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Opinions & Interviews

3 Jul 2020

Lukashenko: Belarusians chose freedom over their lives during the war

Lukashenko: Belarusians chose freedom over their lives during the war

MINSK, 3 July (BelTA) – In the years of the Great Patriotic War Belarusian people made a historic choice – they put freedom before their own lives, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he addressed the Belarusians on the occasion of Independence Day during the flower ceremony on Victory Square in Minsk, BelTA has learned.

“Here, in this sacred place, we pay tribute to heroes who fought for our land and brought the Great Victory closer. In the years of the Great Patriotic War the Belarusian people made a historic choice – they put freedom before their own lives. The descendants of the ancient Slavic people – strong, proud and independent – did not have other options. These people have never enslaved anybody. These people have never been slaves,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The president remarked that for this reason a fierce fight against the oppressors was underway on the Belarusian soil from the very first days of the invasion. Partisans, underground fighters, and committed civil population were ready to sacrifice their lives because they did not want to serve the Nazis. The Minsk underground movement united several thousand people. “Hundreds of heroes of the Minsk underground movement were tortured to death in Nazi torture chambers, shot or hanged. No other city in Europe showed such large-scale resistance amid the terrible occupation regime,” the Belarusian leader said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced that the names of Belarusian partisans and underground fighters, such as Ivan Kovalev, Isay Kazinets, Dmitry Korotkevich, Vladimir Omelyanyuk, Ivan Kabushkin, and others, must be remembered. “These are true patriots, real, unimaginary heroes. Our compatriotism, who lived very short lives but did so much for the Fatherland,” he stressed. “In that war we lost one third of our people. I often repeat it for those pretending that they do not know how much our people paid for life and the future of next generations – all of us.”

Belarus also remembers soldiers of brotherly republics who fought their last fight on the Belarusian soil, those who liberated Baltic countries and Poland, Bulgaria and Romania, Hungary and Austria, Czechia and Germany from the Nazis and who were buried there. “We feel sorrow for veterans who are no longer with us,” the president said.

The participants of the ceremony honored the memory of the heroes with a minute of silence.

Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed special gratitude to veterans: “Thank you, dear veterans, that you held out and protected the Homeland! Your irresistible courage, perseverance and patriotism have become a beacon for us which helps us rise to the occasion,” the president said.

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