Estonia said Friday it plans to lend its IT expertise to help exiled Belarussians who have taken to cyber-space to oppose their homeland's President Alexander Lukashenko.
Computer user clicking a mouse. Estonia said Friday it plans to lend its IT expertise to help exiled Belarussians who have taken to cyber-space to oppose their homeland's President Alexander Lukashenko.
"Estonia is planning IT training for members of the Belarussian opposition, teaching them how to manage their websites and protect them from cyber-attacks," foreign ministry spokeswoman Mariann Sudakov told AFP.
"We have also offered scholarship programmes in Estonian universities for Belarussian students whose have been kicked out of Belarussian universities for political reasons," she added.
Like Belarus, Estonia gained independence from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991.
But in stark contract, it is anchored solidly in the West after joining the European Union and NATO in 2004.
The Baltic nation of 1.3 million is one of the world's most wired nations, earning the nickname "E-stonia".
Since falling victim to a "cyber-war" in 2007 widely blamed on Russian hackers, it has become a leading light in moves to fend off online attacks, and also hosts NATO's cyber-defence facility.
Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994 and was sworn in Friday for a new term after a December election faulted by Western observers.
He has long been criticised for imprisoning opposition leaders, preventing criticism in the state-controlled media and clamping down on independent broadcasters and the press.
Pavel Morozau, an anti-Lukashenko campaigner exiled in Estonia since 2006, said the Internet was a crucial tool.
"Activists from the Belarussian community in Estonia have created and managed websites in Estonia and elsewhere to support our friends in the Belarussian opposition and promote democracy in our fatherland," Morozau told AFP.