Commemorative event dedicated to 80th anniversary of Khatyn tragedy
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko took part in a commemorative event dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the Khatyn tragedy on 22 March.
Upon arrival, the head of state and his sons paid a visit to a museum that has opened at the Khatyn Memorial Complex.
The head of state was shown the museum exhibition, which tells the story of the tragedy of Khatyn, and also shows, through the connection of generations and eras, what wars, hardships and deprivations the ancestors of modern inhabitants of Belarus faced, and how they had to defend their native land and the right to live on it. The main emphasis is placed on the events of World War II and the Great Patriotic War.
The museum features a lot of exhibits and modern interactive technologies, which can tell a very realistic story about the terrible events of the past years. Behind every wall, every photo in the museum are the terrible crimes committed by the Nazis and their collaborators on the Belarusian soil.
The total number of burned and damaged villages in Belarus is 10,961. But even this figure is not the final one, the president was told.
“It is truly unique,” the head of state said after the tour of the museum.
He stressed that earlier the events of the war years were depicted in a somewhat cinematic way. In the new museum, everything is very close to reality. “Everything is simple and clear. Exactly as it was then,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.
He is sure that the exposition will impress visitors.
After the tour of the museum Aleksandr Lukashenko left a message in the Book of Distinguished Guests.
Aleksandr Lukashenko laid a wreath at the Eternal Flame in Khatyn during a commemorative event to mark the 80th anniversary of the Khatyn tragedy. The commemorative event observed a minute of silence to pay tribute to the victims.
Address of Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko at the commemorative event to mark the 80th anniversary of the Khatyn tragedy
Dear compatriots, dear friends, guests of Belarus!
Memory and duty have brought us to Khatyn today. To the village that is no longer and will never appear on the geographic map of Belarus. Time stopped here exactly 80 years ago: the history of Belarusian families, who peacefully lived in their own land, stopped. As many as 149 lives of the elderly, women, and children, including yet unborn children, were snuffed out.
This tragedy as well as thousands of equally horrible crimes committed during the Great Patriotic War remains set in stone and in the heart of the Belarusian nation forever. In the heart of the victorious nation, a powerful and magnanimous one that knows how to forgive.
Up till now we’ve been trying not to burden with the feeling of guilt children and grandchildren of the butchers, who came to our land in order to conclusively put the problem of Slavs to rest. Eastern Slavs. We have not previously underlined that most of the Western Europe countries had joined Nazi Germany and the world capital had paid for this crusade. Today they enforce sanctions against us and have launched an economic and informational war.
But we haven’t forgotten and will remind descendants of the death squads how the Belarusian land became one big death camp back in 1941. How people were burned alive, crushed by tanks, drowned, and killed with direct heavy cannon fire. How children were buried alive in order to save bullets. How chemical agents were sprayed over our towns and villages.
On 22 March, Belarus mourns residents of nearly 11,000 villages, towns, and isolated farmsteads that were burned partially or completely. “We mourn all the innocent victims of Nazism, all the heroes who didn’t come home from that war. We mourn 50 million residents of the planet. Most of them were our Soviet people. Never forget.
(The commemorative event observed a minute of silence to pay tribute to the victims).
You know that fascism has no human face, but it has names. These are names of murderers and traitors. And we know them. There are heirs and ideological successors whose gene of hatred towards us, the entire Slavic civilization, our people has activated again. “Aryan standards” were replaced with liberal democratic values. They have been filtering out people who do not meet the new standard for a long time. This is done by means of color revolutions, riots, proxy wars, sanctions, blackmail. We also know how far this can go.
Unfortunately, this is already happening in neighboring countries where we see a surge in neo-Nazism activity on the ruins of the memory of the Soviet legacy and the Great Victory, on the ruins of destroyed monuments to victorious soldiers.
We see how the instincts of ancestors - Ukrainian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Polish punitive brigade members who threw our children, the elderly and women into the fire – are waking up. Therefore, we must and we will do everything to commemorate the feat of the generation of Soviet people who showed extraordinary courage and heroism. We need to make Khatyn a place of strength for the Belarusian people. This is our duty.
