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Belarus: A Holiday, Sort Of

On July 3, Belarus celebrated its Independence Day with a military parade.

Belarusian analyst Alexander Klaskouski wrote a lengthy article (RUS) for the TUT.by portal, in which he explained, among other things, the history and the politics behind the date of the holiday:

[…] July 3 was chosen to spite political enemies, to rebut the nationalists who mark Freedom Day on March 25 (honoring the [Belarusian People's Republic]), and to cross out the decision of the disbanded organ, the Supreme Council, to celebrate independence on July 27, honoring the adoption of the Declaration of Sovereignty in 1990 (many people no longer remember that until the mid-1990s this was the main holiday). […]

LJ user rokobungi, in a post titled A Holiday, Sort Of (RUS), looks back to the time of the referendum of Nov. 24, 1996, when the date of the holiday was approved. The blogger notes the fact that July 3 is the date of the 1944 liberation of Minsk. Also, he cites the referendum vote results:

[…] 5,450,830 people voted in favor of moving the Independence Day [to a different date) – 88.18 percent; 646,708 people voted against it – 10.46 percent; and 83,925 ballots […] were recognized as invalid. […]

This year there were lots of police in the streets, possibly due to the fact that crowds were too big last year at the same celebration. LJ user sammy-belarus writes in her blog (RUS):

[…] The police have surpassed themselves this year. They were checking everyone with metal detectors, and there was a fixed camera filming everyone who was passing through. [Other] restrictions: one couldn't carry any alcohol in, only soft drinks in small transparent bottles were allowed; no cameras with lenses longer than 4 cm; and, naturally, access was denied to people who were tipsy […].

A lot Minsk residents left the city that day. Some of them went to their summer houses, others went camping.

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