Posted: 17.09.2023 19:48:00

Andreichenko: if it were not for events of September 1939, there would be no sovereign Belarus now

The Chairman of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, Vladimir Andreichenko, shared his thoughts on National Unity Day

On September 17th, 1939, the liberation campaign of the Red Army began, as a result of which the eastern and western parts of Belarus and the nation as a whole became united. In modern Belarus, this date is celebrated as National Unity Day.

Historians and political scientists are still arguing about the significance of those distant events, but one point is strong: Belarusians became a single nation with its own land and prospects for development. A long period ended when the people’s fate was decided by others, and when a pen’s stroke on the Riga Treaty of 1921 made half of Belarus a Polish colony.

At present, attempts are being made to refute this thesis and present the events of the 1920s-1930s as a blessing. Historical and propaganda structures of the West are working for this, and Belarus’ closest neighbour – Poland – is demonstrating the greatest activity.

For ten years, from 1921 to 1931, the number of Belarusians decreased by almost a million in the territories occupied by Poland. By 1934, only sixteen out of 400 Belarusian schools that had existed before the forced partition remained, and there was none in 1939. The ‘ethnic unity’ idea became the basis of the Polish policy in Western Belarus, and the authorities did not hesitate to declare that.

Polish Education Minister Stanislaw Grabski said that ‘the political border should become an ethnic border’, while Interior Minister Leopold Skulski assured that ‘it will be impossible to find Belarusians in Poland even with a candle in a decade’. That's the whole conversation about national self-determination and democratic choice.

With the tact and scrupulousness natural for Belarusians, they have modestly kept silent for decades about the processes and events that took place on the country’s territory in the early 20th century. More than one generation of citizens has grown up, and they do not know about posadniks [town governors] and Polonization, ethnic discrimination and religious oppression. Belarus has been building relations with its neighbours on the principles of equality, legality and good neighbourliness. The President [Aleksandr Lukashenko] has repeatedly publicly stated that ‘neighbours are God-given, and it is necessary to live with them in peace and harmony’.

At the same time, Warsaw purposefully pursued a policy of ‘quiet expansion’. It introduced the Pole’s Card, glorified the members of the gangster underground, demonised the top political leadership of Belarus, rewrote history and made plans for the return of Kresy Wschodnie [eastern territories].

Today Belarusians have to once again stand for their right to independence, defend sovereignty, their own values and the chosen path of development.

At a time when instability is growing in the world, foundations are crumbling and agreements are being actively reviewed, it is the unity of the nation that acts as the bond uniting the Belarusian people. National Unity Day is the result of a deep understanding of historical events and a real response to modern political processes.

In the conditions of the unfolding battle for people's consciousness, it is the historical truth that becomes the most effective weapon of victory. It is time to declare in full voice and clearly explain to everyone that if it were not for the events of September 1939, there would be no sovereign Belarus today. There was a real threat for the nation of becoming a disappearing ethnic minority, deprived of a national elite, the possibility of national and cultural development, and even more so of national and state prospects.

The Belarusian people have suffered and won the right to independence. At the end of the 20th century, a historic chance for their own statehood was realised. The most important step towards the latter, uniting two parts of the forcibly divided nation, was made in September 1939.

National Unity Day means for Belarusians to be masters on their own land, to preserve national identity and to ensure a decent life for society.

Belarusians pay tribute to the memory of their past generations who preserved and defended their national identity. They are proud of modern achievements, form the foundations for further development, multiply the national heritage, and sincerely wish the Motherland and all compatriots peace, prosperity and well-being.