.

The Explainer / SoundCloud

This episode was put together by presenter Sinéad O’Carroll, producers Aoife Barry and Nicky Ryan.

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