The celebration of the Belarus’s Independence Day is particular in it’s way because it doesn’t celebrate the liberation from the USSR in the 90’s but the liberation of its capital, Minsk, from the Nazi troops in 1944.
The liberation from the URSS is celebrated on July 27, the day in 1990 when Belarus’ Supreme Council official declared the country free. But in 1996, people voted through a referendum to make July 3 the Independence Day of this landlocked country in Eastern Europe. The day was chosen in honor of those who fought to free Minsk from German forces during the Second World War.
Belarus saw widespread destruction during the Second World War, with third-largest Nazi concentration camp set up in the outskirts of Minsk, where about 200,000 people were cruelly killed. As Nazi Germany invaded Russia in 1941, Belarus became embroiled in bloodbath, which continued until 1944.
The Red Army drove the Germans out of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic (formed at the end of World War I as the Red Army took control of Belarus) and Minsk finally became free on July 3, 1944. The western part of Belarus, which was under Poland after the Treaty of Riga was signed in 1921, was official recognized as the part of Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic at the end of the war in 1945.
The 1990s saw many important developments including the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and the collapse of the USSR, which lead to the creation of independent Republic of Belarus in 1991, and Alexander Lukashenko became the country’s first President.
As in many others countries, Independence Day is observed as a national holiday in Belarus. The day start with a presidential speech, followed by a commemoration of the fallen heroes who fought the Nazi’s forces in 1944 to liberate Minsk. The Independence Day celebrations also include military and civil processions, concerts, and others festivities throughout the country. The day finally comes to an end with a display of fireworks gracing the sky.