Ceremony to honor Belarusian national symbols
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko took part in a ceremony to honor Belarusian national symbols in Minsk. The event took place on the State Flag Square on 8 May.
“The format of today’s event does not envisage any departure from officialdom. Yet, I will allow myself to say a few unofficial words. Why are we holding this landmark event today at the presidential level? The answer is simple: we have lived through the year 2020. We have seen different colors, different banners in that period. On the one hand, it is bad, on the other hand, it is good that we saw those banners and, most importantly, those who were behind those banners,” said the head of state, opening the ceremony.
He also recalled the recent referendum, during which the amendments to the Constitution were adopted. “The emblem and the flag are an integral part of this Constitution. Therefore, today is a significant day, a special day, which gives start to a new breath, a good tradition, which is born in the depths of our new history,” the Belarusian leader stressed. “The symbols that represent our sovereignty and national unity are in front of us.”
According to the President, these symbols were born in the depths of people’s culture in an era of global upheaval and the breakdown of the world order. Generations of people were born and raised with these symbols, bound by historical memory, which even today, at the most critical times, helps the nation to continue the chosen path, overcome challenges and obstacles, the President said. “The same was in the 1990s when the Belarusians rejected the attempts to adjust their way of life to the Western European standards, kept true to traditions, preserved the national wealth: domestic enterprises, land, as well as the right to social justice. The same was in 2020 when we did not let history repeat itself by defending our choice, our values, our flag and anthem,” he said.
Speaking about the national symbols the President stressed that they should distinguish the state from other countries. However, there were those who suggested symbols for Belarus that were very similar to those of neighboring countries. “What emblem was suggested? Pogonya [Pursuit]. Doesn't it resemble the emblem of another country? In my opinion, it does. We were suggested a flag. Add one more stripe, and we would borrow the flag of a neighboring country. Didn’t we have our own history? Did we really want to adjust our history and our country to Lithuania or Poland? How relevant it sounds today!”
“Today they are sharpening knives, swords and sabers in the neighboring state, dreaming of taking away half the country as they did before 1939. Maybe they were suggesting these symbols for their dreams - the dreams of 2020? But I have already said: in 2020 we once and for all put an aspen cross on the grave of those who wanted to ruin and destroy our country,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
He added that the Belarusian emblem and flag are special and differ from the symbols of other states, including the neighboring ones.
Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that there are still people (although they are in the minority) who do not understand why Belarus has such national symbols. “Why not the white-red-white flag, as people call it. I would like to put it straight, without hiding my head in the sand like an ostrich, because in front of you is a man who has initiated questions about symbols of our state in the recent history, listened to the experts and their motivation,” the President said.
First of all, the national symbols should distinguish the state from the other states, the Belarusian leader said. “They should distinguish us from others. What emblem was suggested? Pagonya [Pursuit]. Doesn't it resemble the emblem of another country? In my opinion, it does. We were suggested a flag. Add one more stripe, and we would borrow the flag of a neighboring country. Didn’t we have our own history? Did we really want to adjust our history and our country to Lithuania or Poland? How relevant it sounds today!”
“Today they are sharpening knives, swords and sabers in the neighboring state, dreaming of taking away half of the country as they did before 1939. Maybe they were suggesting these symbols for their dreams - the dreams of 2020? But I have already said: in 2020 we once and for all put an aspen cross on the grave of those who wanted to ruin and destroy our country,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
He added that the Belarusian emblem and flag are special and differ from the symbols of other states, including the neighboring ones. “Symbols are the memory of generations. They should absorb all the best that the people have had in their history,” said the Belarusian leader.
According to him, the red and white colors have been preserved in the national symbols of Belarus. White symbolizes the purity of the Belarusian people, while red is the color of the people's struggle for independence, the color of victory, including that in the Great Patriotic War. “We have added green, which has been a distinctive feature of our symbols in recent years. It is the color of life, of peacefulness. All our victories are based on our desire to be independent and to work honestly on our land,” the head of state stressed.
He also mentioned the ornament of the Belarusian flag, which reflects the dreams and aspirations of the people, their traditions. “In the past, mothers, relatives and loved ones, giving their daughter in marriage, the most precious person they had, embroidered this ornament on the bride's clothes. The mother, embroidering the ornament, thought of a better life for her daughter. A better life could not be without a country. Therefore, we have embodied it in our symbols,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
The President stressed that at the referendum the Belarusian people had been offered to choose the national symbols for the country, and people supported the ones the country has today. “The people made their choice and no bunch of offspring of collaborators and traitors can change this decision today,” said the head of state.
Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled the need to live and act according to the law, which means to respect and fulfill the decisions made by the people in the referendum, including those regarding the national symbols: “Learn to live by the law. If we don't learn how to live by the law, we wouldn’t have the need to fight for independence today. They will simply destroy us. A referendum is the supreme will of the people, the highest law, and we must obey it.
Speaking about the current Belarusian emblem and flag, the President said that in contrast to the symbols of the Soviet era, they do not have a hammer and sickle. They symbolized the participation of workers and farmers in the formation of the state, while in the new era, in the modern history of Belarus, other social strata, including entrepreneurs and intellectuals, were involved in the construction of the country. “Honestly speaking, back then I was suggested nothing and I myself did not come up with anything to replace it. That is why such a flag was preserved. Maybe our children and grandchildren, you, young people, will come up with something new and bring changes to these symbols,” the head of state said.
He added that there was also a long talk on how to replace the image of the hammer and sickle on the emblem. “Then I suggested: if we haven't come up with anything new, let's put the borders of our country [on the emblem] to show that a new independent state has emerged on the globe,” the President said.