MINSK, 17 September (BelTA) – When in alliance with East Slavic neighbors Belarusian lands made progress, while in the arms of the West - declined, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the patriotic forum "This is OUR History!" to mark the Day of People's Unity in Minsk on 17 September, BelTA has learned.
"We will remember (we can't do without it!) and remind everyone that when in alliance with the East Slavic neighbors the Belarusian lands made progress (Kievan Rus, the Russian Empire, the USSR), while in the arms of the West (more than once we were there) we declined, we degraded as a nation. We were robbed, destroyed as an ethnic group both in the time of Rzeczpospolita and during the period of 20-year Polish rule of our western lands. The lands that today's Polish elites call as their "Kresy Wschodnie"(Eastern Borderlands). You see, they do not view us as Belarusians, just "some kresy". When you think about and recall that some members of Belarusian opposition are self exiled there... Well, what kind of Belarusians are they? What kind of independence are they for? They're for the kresy. I want us to be Belarusians. I want our children to be Belarusians. We will be Belarusians only on our own land," the President stressed.
"Just having received back their state after more than 100-year break literally from the hands of Lenin's Sovnarkom , the Polish authorities immediately laid claim to the Belarusian territories. From the position of today, we see the inevitability of this geopolitical catastrophe in our history," the head of state said.
As time later showed, the people had the will to resist the aggressor, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. But there was no unity in the ruling elites that stood at the origins of the Belarusian national state at the beginning of the 20th century.
"Our land, devastated by the German occupation (at the beginning of the century, not in the middle), was then torn apart by the internal political strife. In 2020, they wanted to sow chaos here again. History repeats itself. Some local nationalists from among the supporters of the BPR dreamed of seizing power at any cost. That was the case in 2020. Those are their heirs. They thought only about power: how to grab it, tear and divide the country among themselves. At the beginning of the century, they were ready to do it under the boot of the Kaiser, under the boot of the Germans. In the middle of the last century, this happened again. Others dreamt of a world revolution: it was not enough for them to have the revolution in this territory, they dreamt of spreading it worldwide. In both cases, the interests of our people were either denied in principle or pushed aside as an "untimely" issue. Our interests were ignored. Why? Because we were not masters of our land. We were not sovereign. We had nothing: there was no state, no power and no land. Therefore, the map of the republic was redrawn in any way possible and by anyone. The worst thing was that it was done without the participation of the Belarusians themselves," the head of state said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled that the Byelorussian Socialist Soviet Republic in 1921, after the conclusion of the Riga Peace Treaty, consisted of six districts of the former Minsk Province on the area of just over 52,000 square kilometers. The population of the country then was about one and a half million people. "The treaty was not peaceful for Western Belarusians. The price of territorial losses was the broken fate of millions of Belarusians. Still alive are those whose keep memories of the painful 18 years of life on different sides of the border, which passed not only through villages and cities but also through people's hearts. Borders that divided a single people," the president said.
According to him, back then, "during the Polish time" Belarusians devoted to their traditions, culture, faith and language had nothing but bitter "orphan's" bread, slave labor and destroyed families.
"They rose up to fight for themselves. They stood up to defend their national culture, language, and human dignity, launching a large-scale partisan movement and paying (even then, before the Great Patriotic War) with their lives for freedom. Historians have counted several hundred large and small uprisings of Belarusians and Ukrainians over the 20-year Polish interwar period: from the First World War to the Great Patriotic War. We remember the cruelty with which the Skidel Uprising was suppressed, when Polish gendarmes massacred everyone, sparing no one: old people, women or children. We remember the savage torture of the prisoners of the Bereza-Kartuska concentration camp. We remember the heroes who became symbols of popular resistance in Western Belarus: Sergei Pritytsky, Vera Khoruzhaya, Ded Talash, Kirill Orlovsky, Stanislav Vaupshasov and other our countrymen," the head of state said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the strength and greatness of the unconquered Belarusian spirit is reflected in the works of Maksim Tank, Valentin Tavlai, Maksim Sevruk, Grigory Shirma and many others. "We see, we feel and remember," he added.