Siloviki push for recognising white-red-white flag, slogan ‘Long live Belarus’ as symbols of Nazi collaborators

Russian collaborators showing tricolor during parade in Pskov in 1943. Photo:

The Belarusian Interior Ministry has sent a draft document ‘On making lists of organisations and other bodies, Nazi symbols and paraphernalia’ to the State Security Committee (KGB) for reviewing, pro-Lukashenka Union of Journalists reports.

Notably, the draft includes the slogan ‘Long Live Belarus’ and the white-red-white flag. According to its authors, they were used by ‘Nazi punishers and collaborators’.

It should be recalled that the national flags were shown in the territories of many European countries invaded by Nazi Germany during the second World War. In particular, Russian collaborators, who were involved in staging punitive operations (including those in Belarus), used the tricolor which is now the official symbol of the Russian Federation.

The author of the chant ‘Long Live Belarus’ is Yanka Kupala, a prominent Belarusian literary figure and People’s Poet of the BSSR. For the first time, it appeared in his poem written in 1905-1907.

The white-red-white flag was recognised as the official symbol of the Belarusian movement in 1917, then it became the flag of the Belarusian People’s Republic (BNR) in 1918.

In 1991, the white-red-white flag and the emblem Pahonya (Pursuit) were adopted as national symbols of the country. However, they were official until the 1995 referendum, when on the tip from Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who is an ardent adherer of the USSR, they were replaced by the Soviet ones. For years, pro-Lukashenka officials have been linking the white-red-white colours to the opposition. Last December, the authorities warned that those Belarusian citizens who would hang out ‘unregistered symbols’ even on their windows or balconies might be penalised under administrative law.

Flag of rejection of Lukashism