Independence Day (Belarus)

Independence Day of the Republic of Belarus (Belarusian: Дзень Незалежнасці Рэспублікі Беларусь, Russian: День Независимости Республики Беларусь), also known as Republic Day or Liberation Day is a public holiday, the independence day of Belarus and is celebrated each year on July 3. Independence Day is a non-working day.

Independence Day
Belarusian: Дзень Незалежнасці
1997. Stamp of Belarus 0232.jpg
A commemorative stamp of Belarus honoring the sixth anniversary of independence
Observed by Belarus
TypeState
SignificanceThe day of the liberation of Belarus from the Wehrmacht.
CelebrationsFireworks, Concerts, Parades
DateJuly 3
Next time3 July 2020 (2020-07-03)
Frequencyannual

HistoryEdit

 
Soldiers on Victors Avenue during a parade in honor of independence day in 2017
 
A speech by President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko during the Independence Day celebrations on Victory Square in 2010

July 3, 1944, was also the liberation of Minsk, capital of Belarus from the Wehrmacht during the Minsk Offensive (code-named "Bagration"). The decision to celebrate Independence Day on July 3, the day of the liberation of Belarus from the Nazis, was made during a controversial national referendum held in 1996 proposed by President Alexander Lukashenko.[1]

Since 1991, the Independence Day was celebrated on July 27, the day of the Declaration of Sovereignty of Belarus.[2] August 25, 1991, after the August events in Moscow, the Byelorussian SSR gave the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Republic the constitutional status of the law.[1]

On September 19, 1991, the Permanent Representative of the Byelorussian SSR Hienadz Buraukin informed the office of the Secretary General of the United Nations that it would officially be designated to simply known as "Belarus".[3]

On December 10, 1991 the Supreme Soviet of Belarus ratified the Belavezha Accords which formally declared the dissolution of the Soviet Union.[4] Independence was formally received December 26, 1991 in connection with the collapse of the Soviet Union.[citation needed] Belarus is currently the only post-Soviet country to not associate its Independence Day with the collapse of the USSR.

ControversyEdit

There is a public debate in Belarus regarding the appropriate date to be considered Independence Day.[2] Since the early 1920s, various Belarusian political movements and the Belarusian diaspora have been celebrating Independence Day on March 25 as the anniversary of the 1918 declaration of independence by the Belarusian Democratic Republic.[2][5] The date is still widely celebrated by members of the democratic opposition in Belarus and by the diaspora as Freedom Day. Some opposition politicians like Siarhei Navumchyk and Zianon Pazniak criticize July 3 as the Independence Day and suggest August 25 as the alternative.[6]

EventsEdit

 
A 1997 commemorative coin in honor of the Independence of Belarus.
 
A sign commemorating Independence Day on the building of the Maxim Tank Belarusian State Pedagogical University.

The main event of Independence Day is a solemn military parade of the Belarusian Armed Forces's Minsk Garrison. Parades are also held in Barysaw, Gomel, Brest, Dzyarzhynsk, Haradok, Vitebsk and Mogilev. After the official part, the holiday social events start. A solemn ceremony headed by the President of Belarus is held in the Independence Palace the preceding day. Throughout the country celebrations and festivities are held. In the evening in Minsk fireworks are arranged. A series of concerts and events are held in Gomel, with a special emphasis on the Belarusian identity.[7] In 1974, President Richard Nixon of the United States arrived in Minsk during a state visit to the Belarusian SSR to attend celebrations in honor of the 30th anniversary of the liberation of Belarus.[8]

Recently, in 2014 and 2019, the holiday has been celebrated with even more importance due to it celebrating the 70th and 75th anniversary of the liberation of Belarus respectively. In both instances, the annual parade took place at nine o'clock in the evening and included cadets form the Military Academy dressed up as Soviet-era Belarusian Partisans. In the latter celebration, the Russian Defence Ministry conducted a fireworks display in Moscow in honor of the anniversary. A national campaign called Let's Sing the Anthem Together (Russian: Давайте споем гимн вместе) for everyone capable to sing the a national anthem (My Belarusy) at a certain time has occurred annually in recent years.[9]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Balmforth, Tom (August 25, 2011). "Belarus And The Independence Day That Wasn't". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Belarus' Three Independence Days Archived August 1, 2017, at the Wayback Machine by Paula Borowska. BelarusDigest, July 28, 2014
  3. ^ "History, Belarus". Government of Belarus. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  4. ^ "Belavezha Accords, signed by Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, also violated by Russia". Unian Information Agency. December 8, 2014. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  5. ^ BELARUSIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY IN NEW YORK – PROCLAMATION BY MAYOR RUDI GIULIANI
  6. ^ Сяргей Навумчык. ДЗЕНЬ НЕЗАЛЕЖНАСЬЦІ. Сьвята, якое будзе дзяржаўным – naviny.by
  7. ^ "Independence day celebration in Gomel". Independent Travellers. independent-travellers.com. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  8. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1974/07/02/archives/nixon-in-minsk-calls-for-amity-visiting-city-badly-damaged-in-war.html
  9. ^ https://www.tvr.by/eng/news/obshchestvo/v_22_50_ezhegodnaya_aktsiya_spoem_gimn_vmeste_/