The BPF Party[a] (Belarusian: Партыя БНФ, romanizedPartyja BNF; Russian: Партия БНФ, romanizedPartiya BNF) is a banned political party in Belarus. It was de facto established after the split of the social movement Belarusian Popular Front (abbr. BPF; Belarusian: Беларускі Народны Фронт "Адраджэньне", romanized: Bielaruski Narodny Front "Adradžeńnie", БНФ) in 1999. The Belarusian Popular Front was founded during the Perestroika era by members of the Belarusian intelligentsia, including Vasil Bykaŭ. Its first and most charismatic leader was Zianon Pazniak.

BPF Party
Партыя БНФ
LeaderVadzim Sarančukoŭ[1][2][3]
FounderZianon Pazniak
Founded30 May 1993; 30 years ago (1993-05-30)
Banned14 August 2023; 8 months ago (2023-08-14)
Preceded byBelarusian Popular Front "Adradžeńnie"
Headquarters3-39th Building, Čarnyšeŭskaha St, Minsk, Belarus
Youth wingBPF Youth
Membership (2009)1,819
IdeologyBelarusian nationalism[4][5]
Christian democracy[6][7]
Political positionCentre-right[8] to right-wing[4]
National affiliationBelarusian Independence Bloc
United Democratic Forces of Belarus
European affiliationEuropean Conservatives and Reformists Party (Global partner)[9]
International affiliationInternational Democrat Union
Colours  Red
Slogan"Long Live Belarus!"
(Belarusian: «Жыве Беларусь!»)
House of Representatives:
0 / 110
Council of the Republic:
0 / 64
Party flag
Website Edit this at Wikidata

After a 2005 decree by president Alexander Lukashenko on the restriction of the usage of the words Беларускі ("Belarusian") and Народны ("National", "Popular", "People's") in the names of political parties and movements,[10] the party had to change its official name to "BPF Party".

Early history edit

The Belarusian Popular Front was established in 1988 as both a political party and a cultural movement, following the examples of the Popular Front of Estonia, Popular Front of Latvia and the Lithuanian pro-democracy movement Sąjūdis. Membership was declared open to all Belarusian citizens as well as any democratic organization.

Its alleged goals are democracy and independence through national rebirth and rebuilding after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The main idea of the Front was the revival of the national idea, including a revival of the Belarusian language. Initially, its orientation was pro-Western with a great deal of scepticism towards Russia.[citation needed] At one point they propagated the idea of a union from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea that would involve Ukraine, Poland, Belarus and Lithuania, similar to Józef Piłsudski's Intermarium.

The party was in favour of removing Russian as an official language in Belarus. Russian became an official language following the 1995 Belarusian referendum, at the beginning of Lukashenko's rule, when a proposal for making Russian a state language received 83.3% support from the turnout.

A meeting at Kurapaty in 1989 organized by the Belarusian Popular Front

Among the significant achievements of the Front was the uncovering of the burial site of Kurapaty near Minsk. The Front claims that the NKVD performed extrajudicial killings there.

Initially, the Front had significant visibility because of its numerous public actions that almost always ended in clashes with police and KGB. It was BPF parliamentarians who convinced the Supreme Council of Belarus (the interim Belarusian parliament) to restore the historical Belarusian symbols: the white-red-white flag and the Pahonia coat of arms.[citation needed] During Soviet-times people faced arrest in the streets for displaying white-red-white symbols in Belarus.[citation needed]

In 1994 the BPF formed a so-called "shadow" cabinet consisting of 100 BPF intellectuals. Its first Prime Minister was Vladimir Zablotsky [pl]. It originally contained 18 commissions that published ideas and proposed laws and plans for restructuring the government and economy. Its last economic reform proposal was published in 1999. In opposition to Alexander Lukashenko's government, the party supports Belarus' entry into NATO and the European Union.[11]

1999 split edit

Pahonia, the historical Coat of Arms of Belarus

In the late 1990s, the Popular Front split into two parties, both of which claim to be the legitimate continuation of the original BPF. The party's conservative wing under Zianon Pazniak became the Conservative Christian Party – BPF (Belarusian: Кансэрватыўна-Хрысьціянская Партыя - БНФ, romanizedKanservatyŭna-Chryścijanskaja Partyja BNF) while the moderate majority became today's BPF Party.

Modern history, participation in elections edit

At the 2004 legislative election the party was part of the People's Coalition 5 Plus (Narodnaja Kaalicyja Piaciorka Plus), which did not secure any seats. These elections fell (according to the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission[12]) significantly short of OSCE commitments. Universal principles and constitutionally guaranteed rights of expression, association and assembly were seriously violated, calling into question the Belarusian authorities’ willingness to respect the concept of political competition on a basis of equal treatment. According to this mission, the principles of an inclusive democratic process, whereby citizens have the right to seek political office without discrimination, candidates to present their views without obstruction, and voters to learn about them and discuss them freely, were largely ignored.[citation needed]

In October 2005 Alaksandar Milinkievič, a candidate proposed by the BPF and Zialonyja (Belarusian Green Party) was elected the common democratic candidate for the 2006 Presidential election.[citation needed]

During the 2010 presidential election the BPF Party nominated its own candidate for the presidency, Ryhor Kastusiou, who was then the Deputy Chairman of the BPF Party. According to the official results, he gained 1.97% of the votes.[citation needed]

In 2011, following an internal conflict, more than 90 further members left BPF Party, including several prominent veterans of the original Belarusian Popular Front, such as Lyavon Barshchewski, Jury Chadyka, Vincuk Viačorka. This was sometimes described as a "second split" of the Belarusian Popular Front.[13][14]

In the Congress in September 2017, the new party leader Ryhor Kastusioŭ has been elected. The Congress decided also to nominate Alaksiej Janukievič and Belarusian-American attorney Juraś Ziankovič [be] to the presidential office in the next elections. The final decision about the only candidate has to be made in the future.

