Independence Day (Belarus)

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Independence Day
Belarusian: Дзень Незалежнасці
1997. Stamp of Belarus 0232.jpg
A commemorative stamp of belarus honoring the 6th anniversary of independence.
Observed by  Belarus
Type State
Significance The day of the liberation of Belarus from the Wehrmacht.
Celebrations Fireworks, Concerts, Parades
Date July 3
Next time 3 July 2018 (2018-07-03)
Frequency annual

Independence Day of the Republic of Belarus (Belarusian: Дзень Незалежнасці Рэспублікі Беларусь, Russian: День Независимости Республики Беларусь) (Republic Day) is a public holiday, the independence day of Belarus and is celebrated each year on July 3.

A speech by President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko during the Independence Day celebrations on Victory Square in 2010.

History and controversy[edit]

Soldiers on Victors Avenue during a parade in honor of independence day in 2017.

July 3, 1944 was also the liberation of Minsk, capital of Belarus from the Wehrmacht during the Minsk Offensive (code-named "Bagration"). The decision to celebrate Independence Day on July 3, the day of the liberation of Belarus from the Nazis, was made during a controversial national referendum held in 1996 proposed by President Alexander Lukashenko.

There is a public debate in Belarus regarding the appropriate date to be considered Independence Day.[1]

Since 1991, the Independence Day was celebrated on July 27, the day of the Declaration of Sovereignty of Belarus. August 25, 1991, after the August events in Moscow, the Belarusian SSR gave the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Republic the constitutional status of the law. On December 10, 1991 the Supreme Soviet of Belarus ratified the Belavezha Accords which formally declared the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Independence was formally received December 26, 1991 in connection with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Since the early 1920s, various Belarusian political movements and the Belarusian diaspora have been celebrating Independence Day on March 25 as the anniversary of the 1918 declaration of independence by the Belarusian Democratic Republic.[1][2] The date is still widely celebrated by members of the democratic opposition in Belarus and by the diaspora as Freedom Day.

Some opposition politicians like Siarhei Navumchyk and Zianon Pazniak criticize July 3 as the Independence Day and suggest August 25 as the alternative.[3]


A 1997 commemorative coin in honor of the Independence of the Republic of Belarus.

The main event of Independence Day is a solemn military parade. After the official part, the holiday social events start. Throughout the country celebrations and festivities are held. In the evening in Minsk fireworks are arranged. A series of concerts and events are held in Gomel, with a special emphasis on the Belarusian identity.[4]