On 3 June 1988, the newspaper Litaratura i mastactva published the article written by Zianon Paźniak titled Kurapaty, the road of death (Курапаты – дарога смерці).
For the first time, the article told the story of mass shootings by Soviet secret police in the forest of Kurapaty near Minsk.
The article ignited mass interest towards the topic of Communist terror in the Belarusian society. It became a starting point for the awakening of the Belarusian society in the late 1980s – very soon, the people demanded democratic reforms and, eventually, the restoration of the independence of Belarus from the Soviet Union.
In October that year, the Belarusian Popular Front was established – the movement that became the key driving force of the restoration of Belarusian independence in 1991.
Below an English translation of the article.
Continue reading KURAPATY – THE ROAD OF DEATH
In view of the announcement by the official authorities of Belarus of the election of the President of the Republic of Belarus on August 9, 2020 and the beginning of the nomination of candidates, the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic declares the following:
- At present, Belarus still lacks conditions for holding free and democratic elections that would meet both international standards, including the international obligations of the Republic of Belarus, and the letter and spirit of the current legislation of the Republic of Belarus. Obstacles have been created for nominating alternative candidates to A. Lukashenka. Among other things, there are no conditions for an election campaign in which all candidates would have the same opportunities, as well as no instruments to prevent administrative pressure on voters. There are no conditions for independent control and monitoring of the vote counting process, which once again creates a danger of mass falsification of voting results.
- Given the illegality of the 2004 referendum, which abolished the limit on the number of terms that one person can hold the presidency, A. Lukashenka has no legal right to run in the presidential election in Belarus.
- The coronavirus pandemic creates additional risks associated with the organization and conduct of elections during this period. Holding mass events, including elections, during a pandemic poses a threat to the health and lives of Belarusian citizens.
Referring to its statement of 13 October 2015 on the previous election of the President of the Republic of Belarus, the BNR Rada further calls on the authorities of the Republic of Belarus and all interested parties:
- To guarantee the citizens of Belarus democratic rights and freedoms enshrined, inter alia, in the current legislation of the Republic of Belarus and in international treaties signed by the Republic of Belarus;
- To create preconditions in Belarus for holding full-fledged free and fair elections, and then to hold re-elections to all state and local authorities in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Belarus and international democratic standards.
The BNR Rada further calls on the international community to promote the democratization of Belarus and to put pressure on the official authorities of the Republic of Belarus to this end.
Referring to its statement of March 31, 2020, the BNR Rada calls on the Belarusian authorities to be open and accountable to the Belarusian society and demands that all necessary measures be taken immediately to ensure human health in the event of a pandemic.
The Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic declares that democratic elections, respect for human rights and freedom of speech are the only possible ways to national consolidation of all Belarusians and to overcoming the international isolation in which Belarus has been in recent decades, and the only way to defend Belarus’ independence in the face of threats on the part of today’s nationalist and authoritarian Russia.
Declaration adopted at the Session of the BNR Rada in Osterhofen (Germany), December 1947.
At this Session, the BNR Rada has announced the resumption of its work after a four-year break due to World War II and the death of the previous President, Vasil Zacharka, whose powers were temporarily taken over by Mikola Abramčyk. Representatives of the numerous new wave of exiles from Belarus have joined the BNR Rada.
Continue reading Declaration of BNR Rada, 31 December 1947
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
On November 23, 2019, the BNR Rada has held a meeting with representatives of the main Belarusian democratic political parties and organizations, which are signatories to the joint 2012 Memorandum ‘On measures to safeguard the independence of Belarus’.
Following a discussion of the current situation surrounding the possible signing of documents between the official regime in Minsk and the Russian Federation that could lead to a further integration between Belarus and Russia and to the surrender the independence of Belarus, the participants of the meeting have decided to issue the following statement.
Continue reading Independence of Belarus faces imminent threat – joint statement by KEY BELARUSIAN democratic ORGANIZATIONS and BNR Rada
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.
Continue reading The BNR Rada as the oldest Belarusian democratic advocacy group
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.
Continue reading Sportspressen.dk: Government-in-exile compares European Games in Belarus with Olympic Games in Nazi Germany
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.
Continue reading The Third Constituent Charter of the Council (Rada) of the Belarusian Democratic Republic