On 12 April 2021, Kastusiou was reported to have been arrested[15][16] by the Belarusian KGB as part of its crackdown on protestors following the results of the 2020 Belarusian presidential election. Officially Kastusiou and BPF members were accused of trying to organise an illegal coup (in which president Alexander Lukashenko was to be assassinated); the Russian FSB together with the KGB have claimed their arrests did prevent the coup to happen.[17] On 5 September 2022, Kastusiou was sentenced to 10 years in jail by the Minsk Regional Court.[18]

On 14 August 2023 the BPF Party was banned by the Supreme Court of Belarus.[19]

Presidential elections edit

Election Candidate First round Second round Result
Votes % Votes %
1994 Zianon Pazniak 757,195
Lost  N
1999 Zianon Pazniak No winner announced
2001 Endorsed Uładzimir Hančaryk[20] 965,261
Lost  N
2006 Endorsed Alaksandar Milinkievič 405,486
Lost  N
2010 Ryhor Kastusioŭ 126,999
Lost  N
2015 Did not contest
2020 Alaksiej Janukievich Not admitted to the elections

Legislative elections edit

Election Leader Performance Rank Government
Votes % +/– Seats +/–
1995 Zianon Pazniak
0 / 260
New 17th Extra-parliamentary
2000 Vincuk Viačorka Did not contest Extra-parliamentary
2004 200,033
0 / 110
  0   5th Extra-parliamentary
2008 Lyavon Barshchewski 72,770
0 / 110
  0   5th Extra-parliamentary
2012 Alaksiej Janukievich 2,789
0 / 110
  0   8th Extra-parliamentary
2016 88,511
0 / 110
  0   6th Extra-parliamentary
2019 Ryhor Kastusioŭ 82,403
0 / 110
  0   7th Extra-parliamentary

International relations edit

The party became an associate member of the International Democrat Union in 2007.

It was an observer member of the European People's Party until 2017. Since 7 April 2017 the party is a member of the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe.[9] Its youth wing, BPF Youth, is a member of the European Young Conservatives.

Chairman edit

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ "BPF" is derived from a translation of its former name, namely the "Belarusian Popular Front",[8] and not the romanization of the Belarusian acronym БНФ (which is romanized "BNF").

References edit

  1. ^ Старшыня i намесьнiкi старшыні Партыi БНФ Archived 19 July 2018 at the Wayback Machine(in Belarusian)
  2. ^ Вадзім Саранчукоў: Партыя БНФ працягвае працаваць(in Belarusian)
  3. ^ Партыя БНФ працягвае працаваць у Беларусі — Саранчукоў(in Belarusian)
  4. ^ a b Korosteleva, Elena (2005). "The Emergence of a Party System". Postcommunist Belarus. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 38. ISBN 0-7425-3555-X.
  5. ^ Tarnauski, Andrei (2005), "The Peculiarities of Party Politics in Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine: Institutionalization or Marginalization?" (PDF), Political Parties in Post-Soviet Space, Praeger, p. 45, ISBN 9780275973445
  6. ^ Bugajski, Janusz (2002). Political Parties of Eastern Europe: A Guide to Politics in a Post-Communist Era. Center for Strategic and International Studies. pp. 23–24. ISBN 978-1-56324-676-0.
  7. ^ a b Nordsieck, Wolfram (2008). "Belarus". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011.
  8. ^ a b Bollier, Sam (24 September 2012). "Belarus ballot box boycott divides opposition". Al Jazeera.
  9. ^ a b Welcome to our new member parties
  10. ^ О дополнительных мерах по упорядочению использования слов «национальный» и «белорусский»
  12. ^ "REPUBLIC OF BELARUS PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS 17 October 2004 OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report" (PDF). Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 January 2006. Retrieved 9 September 2023.
  13. ^ "Янукевіч: Пазбегнуць расколу Партыі БНФ было немагчыма". 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  14. ^ "У партыі БНФ раскол". Narodnaja Volia. 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2017.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "BPF Party Head Ryhori Kastusiou Detained".
  16. ^ "Ex-presidential candidate Kastusiou arrested in Shklou, taken to KGB prison".
  17. ^ (in Ukrainian) One of the defendants in the "assassination attempt on Lukashenko" case is seeking refugee status in Ukraine, Ukrayinska Pravda (6 May 2021)
  18. ^ "Philosopher Aliaksandr Fiaduta sentenced to 10 years in jail". Viasna Human Rights Centre. 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  19. ^ Вярхоўны Суд зліквідаваў Партыю БНФ
  20. ^ История Партия БНФ
  21. ^ "Belarusian Popular Front elects new chairman" Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine

External links edit