MINSK, 1 March (BelTA) – Kuropaty Forest will be tidied up, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with community leaders, experts, Belarusian and foreign media on 1 March, BelTA has learned.
“We will get Kuropaty tidied up whether someone likes it or not. People were killed there,” Alexander Lukashenko said. “I do not think it is right to exhume the bones of people to see whether they were killed by the Nazis, Stalinists or someone else,” he noted.
The president said that he had instructed to set up a simple monument in Kuropaty in order to perpetuate the memory of people. The head of state stressed that as soon as he gave those instructions he came under a lot of criticism. He added that some use the Kuropaty issue for propaganda purposes. “Yes, those horrible things happened. But take a look at other countries where hundreds or even millions of people were killed. Still some people in our country want to dwell on this Stalin period, show that there were enemies,” he said. “Indeed, there were such. Maybe too many. But this does not mean that we should see everything as Stalinism. Indeed, people were killed under Stalin in the 1930s. But are you sure it was not the Nazis who executed Jews, Belarusians, Poles, Ukrainians, and Russians in this place? Well, let's be objective,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The head of state raised the topic of broken “Clinton's Bench” in Kuropaty. He said that he ordered the bench immediately mended and dismissed the allegations that the authorities had something to do with it as nonsense.
Alexander Lukashenko touched upon the history of the Belarusian People's Republic (BPR). The president noted that “the country is moving in the right direction with regard to the assessment of the role and importance of the BPR. We will sort everything out, how things were in a calm way, without propaganda.”
He emphasized the big role of the unity of people for statehood: “We have enough of our own problems. No turmoil, either from Russia or the West, or elsewhere, will deter us on our way if we are united, if we act like we know it, like we have it in our mind rather than “we think alike but behave differently”, the president said.
The head of state emphasized the importance of preserving traditions, including in relation to certain holidays. “Let us take the 9 May celebrations. Why do we have to give this holiday away? We lost every third person in the war. I was an active advocate of this holiday. I wanted it to be popularized, embedded in the mindset of our people, which would help cultivate a sense of statehood in the youth,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
Alexander Lukashenko also spoke in favor of preserving Labor Day marked on 1 May. “Let it be a professional holiday within the competence of the trade unions,” he added.
The head of state believes that it is important to draw lessons from the history and not deprive people of the opportunity to honor traditions and celebrate holidays. “Let them celebrate. Why do we have to fight with these people? We need to understand them,” the president said. “The same is true about the Belarusian People's Republic (BPR). Do not rush, for God's sake. Very soon we will take a decision on the BPR at the state level, at the level of the president. Let's give more time to Igor Marzalyuk [chairman of the standing commission on education, culture and science of the House of Representatives] and his group to look into pluses and minuses, to see what was true and what was not, look behind the scenes of the BPR in order not to make a mistake, not to give any reason for driving a wedge in our society. It is our kids who will have to deal with the consequences of our mistakes if we make any,” Alexander Lukashenko said.