In these minutes I’d like to address young Belarusians. We are proud of you. Of all of you. Particularly of those, who took part in the reconstruction of this memorial complex. The museum we open under the Khatyn sky today is your child as well. Together we have implemented a project designed to make the memory of horrors of that war even more painful. I very much wanted people to feel pain in their hearts even before they set foot on the sacred soil of Khatyn. I think we’ve managed to accomplish that.
In the Year of Peace and Creation we, Belarusians say it clearly and loudly: there is no justification for a genocide policy, nothing is more important than a human life.
I want to tell you that once again and hope that you will listen. Come here more often, bring your children with you, your neighbors, other people. If we forget the road to Khatyn, everything will be repeated. We must avoid that. Life is the most precious of all treasures.
Take care, live long, be healthy and wealthy. It is very important in this piece of Belarusian land.
Aleksandr Lukashenko visited the church, which was restored in the place of the previous one that was destroyed during the Great Patriotic War, and lit a candle there as part of the commemorative events.
During the visit to the memorial complex Aleksandr Lukashenko talked to mass media representatives.
"Being in Khatyn... The feeling is special. That tragedy is impossible to compare to anything," the Belarusian leader stressed. “Indeed, our land is dotted with monuments. In the Middle Ages Belarus was a land of castles. Now it is a land of monuments."
"It's our pain, our memory. This memory brings us here," Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “As long as we come here together with children, this will not happen again. Once we stop, the tragedy might knock on our door again. Young Belarusians are good people. With time many things get forgotten, erased from memory. Still in Belarus we remember those times. Meanwhile other countries not just forget some things. They have Nazis parade their streets."
He emphasized that there are many other monuments in Belarus and they are all taken good care of.
In due time the head of state instructed to make the museum exposition as accurate as possible. This instruction was implemented in full. The same is true about the reconstruction of the memorial complex in general.
“It is of utmost importance for us. Let this immortal piece of land be an example of how to honor the people who gave us the chance to live today,” the head of state said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko called upon Belarusians to stay united and keep their guard up as he commented to the media on the recent incident at the Machulishchi airfield and the elimination of a terrorist in Grodno.
“Attempts to conduct terrorist attacks in Belarus is something absolutely new for us. It's not something we didn't expect, either. We were expecting it. Both I and the military. But anyway it still seems unbelievable to us. What I would like is to see our people stay united. People see everything. You just tell us in time (I always address the people with such a request) if you see a stranger that looks or behaves weird. Just give us a signal,” the head of state said.
He revealed some details about an attempted terrorist attack at Machulishchi airfield: “You just can't imagine how fast the special services responded then. Thousands of people were involved. Those criminals were detected within five days. People were providing us with information: someone saw a person, a car and so on. We were following the tracks, we were searching. It is not always enough however. This is not because people were hiding something from us. This is because people just live their lives quietly and complacently. But today we need to see everything that is going on around us.”
In his words, the recent developments are a signal for people. It is important for people to stay vigilant, for example, when renting apartments and in other situations.
“The unity of security, military and law enforcement agencies as well as our people is of crucial importance today. This will make our life easier in the future,” the Belarusian leader said.
“I am not saying that we have to tell on others, to slander someone. No. We have to be very careful,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Well, this man, who can't even use a wig and makeup properly, just knew that the cameras would record him. They did. We detected him, I think, in Mogilev and followed him around Belarus for a few days. We saw all the stuff he did. Frankly speaking, he does not know how to use makeup and wigs, or maybe he was doing it on purpose. But people were informing us. Except for those scumbags who let him into their apartment. They have been detained, and we are working with them. They are simply outlaws. Why does it always happen that all the terrorists take refuge in such apartments. And the owners always say that they “have nothing to do with it”, “know nothing about it”.
“We must not get complacent. Yes, we won in 2020, God helped us. We were not gearing up for this. We could not even think that something like this could happen on this sacred land. But it happened. And it repeated in Russia. They however learned from our experience and nipped it in the bud. We must not get complacent. Neither we nor Russians. This is the most important thing today,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. He added that if the situation gets out of control somehow, the West will immediately use it against the two countries.
Talking about the situation in the country after failed terrorist attacks, Aleksandr Lukashenko said that a number of operations in Belarus’ territory are still in progress.
