Belarusian Opposition Movement Gets Registered At Last

MINSK -- The Belarusian opposition movement Havary Pravdu (Tell the Truth) has been registered after seven years of unsuccessful attempts to gain official status.

Havary Pravdu co-Chairwoman Tatsyana Karatkevich told reporters in Minsk on May 16 that the movement's latest attempt to register -- the seventh since 2010 -- was successful.

"It was a long road. And I'll tell you frankly, I was not sure that the seventh attempt would be successful until we received the official document confirming that we had got it," said Karatkevich, who ran against authoritarian President Alyaksnadr Lukashenka in a 2015 election.

She said that the officials who handed over the registration papers warned leaders of the movement "not to violate Belarusian laws."

Karatkevich said that Havary Pravdu had been active despite the lack of official status, supporting causes and nominating candidates in elections at various levels. She urged other groups that have been refused registration before to try again.

Rights activists say Lukashenka has maintained power since 1994 by suppressing dissent and sidelining potential rivals.

He has intermittently taken steps to ease the repression, moves widely seen as aimed to improve relations with the West and reduce the ex-Soviet state's reliance on Russia.