Thank you for the Victory!
[b][i]The bravery, humanism and spiritual dignity of the Soviet soldiers will never be forgotten; their orders and medals will never fade. I wish you, my dear friends, robust health, courage and prosperity. I wish you peaceful skies and festival salutes![/i][/b](from the address of the President of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, to his compatriots in honour of Victory Day on May 9th)
(from the address of the President of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, to his compatriots in honour of Victory Day on May 9th)
Traditionally, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko takes part in the veterans’ parade along the main avenue of Minsk. He heads the column of over 5000 veterans, military men, members of government and parliament, students from military and civil colleges, famous sportsmen and labour teams from the capital. Flags, flowers, garlands, gold medals and orders are displayed. Over 20 000 Minsk citizens and guests greet the parade along both sides of the avenue — from Oktiabrskaya metro station to Victory Square. Young men and schoolchildren chant, “Thank you for the Victory!”
The President lays a wreath symbolising the imperishable memory at the Eternal Flame on Victory Square and foreign diplomats pay tribute — both to the memory of the deceased and to those who survived the terrible war. The event has meaning to every European nation. After a moment of silence — in honour of the deceased — a rota of the guard of honour marches along the square and the President talks to veterans and heads of diplomatic missions. He shares his impressions with journalists and notes the importance of celebrating Independence Day widely and warmly. People should feel that we remember the deeds of the older generations.
The victory over Nazi Germany is a sacred date not only for us. Hitler’s followers strived for world supremacy and the enslavement of other nations. They were especially cruel to Slavic states. Our heroic Soviet soldiers, as well as those from other European nations, deserve to be remembered for their sacrifices.
According to President Lukashenko, the universal and historical meaning of this deed becomes more obvious every year, “Of course, we note the role of the USA, the UK, France, Poland, China and other states in resisting the Nazis, but the Soviet Union was the one to bear the main burden of the most dreadful and murderous war in the history of humanity.” The heroic Belarusian nation made an invaluable contribution to the Great Victory, since our land was a single defence boundary. The Nazi military machine met its first resistance here — at Brest Fortress. The Red Army was joined by men from Bobruisk, Borisov, Vitebsk, Gomel, Zhlobin, Lepel, Minsk, Mogilev and Rogachev.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians defended their occupied homeland, with the fight for liberation experienced nationwide, stressed the head of state. Little opposition had been seen before; there were 1255 partisan parties in Belarus — with over 370 000 people. 4000 underground organisations united over 70 000 patriots.
Over 4000 European anti-fascists fought alongside the Belarusian, Russian, Ukrainian, Jewish and other Soviet Union partisans, with many citizens risking their lives to save concentration camp and ghetto victims. Over 500 have since been awarded the title ‘Righteous Gentiles’.
In recent decades, we have raised ourselves from the postwar ruins, utilising our economic potential and gaining independence.