March 25, 1957 was declared Belarusian Independence Day in Michigan by Governor G. Mennen Williams. This was a sign of recognition and appreciation of the Belarusian-American community led by members of the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in Exile.Continue reading Belarusian Independence Day in Michigan – March 25, 1957
Representative John Dingell (D, Michigan) has held a short speech in the House of Representatives on 23 March 1966, dedicated to the Independence Day of Belarus (25 March).
***Continue reading Rep. John Dingell: speech at US House of Representatives on Belarus Independence Day 1966
Rep. John W. Wydler (R, New York) was one of several US Congresspeople who made a statement in the US House of Representatives in 1966, on the anniversary of the declaration of independence by the Belarusian Democratic Republic.
Mr. Speaker, just 48 years ago, after centuries of enslavement and oppression, the Byelorussian people declared to all mankind they were a free and independent people. This declaration followed on the heels of the Russian Communist revolution and the downfall of the Romanovs. The reality of freedom was short lived, for before a full year had passed, the Russian Red Army marched through the countryside and Byelorussia was again under Russian control.
Rahel, the medieval Christian chronicler, wrote many years ago:
“To have freedom is only to have that which is absolutely necessary to enable us to be what we ought to be and to possess what we ought to possess.”
Today Byelorussia is not free. The Byelorussians have no way to assert their own national identity. They cannot be what they want to be, or possess that which they want to possess. They are being denied their own individual history, culture and national pride. They are clearly and simply a ward of the Kremlin.
As freemen who do not take our freedoms and liberties for granted, we are a link between the principles of freedom and self-determination and those who aspire to be free and guide their own destiny. On this 48th anniversary of Byelorussian independence, let us reaffirm to the Byelorussian people that their hopes have not been forgotten by the free world.
Source: Congressional Record
Address by President Ivonka Survilla at the reburial of the insurgents of 1863-1864 in Vilnia/Vilnius on 22 November 2019.
My dear fellow Belarusians,
Our dear Polish and Lithuanian neighbours and friends,
Today we are witnessing a great historical event. Finally, the heroes of our three nations, the rebels who gave their lives for the freedom of all of us, will find their rest.
Kastuś Kalinoŭski and his comrades have become an inspiration for the Belarusian national liberation movement. Kalinoŭski became a symbol of the struggle of the Belarusian people for freedom, for national and social liberation. “Who do you love? I love Belarus” – this was the code-word of Kalinoŭski’s insurgents. This motto has given an impulse that led to the birth of our modern nation. This phrase remains our code-word, our motto today.
It is a great honour to be the witnesses of the long-awaited honourable funeral of these people. A great honour to pay our respect to their memory.
These heroes unite our three nations: Belarusians, Lithuanians and Poles. Many of them were born on the territory of modern Belarus. They all were patriots of our common historical motherland, the ancient Lithuania. And they have found their rest in a city where all of us – Belarusians, Lithuanians, and Poles alike – are at home: in Vilnia (Vilnius, Wilno).
55 years after their heroic death, the struggle of these insurgents has led to the creation of the independent Belarusian Democratic Republic, Lithuanian Republic and Poland.
The struggle of Kastuś Kalinoŭski and his comrades is a powerful example to us. Even having murdered these men, the enemies have not killed our will to fight for freedom. And decades later, our nations have won, because they were led by the desire to live free.
The independence of Belarus is again threatened today. But with the belief in our truth, which Kalinoŭski has many times mentioned in his articles, we will win. Belarus will be a free and democratic country, as are now our dear neighbours, the Lithuanian Republic and Poland, with whom we are glad to be together on this special day.
An eternal glory and eternal memory to our heroes!
The BNR Rada in exile has several important practical functions as a legal safeguard of the first democratic Belarusian statehood, as a representation of Belarus in the Free World and as an association of politically active Belarusian communities in different countries. Below we are publishing answers to several questions that the BNR Rada has received from the public.
1. How did you manage to keep the uninterrupted tradition of statehood intact for so many years?
The tradition of the Belarusian Democratic Republic was preserved through years of effort and work of the Belarusian diaspora. Hundreds of concerned and politically active people, even in exile, remained faithful to Belarus and spent their energy, time and money on Belarusian activism. The constitutional regulations of the BNR Rada, adopted in 1917-1918, allowed for the co-optation of new members. This allowed the Rada to refresh its membership over the subsequent decades.
BNR Rada has traditionally relied on the organizations of the Belarusian diaspora in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Belarusian communities in the Czech Republic and Poland also play a significant role. Separate members of the Rada also live in other countries.
Belarus’ 100-year-old exiled government, which still fights to return democracy to “the last dictatorship of Europe”, takes stand against President Alexander Lukashenka’s exploitation of the European Games as a political event.
The media coverage of international sporting events is often colored by the fact that publications have spent a fortune buying TV rights to the events and sent journalists and photographers to cover them.
This year’s biggest Olympic sports event in Europe – the European Games in Minsk, which the state-owned Danish public service media company DR has purchased the broadcasting rights to – is no exception.
Last week’s Danish media coverage of the European games in Belarus, which is called “Europe’s last dictatorship”, has largely been influenced by the Danish reporters’ focus on the Danish athletes’ sporting ups and downs during the games.
On the other hand, criticism of the authoritarian host nation, which for 25 years has been ridden hard by president Alexander Lukashenka, a former Soviet military officer, has been absent in the media just as democracy is absent in Belarus, as Lukashenka’s critics believe.
The Third Constituent Charter is the key document passed by the BNR Rada. The Charter was approved on the night from 24 March to 25 March 1918 and declared Belarus an independent state.
Since then, 25 March is celebrated as the Independence Day of Belarus, or Freedom Day (Дзень Волі).
Below an English translation of this historical document.
The BNR Rada announces the awarding of the Belarusian Democratic Republic 100th Jubilee Medal.
According to its Statutes, the medal is awarded for lifelong achievements in the fulfillment of the ideals of the Belarusian Democratic Republic, including research and the popularisation of Belarus, the strengthening of and achievement of the independence of Belarus, and the struggle for freedom and democracy in Belarus.
My dear compatriots, my dear friends Belarusians!
On behalf of the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic, please accept my best wishes on the occasion of the Centennial!
Today we are celebrating not only the anniversary of the glorious 25th of March 1918, when our nation announced to the world that it “clears the last yoke of state dependence”, but also a century of struggle – often in very difficult circumstances – to implement the ideals of the 25th of March.
Today, one hundred years after the Declaration of Independence of the Belarusian Democratic Republic, Belarus lives, and so do the ideals of the 25th of March. Our journey was arduous, but we survived, and never let the flame of our hope be extinguished.
Dear Friends! Without this torch of hope, we would not have restored the independence of the Republic of Belarus in 1991, since there would be no one left to restore it. Without the Belarusian Democratic Republic, there would be not Belarusian Soviet Republic and no independent Belarus now.
But we still haven’t implemented the ideals of the Belarusian Democratic Republic. Our Belarusian house is still not quite Belarusian, and its independence is still under threat.
Will our people find the strength to revive it from inside? Will we have enough stamina to revive it, until the “life of the republic’s own” will be restored forever? Will the brainwashing by foreign propaganda allow our people to admit that they were voiceless victims of foreign invadors?
And will the people understand that the future is in their own hands, and that it is up to them whether Belarus will become a prosperous European country or remain an exploited colony of foreign aggressors.
Dear Belarusian brothers and sisters, the ideals of the Belarusian Democratic Republic live and will live on. But it is up to every one of us to implement them.
So let us use this great Jubilee to prove to ourselves and to the world that we deserve it.
Long live Belarus!
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.