On March 25, Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya sent greetings to compatriots on the occasion of Freedom Day (Dzien Voli).
On her Telegram, the politician admits that earlier she did not consider March, 25 as an important date; neither did many Belarusians. However, everything changed in 2020, and the nation started writing the history of a new Belarus, she believes.
Freedom Day (Dzień Voli) is celebrated on March 25 to commemorate the creation on that date in 1918 of the Belarusian People’s Republic (BNR). It came into existence at the end of the First World War, when Bolshevik forces left Minsk and the city was occupied by German troops. On March 25, 1918 the Provisional Government (Rada) proclaimed the independence of the BNR. After the Red Army re-entered Minsk, the Communist government replaced the Rada; its members had to emigrate. Alyaksandr Lukashenka, his coterie and subordinates deny Freedom Day and keep barring the opposition forces from celebrating it.
In her address, Tsikhanouskaya highlighted the essential role of the Belarusian People’s Republic (BNR) in the forming of Belarus’ independence. But for the BNR, Belarus’ six regions could have been incorporated ‘in another country’, she reminded.
“And today is our day and our holiday. I congratulate us on having unity, solidarity and freedom as well as on almost 750 thousand votes for peace, for negotiations, for the free future of our country collected on the Holas platform for just one week,” Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya told Belarusians.
The incumbent authorities are trying to disrupt the voting on the online platform by blocking access to the website, sending out fake mails en masse and trying to intimidate would-be voters, she stressed. In addition, the politician noted that the Belarusian opposition and international partners started discussing a number of aspects and issues regarding the would-be talks.
“And I want all of us to celebrate the next March 25 in the Belarus we deserve – in a country where the law is followed, rights are observed and the people are respected,” she said.
As reported earlier, the initiative to vote for/against holding negotiations with the Lukashenka regime was announced by Tsikhanouskaya’s office on March, 18.
‘The voting is being launched in order to start talks with ‘the representatives of the regime who are ready to think about the future and make deliberate decisions rather than turn the crisis into a complete catastrophe,’ she said.
The would-be negotiations are to take place with the participation of high-profile international mediators, Tsikhanouskaya’s team promised. The US and EU missions to the OSCE backed the idea of staging the nationwide online voting on the peaceful dialogue in Belarus and expressed readiness to contribute to a democratic solution of the current crisis.