Parade patchwork: ancient Greeks, hockey and military machines

Before the Independence Day parade started Aliaksandr Lukashenka reminded ‘all the enemies of the Belarusian stability’ of a sheer impossibility of provoking political and social unrest in the country and stated that the Belarusian army’s readiness was at a high level. At that, the President does regard some states’ activity as a threat to independent Belarus.

‘We still witness the dictation of a number of countries and military blocks, their intervention in interior affairs of sovoreign countries, exercises in international terrorism,’ Lukashenka said. ‘Economic dictation, information wars along with methods of force are applied as means of pressure. Our country’s strength is also checked but unity, wisdom and power of the Belarusian people have repeatedly proved that any attempts to destabilize the situation in our country stand no chance,’ he added.

After honouring veterans of the Great Patriotic War the ceremony went up. It is worth of note that a great deal of Minsk residents find something circussy about it. The presidents of Laos and Venezuela were watching the show-of-force parade with great interest. But when members of the Belarusian Republican Youth Union were marching in front of the stands, Nicolas Maduro got bored and found a more exciting occupation: he became friends with the veterans next to him and even had some pictures taken as mementos.

It is curious that Kolya, the youngest presidential son, was difficult to be noticed on the stand. In contrast to the previuos year, the boy was pushed into the background and failed to inspect the parade.

Meanwhile, the show is going on –concerts and traditional event ‘Let’s sing the anthem together’ are to be held in Belarusian cities and towns tonight.

Ambiguous date

The official Independence day is celebrated on July 3, on the day of liberation of the Belarusian capital from German invaders. Such decision was taken by the republican referendum held in 1996. Earlier the Independence day had been commemorated on July 27, its celebration being coincided with the day of passing the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1990.

The opposition does not recognise the official Independence Day. According to them it is the March 25, 1918 that should be taken as the starting point of the Belarusian independence. On March 25, 1918 the Provisional government (Rada) proclaimed the independence of the Belarusian National Republic that came into existence at the end of the First World War, when Bolshevik forces left Minsk and the city was occupied by German troops. After the Red Army re-entered Minsk, the Communist government replaced the Rada; its members had to emigrate. Opposition activists and civil society actors celebrate the anniversary of the proclamation of the BNR annually.