“They [the West] no longer have anything to respond with. You know, they arrested Ukrainians and Belarusians over there. And surprise! Those people work for Russia. Ukrainians, Belarusians, and the rest did. But nobody tries to prove anything. Nobody shows the people, who worked for Russia. They were just branded as spies. Everything is simple: they want to swap them. They grab people in order to suggest that Russia or Belarus should swap them for someone. They have already suggested it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The question addressed to the head of state mentioned the UK’s recent statements about the intention to supply Ukraine with depleted-uranium ammunition. A Russian reporter asked the head of state to comment on that. Aleksandr Lukashenko immediately responded to the question by saying: “I’ll say that Russia will supply us with ammunition with ‘genuine’ uranium.”
The Belarusian leader said: “If those people [in the West] are crazy, then they give a nudge to this process. It is the most dreadful and most dangerous thing. This is why it is necessary to slightly steer away from craziness.”
The President stressed that once this ammunition is used, Russia’s response and the consequences will be terrible: “Once this ammunition blows up at positions of Russian troops, you will see that the response will be a terrible lesson for the entire planet. Russia has more than depleted uranium. You know it perfectly well.”
“It is not a good idea to start a trend towards escalation in this war. It is necessary to move towards a peaceful resolution the kind Putin and Xi Jinping talked about. The Russian leadership and one of the world’s largest powers – China – and many other nations agree with that,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.
Dwelling on the topic of escalation on the part of the West, Aleksandr Lukashenko answered a question of representatives of Russian mass media, who wondered whether anyone has “brakes” over there. He said: “No. They don’t have brakes. In addition to uranium do you remember what that crazy ambassador said? I am thinking now. It is a big question for me. I think your leadership [Russia’s] after Xi Jinping’s visit will start thinking harder about it. Putin and I will pay attention to it. [The ambassador] stated that if they lose or are about to lose in Ukraine, then they will start fighting. Poles will.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that Europeans are already sick and tired of the Polish government and its policy. He remarked: “For instance, Germans tremble already.” “Everyone is sick and tired of them. Because Americans sit over there now. There is no sovereignty or independence over there. Poles do what Americans tell them to do. There are no elections over there. Poles are not dumb people. But who listens to them? Poland is such a totalitarian country,” he noted.
“And then [the ambassador] blurted out they will fight against Russia. Which means they will start with us. What are we to do? I say again: the first question we will discuss with Putin is how we should put them in their place,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
He stressed if Ukraine’s leadership were a little bit smarter, everything would have ended a long time ago. “In the end, those are mainly our kind of people. We understand them, they understand us. But over there, particularly Poland is a hyena of Europe. Then there are Lithuanians. They and Poles hate each other as well. You know why. So, Americans have brought them together. This belt has been created. They are getting ready to fight against us. Well, they may try,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “This is why uranium is idle talk. If they are smart, they will never do it. I think we will be able to talk to responsible people in the UK and discuss this issue soon.”
In conclusion the head of state stressed that it is not a good idea to play some games now. “Belarusians and Russians have to take care of their own interests. So that our people will not die like they did in 1941, god forbid. Everyone tried to placate the Nazi so hard back then. They placated them so hard that the Nazi nearly reached Moscow several months later. This is why it is necessary to make the relevant conclusions from it.”
While talking to reporters, Aleksandr Lukashenko explained why the West is enraged due to Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “We are confident we are moving in the right direction. At least as far as Belarus and Russia are concerned. We are moving where doors are open for us. If a door is closed, why should we try to force it open? They will come to us. They are silently coming out of the woodwork to reach us, trade, and the rest. Europe already complains about America. While encouraging Europe [to enforce sanctions and sever ties], Americans trade with Russians very well and so on. It is business. And these lousy Western politicians create this situation with one hand and use the other hand to try to not only talk to us fraudulently but trade with us and develop economy. This is why we go where we are welcomed. We are doing the right thing. But they understood that they had done the wrong thing, too.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded about his previous meetings with high-ranking USA representatives during Donald Trump’s presidency. Back then the head of state told them: “Are you totally crazy? Tell your President that they have done the best thing for us, for Russia, and for China by bringing us all together.”
