Wreath-laying ceremony at Mound of Glory memorial

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Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko took part in Independence Day celebrations at the Mound of Glory memorial near Minsk on 3 July.

The head of state laid a wreath at the Mound of Glory memorial and delivered an address to compatriots.

Address of Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko during the wreath-laying ceremony at the Mound of Glory memorial

Dear compatriots and guests of our country!

First of all, I would like to congratulate you on Independence Day, the day when the capital of our Motherland was liberated from the Nazi invaders.

This momentous date in the history of the Belarusian people has been inscribed in the calendar of the major national holidays forever.

On 3 July the country traditionally turns to the history of the Great Patriotic War: Belarusians remember the heroes who at the cost of their lives gave them freedom, tell their children and grandchildren about the deeds of their grandfathers and fathers, go with them to the places of military glory and sorrowful memory.

This annual custom is the least we can do in the name and glory of those thanks to whom we live, make families and raise children.

Today we have gathered at one of the most famous monuments erected in honor of Red Army soldiers, in honor of our heroes who liberated Belarus from fascism 78 years ago.

This majestic mound, as a guardian of historical memory, shows us the legendary line where the Soviet offensive began and which finally destroyed the main forces of the German Army Group Centre and liberated our capital.

Here was the Minsk pocket, in which more than 100,000 Hitler soldiers got trapped. Most of them never left it.

This is how the first stage of the famous Bagration operation victoriously ended, the operation which was brilliantly conducted by talented commanders Konstantin Rokossovsky, Ivan Bagramyan, Georgy Zakharov, and Ivan Chernyakhovsky. Belarusians should remember these names.

Our grandfathers and fathers won but had to bear the pain of the losses of their comrades in arms, who fearlessly fought to the death for our freedom and for our victory.

Honor and glory to all those who fell in the battles for the liberation of our homeland!

The memory of the heroes will be honored with a minute of silence.

/A minute of silence/

Dear friends,

"Today, here, at the site of fateful battles, we remember all the battles that forged the Great Victory.

The pennants ‘For valor and perseverance during the Great Patriotic War’, which you see in front of you, have been awarded to 27 settlements of Belarus.

These are not all the places of valor. We will continue this work to perpetuate the memory of the feats and heroes of the Great Patriotic War.

The time has come for young people to take the baton from older generations and keep the Eternal Flame of this memory going. For the sake of peace in our land.

I see a lot of young people here today, including young Belarusians and Russians, who arrived in Minsk on the Memory Train. It is very important that you communicate, make friends, and cherish the honor and glory of the generation of winners together.

Because things won't be easy. Our enemies have long been living with the idea of erasing the memory of the Great Victory. It is very important for all of us not to let it happen.

Having crossed all moral lines, they have already come to deny Khatyn, Babi Yar and the siege of Leningrad today. They are ready to forget the tragedy of their peoples, to erase the memory of Buchenwald, Auschwitz, and Majdanek.

What can we do to counter that? We tell the truth, the harsh and cruel truth of history.

And we fight for that truth. Neither Belarusians, nor Russians, or Ukrainians need a war.

Yet we cannot allow Nazism to rear its head again as a weapon of the collective West directed against the Slavic world.

May the Mound of Glory be a witness and a guardian of this solemn promise.

Dear friends,

I very much welcome the initiative of our MPs to launch the Memory Train project. We really need to be together more than ever. Today we are reproached that we are the only country in the world that supports Russia in its struggle against Nazism, for its efforts to put up a barrier against the abuse of Russian people. We have supported and will continue to support Russia. These reproaches are ridiculous and sad.

Russia is a fraternal state for Belarus, the closest state in the world. Our tragedy is that today two sister nations - Russians and Ukrainians - have clashed. This is our tragedy. But we always say that the truth is stronger. The truth is on the side of fraternal Russia today.

We are the only country that supports Russians in this struggle. And how many countries are on the other side? There are almost fifty, who are actually fighting against Russia in Ukraine. Don’t those who reproach us know that we have a close alliance with the Russian Federation, that we are building a single, powerful, independent Union State of two independent peoples? We are trailblazers; this experience is unique in the world. We must set this example for others. Didn’t they know that the union of Belarus and Russia has a single grouping of armed forces which was set up a long time? In fact, this is a single army. They all know that. So why are they reproaching us today? We have been together with fraternal Russia.

I determined the role of Belarus in the Russian special operation a long time ago. On the first day of the operation, I said: we will not allow anyone to shoot Russia in the back. We are holding the fort from the Brest Fortress to the southern borders and have Russia’s back against NATO troops. They can't forgive us for this. Today this is a crucial direction for us. You know about the decisions of NATO to increase the number of troops in Eastern Europe by 10 times. Why do it in peacetime? They are doing it in order to fight. We will do our best to hold out and win.

Happy Independence Day, dear friends!

I wish you health, happiness, and wellbeing.

Peace, only peace and prosperity to our peoples.

Everything is going to be all right!

Thank you.

Aleksandr Lukashenko talked with participants of the patriotic youth project Memory Train after the wreath laying ceremony.

One of the participants asked the president what achievements over the years of independence he considers the biggest, which he is proud of. "You have asked the main question in the life of any president. This is the number one issue. If any politician says that he does not think about it, this is not true," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

"The most important thing that we did together is that for the first time in history we have built a sovereign and independent state. That never happened before. Therefore, it was a historic achievement. I'm proud of it. That's the most important thing. We will buy everything else, as I say," the head of state said.

One of the representatives of the Russian Federation, who also participated in the project, proposed to jointly declare next year in Belarus and Russia the Year of Historical Memory. "Our project and the Year of Historical Memory in Belarus have shown that there are a lot of patriots among young people and there is a keen interest in history. We do not want to lose such experience and therefore we suggest that you, together with your Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, discuss the idea of declaring next year the Year of Historical Memory," she said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko did not rule out that this is possible. "If you don't want to lose this experience, you won't lose it. It's happiness. It's a very good idea. I promise we will discuss this idea soon," he said. “Unless Russian has already made a decision with regard to the following year, then it is possible. The fact that you have publicly proposed this idea is already a step towards it. We will not be able to get out of this. Thank you for your proposal.”

Another initiative suggested by the Memory Train participant from Belarus was to supplement the Mound of Glory with an alley of memorial signs with capsules of soil and descriptions of feats of arms of cities awarded for courage and fortitude during the Great Patriotic War. “It is a very logical, reasonable proposal. I think it a worthy proposal. We will think about it and definitely make a decision this year. It is a good proposal,” the Belarusian President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked the Memory Train participants from Belarus and Russia. “Thank you for your participation. Stay together. It is very important,” he said. “Thank you very much. Well done. I am glad that, after many years (more than 30 years), Russians and Belarusians are together. You are a small number who have traveled on this train, but are the best. It is symbolic. It is an example for all the others,” the President said.

The head of state was given a photo album and the Memory Train symbol as a present.

On Independence Day the memorial grounds turned into a large venue of festivities, including a big exposition of weapons and equipment, refreshments, handicrafts, songs and dances, sports activities and many more.