Having survived trying times, Belarusians have earned the right to live in a free, peaceful, and prosperous country, to be the full-fledged participants of global processes, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said in his speech at the solemn meeting on the occasion of Belarus’ Independence Day on 1 July.
“The history of Belarusian statehood has never been easy. But the aspiration of our people to live in their homeland has been the source of strength and spiritual maturity for them,” the head of state stressed.
On foundations of Belarusian statehood
Alexander Lukashenko remarked that the country remembers the enlighteners and enthusiasts standing at the origins of the Belarusian statehood. These include such outstanding Belarusians as Euphrosyne of Polotsk, Kirill of Turov, Francysk Skaryna, Symon Budny.
According to the President, there have been fate-determining moments in the life of any nation, and the foundations of the Belarusian state were laid in the 9th century.
“Back than, 1155 years ago, Polotsk was known as a trade and administrative center of Slavic Europe. And the Principality of Polotsk, our historical cradle, was a peaceful, hard-working and friendly state. Back then its people were determining their future themselves. The most courageous and wisest representatives of that land were elected as leaders at popular assemblies,” the Belarusian President said. “Back then the Varangians brought statehood to many peoples. Not everyone liked the aspiration of our ancestors to be independent. Therefore, throughout its history our people had to protect this piece of land.”
On true source of independence
The President remarked that the idea of a nation state has been on the mind of every generation. Despite multiple wars, political and economic shocks, the Belarusian nation has survived, has not disappeared from the historical stage. On the contrary, every complicated period enriched this idea, preserved and enhanced it, enabled further development.
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania, for example, gave a strong impetus to the town-building and military activities, was the country where the most progressive legal document of the time – the Statute of Lithuania in the Old Belarusian language – was written. “We made the first steps in book printing much earlier than our neighbors – 500 years ago,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
He reminded that the Belarusian lands were part of big empires, and those were especially tragic pages in the history of the nation. “The hordes of invaders went in various directions though our land, through the hearts and souls of people. Belarus was in the epicenter of cruel wars, but our country did not need them at all,” the head of state stressed. “The long-nurtured dream to live in an independent state has survived those ordeals.”
The President remarked that the outcome of World War I and the Russian Revolution of 1917 gave a chance to many European peoples to create their own states. “Those processes affected us. The issue of the Belarusian statehood was included in the agenda of the European geopolitics,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
“There were brave, sometimes utopian attempts of self-determination. Certain public figures inspired by elevated ideas failed to understand that the troops of the Kaiser's Germany will never bring independence and freedom. Only the people, its will, collective wisdom and leaders can be the true creators of independence,” the head of state is convinced.