“You [the West] simply bring us together. And they will not hold against this front. [The U.S. President’s former national security advisor John] Bolton repeated it today. This is why they are enraged. They understood that they had done everything to unite the mighty resourceful, space and nuclear power of Russia with the equally mighty, full of human resources, future-oriented nuclear power of China. One can say it is already the world’s top power. This is why they are enraged,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
When asked about the projected development of the country’s economy, the President said the economy has not fallen and will not fall.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “The first quarter of the year confirms my optimism that this year should be and will be at least as good as last year. If we live this year just like we did last year and if we hit performance targets set at a government meeting on top of that, we will live a normal life.”
The head of state stressed that Belarus had managed to survive in complicated conditions, including in the face of severe sanctions-fuelled pressure, because the country had preserved a solid manufacturing base inherited from the Soviet Union. “Because we didn’t destroy what we’d inherited from the Soviet Union. Why are we such heroes now? Why can I talk about some economic matters and about modern technologies in Iran and China? Because during the Soviet times we were the brain. Ukraine, Belarus, and partially the Baltic states were the brain. What is left now? Nothing. Except what Belarus has,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated. “All the products are in demand. Because we stand on shoulders of Soviet giants. Optics, electronics, lasers, and the rest are made in Belarus, too.”
In some areas Belarus has made a significant leap forward and has surpassed other countries. For instance, in microelectronics. “They are great guys. They are not lagging behind at all,” he remarked. Although some people believe that Belarusian microelectronics products are inferior to imports as far as nanometers are concerned. But a recent government conference on microelectronics revealed that positions of Belarusian enterprises are rather strong. According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, he mentioned it in a phone call with President of Russia Vladimir Putin. “We have everything to allow aircraft to fly, tanks to drive, and rockets to fly into outer space,” the Belarusian leader said. “I told him plainly: if we cannot make a phone, an iPhone today, we will buy one. But we have everything to allow tractors, electric vehicles, motorcycles, automobiles, missiles, combat vehicles, and aircraft to move.”
Belarus and Russia are now channeling additional financial resources into the development of the microelectronics industry. It will foster consequent technological advance in the economy sector, Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced. “It may be good that they [Western countries] have enforced sanctions. We will now focus on ourselves. We will not count on selling natural gas, oil, on earning billions of U.S. dollars and giving them back in exchange for all kinds of ‘trifles’ like Russia [used to]. We will make these trifles on our own and will make them in Russia and Belarus. These are our plans,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said figuratively speaking.
“It is absolutely true that we have not fallen. You can feel it. Yes, people’s lives vary… But we have not fallen and will not fall,” the President stated.
The head of state was asked about the political campaign that is scheduled for next year and about the public sentiments about it. “If we stay grounded, everything will be fine,” Aleksandr Lukashenko replied.
According to the President, the beginning of next year will not be easy because of the election campaigns. Yet, the good thing is that they will not overlap with other large-scale events, such as spring sowing. “Therefore, we will handle this. But, of course, we should not lower our guard. In fact, those bastards who fled, several hundred of them who are the most active, will have to show to their sponsors that they can do more than just write posts on Telegram channels. And they have one goal - war. I have warned you. They have tried this and that: rebellion, color revolutions, media warfare (it still continues). The only remaining tool that they will want to try is to take up arms and fight. So they are trying to show their worth. They are preparing. We know this, we know them by their names,” the head of state noted.
In particular, such persons are being trained to destabilize the situation in Belarus by units of Belarusian self-exiled opposition who are participating in hostilities in Ukraine. “We know what they are up to, how they are preparing. They have recently stepped up their activities. If they are not given money now, their days are numbered. That is why they are trying to show that they can do something, and all this is happening in the build-up to the elections. “In February 2024 we will have the parliamentary elections, the elections to the Councils of Deputies at all levels on the single voting day. It will be followed by the elections of delegates to the Belarusian People’s Congress. After that we will proceed to the Presidential election. We are responsible for public security. And the rest is on you. People will make a decision, as they always do. If you decide that you need a different life, go ahead and give it a try,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. The President is convinced that the recent developments prompted Belarusians to look at many things differently. The head of state noted that Belarus has maintained peace and tranquility and this should be appreciated. “I don’t want it to be like it is in Ukraine today. I have children, many of you have children. I would like children to have a normal life,” the President said.