MINSK, 31 March (BelTA) – Russian does not mean only Russia's. It is also Belarus'. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement in his Address to the nation and the parliament on 31 March while saying that the Belarusian state is also a genuine successor of the historical legacy of the Ancient Rus, BelTA has learned.
The president stressed that Belarusian statehood originally evolved on the basis of traditions of the rule of the people. “Our democratic traditions have millennia-old history. While the West was going through the dark ages as historians describe it, our ancestors, the residents of the Polotsk and Turov principalities were busy building the foundations of legal and political interaction between authorities and the people. The Belarusian state is also a genuine successor of the historical legacy of the Ancient Rus. It is time to put a stop to all the insinuations about that! The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was also Russian. It means it was Eastern Slavonic, which is ours. To those, who are concerned about the topic of the Russian world and who tremble at the mention of Russians, I will simply say: Russian does not mean only Russia's, it is ours, too.”
The head of state remarked that origins of Belarusian religious tolerance and respect for other nations can also be found in the historic past. “Over seven centuries ago the Belarusian land welcomed thousands of Jews, who had been fleeing an outburst of anti-Semitism and pogroms in ‘enlightened' Europe. Back then Belarus offered home to multiple representatives of the Tatar people, who also sought peace and creation and carried Allah in their hearts as they ran towards us, Christians, Orthodox Christians. Elements of different national cultures are organically integrated into our daily lives. We traditionally celebrate two Christmases and three Easters. We respect Eid al-Adha. On the whole, it is comfortable for representatives of all national diasporas to live here. It will always be like that. We are doomed to it,” the Belarusian leader stated.