On the occasion of Dziady, which since the 1980ies has become not only the traditional day when Belarusians commemorate their ancestors but also a memorial day for the victims of political repressions in Belarus, the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in Exile calls for all Belarusians to pay homage to the hundreds of thousands of our compatriots who became victims of repressions and social experiments under the foreign-imposed totalitarian Soviet regime, which dominated Belarus for the most part of the 20th century.
Statement by the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in Exile regarding the Belarusian-Russian joint military exercise
The military exercise codenamed “West-2017” is starting in Belarus, and is held jointly with military units of the Russian Federation. This exercise is taking place against the background of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, the wars in Ukraine and Syria, and cyber-attacks against the democratic institutions of the West.
The Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic (the BNR Rada) shares the concerns expressed by the democratic community in Belarus, as well as by some foreign observers, regarding that some of the Russian military units may – contrary to all the statements from the representatives of the ministry of defense of Belarus – stay in Belarus after the exercises. The BNR Rada emphasizes that such a development would present a new factor of danger not only for Belarus but also for other European countries – the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, and the Republic of Poland. This would present a particular risk for Ukraine, as its northern and western regions would in that case become exposed for an attack by Russia’s land forces.
The traditions of the Belarusian statehood date back to more than a thousand years. Under different names, the independent Belarusian state has existed for many centuries.
The Belarusian Popular Front (Беларускі Народны Фронт) was a nationwide Belarusian democratic movement in the late 1980s and 1990s in favour of the Belarusian national revival and the restoration of the independence of Belarus as a democratic European nation.
The Belarusian Popular Front organized mass demonstrations supporting democratic reforms, commemorating the victims of the Soviet repressions of the 1930s, criticizing the inhuman Soviet policies regarding Chernobyl, and protesting against the Soviet discrimination of the Belarusian language and culture. In other Soviet-occupied countries, the Popular Front cooperated with local democratic movements: Sąjūdis (Republic of Lithuania), the People’s Movement of Ukraine, the Popular Fronts of Latvia and Estonia.
The Belarusian Popular Front has been the key driving force behind the political changes in Belarus in 1990 and 1991.
Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic actively condemns the violence by the police of the Lukashenka regime against citizens during peaceful demonstrations on March 25, 2017.
Official greeting to the anniversary of the Belarusian Democratic Republic from US President George H. W. Bush, 1989.
In 1957, the Mayor of New York, Robert F. Wagner, declared March 25 the official Belarusian Independence Day and invited the people of his city to ” join with those of Byelorussian origin in prayers for peace, freedom and justice in the world”.
This has been the result of the work of the Belarusian diaspora in the United States in popularizing Belarus in the West, spreading information about the country’s history and current situation.
Below the text of the official proclamation.
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
WHEREAS: March 25, 1957 will be the thirtyninth anniversary of the Proclamation of the free and independent Byelorussian Democratic Republic; and
WHEREAS: Americans of Byelorussian descent are observing this date by reasserting their belief in freedom for all people and reaffirming their conviction that tyranny and despotism cannot long prevail where man so believs; and
WHEREAS: it is universally recognized that the resistance of the brave and patriotic Byelorussian people to communistic totalitarianism has never waned even to this day,
NOW, THEREFORE, I, ROBERT F. WAGNER, Mayor of the City of New York, do hereby proclaim Monday, March 25, 1957, as BYELORUSSIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY in the City of New York, and call upon all citizens to join with those of Byelorussian origin in prayers for peace, freedom and justice in the world.
(Robert F. Wagner)
Mayor, The City of New York
State of New York Executive Chamber
In 1984, the Governor Richard Lamm of Colorado made an official statement declaring 25 March the Belarusian Independence Day.
This and many similar statements by US officials were the result of many years long work by the Belarusian American community to popularize Belarusin the United States, to spread information about the Belarusian culture and history in the West.
Byelorussian Independence Day
March 25, 1984
Whereas, March 25th marks the anniversary of the proclamation of independence of the Byelorussian Democratic Republic; and
Whereas, the Byelorussian Democratic Republic was established following the collapse of the Tsarist Russian Empire but was subsequently annexed by the government of the Soviet Union; and
Official proclamation by New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani, declaring Belarusian Independence Day in New York on the anniversary of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in 1995.
In 1995, US President Bill Clinton issued an official letter to congratulate the Belarusian community in America with the Independence Day of the Belarusian Democratic Republic.