Holiday for all times
[b]Presidential speech at Minsk garrison parade in honour of Independence Day, on 3rd July, 2013[/b]
Comrade soldiers, sergeants, warrant officers and officers!
Dear compatriots and visitors to Belarus!
Today, we solemnly celebrate the main holiday of our country: Independence Day.
The life of each person consists of fateful days and events, which become the starting point of a new stage in the history of the state and inspire joy and unification among citizens. On this day we remember the liberation of our country’s capital — Minsk Hero-City — from the Fascist invaders.
This historical date, at the choice of Belarusians, has become our Independence Day, connected intentionally to the sacred ideals of freedom and independence. Freedom cannot be gained at the stroke of a pen. Our independence came through the sacrifice of the victors, who each gave their most precious possession: their life. Their heroic deeds brought long-awaited freedom to our land.
Belarus was the first to face the perfidious attack of the aggressors. The heroic resistance of our people began in the first minutes of the war, near the walls of Brest Fortress, and continued until the full repulsion of the enemy from the territory of our Motherland.
During those years, Belarus suffered the biggest loss of all the USSR republics and of the states of the anti-Hitlerite coalition. As a result of brutal genocide, the country lost a third of its population.
Today, we pay a tribute of respect to the memory to those who contributed to our common victory over Fascism and to the liberation of our Motherland and the whole world from those enslavers.
The new millennium has not brought calm and peace to mankind; rather, we continue to observe dictatorship in some countries, and military blocks, intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign states and displays of international terrorism.
Tools of pressure include not just methods of force but economic dictates and information wars.
Our country is undergoing a test of strength. However, the unity, wisdom and determination of Belarusians have been proven more than once: any attempt to destabilise our country will have no chance.
I am certain that we will stand up well to even the toughest of tests.
Belarus is a peaceful and open country. We wish all states and peoples happiness and prosperity. Friendliness and warmth are distinctive features of our national character. We are sincerely devoted to our friends and allies and are always glad to see those who are ready to work, trade and communicate with us. Our nation does not suffer from delusions of grandeur; we are ready to listen to others’ opinions and advice if this is given from the heart.
Meanwhile, we will not accept lies, hypocrisy or dictatorship.
The principle position of Belarus is transparent and firm: relations should be based on openness, mutual respect and supremacy of international law. Most important to international affairs is honesty. For Belarus, this ever has been and remains the cornerstone of both internal and foreign policy. In order to ensure that no one has the inclination to test our strength, we ensure the combat readiness of the Belarusian army at the highest level –such that nobody has ever considered attacking our country.
Our border should be open to all well-meaning visitors and closed to intruders and violators — whoever they may be.
Peace and order are the highest values for Belarus and the greatest asset of our people. We must ever protect them.
My deep gratitude goes to you for your unprecedented courage and for your great feats. You gained not only freedom and independence but gave us and following generations of Belarusians the most essential prize: you gave us life!
I wish you peace, a bright tomorrow, happiness, health and well-being on this sacred day for all Belarus.
Glory to the people of Belarus, who defended the independence of the Fatherland and who act always for the sake of our Motherland’s prosperity!
Congratulations! Happy Independence Day, dear compatriots!