Alexander Millinkevich became involved in the local politics of his home city, Hrodna, in the 1980s. Four years in Algiers, setting up the Faculty of Physics at Sétif University, had given him a wider experience of the world than his contemparies. After the fall of the Soviet Union he entered national politics, becoming Chieff of Staff to one of the oppositions leaders. In 2005 he was chosen by the United Democratic Forces of Belarus as joint candidate of the opposition in the presidential ellections of 2006, to stand against the totalitarian Alexander Lukashenko. He was held by the police before and after the elections of false charges of drunken driving, forgery, drug trafficking and leavin Belarus illegally
Pavel Sieviarynets, recipient of the monetary part of the award, is a prominent young Belarusain politician leader of the Christian Democratic Party and founder of the Young Front that is the most persecuted political organisation in Belarus. He is also a talented publicist, author of a number of books and articles in which he presents his ideas and values, calling Belarusians to national awaking and protest against autocratic rule.