Reverse side of Independence Day: Russia’s strangle, preventive arrests (video)

Belarus marks its main official holiday. From 1991 to 1996 Independence Day was celebrated on July, 27: on this day in 1990 the Declaration on State Sovereignty was adopted. But only few people seem to remember about it.

English subs:

{movie}Reverse side of Independence Day: Russia’s strangle, preventive arrests (ENG subs))|right|17287{/movie}


‘I want to show myself off, to look at people, to rejoice over our happiness – today is the day of liberation of Belarus!’

‘Today is Independence day and the day of liberation of Minsk’

‘Today is the day of liberation of Belarus, Minsk, and my father’s birthday’

The festivities kicked off a day before, on July, 2, and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin who arrived in Minsk was among the participants.

ALIAKSANDR LUKASHENKA, Belarusian President:

‘We deeply honour the common chronicle of heroism and heroic feats of the Soviet people. We are proud that Belarusians stood shoulder to shoulder with the Russians, Ukrainians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Kazakhs, and other peoples of the Soviet Union to defend Moscow, in the battles of Stalingrad and Bagration operation which resulted in Belarus’s liberation.’

Russia’s involvement was obvious during a military parade on the occasion of Independence Day: Russian soldiers and state-of-the-art weaponry which was used in the course of Crimea’s occupation.

ALES LAHVINETS, political analyst:

‘Russian troops’ presence at the parade is Lukashenka’s tribute to Russia for supporting his regime. On the one hand, this is the nation’s disgrace, on the other hand, he is seeking preferences in such a way.’

The event doesn’t seem to have been a picnic for everyone: just to be safe, the police arrested several youth activists. Anton Zhylko, a member of the United Civic Party, has been kept in a police station since morning; the day before members of organisation Alternatyva were detained.

YAHOR BABROU, a member of Alternatyva:

‘Yesterday Aleh Korban was arrested in his flat: they knocked on the door, he refused to open, but when they started to break the door down Aleh let them in. Soon after another activist, Uladzimir Siarheyenka, was detained, he also was at home.’

The authorities feared opposition would spoil the feast by protest actions, and decided to take preventive measures. As for the solemn event, it lasted till 2 am.


The official Independence day is celebrated on July 3, on the day of liberation of the Belarusian capital from German invaders. Such decision was taken by the republican referendum held in 1996. Earlier the Independence day had been commemorated on July 27, its celebration being coincided with the day of passing the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1990.

The opposition does not recognise the official Independence Day. According to them it is the March 25, 1918 that should be taken as the starting point of the Belarusian independence. On March 25, 1918 the Provisional government (Rada) proclaimed the independence of the Belarusian National Republic that came into existence at the end of the First World War, when Bolshevik forces left Minsk and the city was occupied by German troops. After the Red Army re-entered Minsk, the Communist government replaced the Rada; its members had to emigrate. Opposition activists and civil society actors celebrate the anniversary of the proclamation of the BNR annually.

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