Presentation by Ivonka J. Survilla, President of the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in Exile, at the Conference of the Canadian Association of Slavists(Ottawa, 24 May 2009)
If the sovereigns of my land had been as wise as the emperors of China, they probably would have built a wall along their border with the Duchy of Moscow at the very beginning of her aggressions against their territory. Instead, exhausted by the defensive wars against their Eastern neighbours, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (the medieval predecessor of today’s Belarus), formed a defensive alliance with Poland. This happened in Lublin in 1569. 440 years later, I am speaking to you of the Government of the Belarusian Democratic Republic, which has been in Exile for the past 90 years. Once more – because of the expansionist policies of our Eastern “big brother”.
This presentation explores conditions that have affected Belarus’ existence since the early 20th century. Bolshevik aggression forced a legitimate Government into exile and required its existence beyond the borders of Belarus. In order to understand the present plight of this European nation, there is a need to consider the recent experiential history of Belarus and Belarusians.
Presentation by Ivonka Survilla, President of the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in Exile, at the international conference European Conscience and Communism in the Senate of the Parliament of Czech Republic, Prague, 2-3 June 2008
I have the honour to be the sixth president in exile of the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic. The BNR Rada is the longest-living government in exile. It left Belarus close to 90 years ago because of the aggression and the subsequent occupation of our independent state by our communist neighbour.
Communism can be examined according to its large scale, long-term impact on the lives of individual human beings and also according to the impact on the appropriated nations, nations that do not define the political and cultural epicentre of communist power, but rather find themselves in forced subjugation. This is the reality and legacy of the communist experience, felt by many nations in modern times, evidenced by Tibet’s real-time struggle and by countries like Belarus who continue to experience the fallout of the Soviet experience.
The first official visit of the President of the United States to Belarus took place on January 15, 1994.
President Bill Clinton had meetings with the leadership of Belarus, spoke at the Academy of Sciences of Belarus, visited the memorials to the victims of the Second World War and to the victims of Soviet Repressions.
The Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic has issued a statement regarding the situation around Belsat, the Belarusian TV channel broadcasting from Poland.
Statement by the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic concerning the situation around the TV channel Belsat
The Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic is seriously concerned by the possible threat to the existence of the TV channel Belsat.
During its existence, Belsat has become one of the most influential Belarusian publications, a bright and highly important phenomenon on the Belarusian media landscape.
Belsat is the only TV channel in the world broadcasting in Belarusian language. It is a unique platform for opinions independent from the Belarusian government as evidenced through the excellent shows and documentaries produced by Belsat journalists. Under the conditions of a dictatorial regime in Belarus, which discriminates against the Belarusian language and culture, and continues the Soviet chauvinistic policy of Russification and destruction of the Belarusian identity, Belsat plays a crucial role not only as a mass medium but also as a cultural phenomenon.
President of the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic has issued an address to the Belarusian community of the United Kingdom on the occasion of the consecration of the newly erected church of the Holy Hierarch Cyril, bishop of Turaŭ and All the Patron Saints of the Belarusian People (the Belarusian Memorial Chapel).
“It will be an important symbol of Belarusian cultural presence in one of the world’s most important cities, and a place where Belarusians will pray to God in the language of their ancestors. This day marks an important and joyous event for all Belarusians, regardless of religion and country of residence.”