Zianon Pazniak

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Zianon Pazniak, 2008

Zianon Pazniak (Belarusian: Зянон Станіслававіч Пазьняк, born April 24, 1944) is a Belarusian nationalist[1] politician, one of the founders of the Belarusian Popular Front and leader of the Christian Conservative Party of the BPF. He has lived in emigration since 1996.


Zianon Pazniak was born in the village of Subotniki in Hrodna Region.

He graduated from the Belarusian State Institute of Theatre and Arts in 1967 and completed his postgraduate studies at the Institute of Ethnography, Art and Folklore in 1972. Upon completion of his university studies, Pazniak worked as an arts researcher. After a wave of Soviet political-administrative repressions in 1974 resulting in the loss of his work at the Arts Institute, Pazniak worked as an archaeologist at the Archaeological Division of the History Institute of the Belarusian Science Academy. His specialisation was the Late Middle Ages in Belarus. He was heavily involved in efforts to preserve the remaining section of the historic centre of Minsk, which was considerably damaged by the redevelopment efforts undertaken by the Soviet administration after the end of the Second World War. In 1981 Pazniak successfully defended a doctoral dissertation on the history of the theatre.

In 1988, Zianon Pazniak made public his researches of NKVD mass executions in the forest of Kurapaty near Minsk. At that time, he became a leader of the Belarusian national movement for freedom and independence. In 1988, along with Vasil Bykau, he was one of the founders of the Belarusian Popular Front and the Belarusian Martyrologue.

From May 1990 until January 1996, Pazniak was a deputy of the Belarusian parliament. As parliamentary deputy, he was the leader of the fraction of the BPF.

He got married in 1995.

In 1996, Zianon Pazniak fled Belarus, citing a potential arrest by the forces of the Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko. He was granted political asylum in the United States.

On June 19, 1997, Belarus's prosecutor's office opened a criminal case against Pazniak accusing him of incitement to ethnic hatred against Russian people.[2]

Following emigration, Zianon Pazniak is still active in leading the CCP-BPF (Christian Conservative Party of the BPF). His endeavour to participate in the presidential elections of 2006 was set back when he refused to forward the requisite number of signatures gathered for his candidacy.

He is a founding signatory of the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism.[3]

Pazniak and Christian Conservative Party of the BPF refused to join elections in the oppositional coalition led by Alexander Milinkevich in 2006 elections.


Stanislav Shushkevich thinks that neither the West nor Belarus needs Pazniak. Shushkevich says Pazniak is a political deserter, he ran away from Belarus, he is cowardly. Pazniak's radicalism was incomprehensible to people. However Pazniak believes that he is the prophet.[4]

Pavel Sheremet thought that Pazniak was an intolerant and a rough politician and his emigration was cowardice.[5]

Alaksiej Janukievich called Pazniak's accusations of collaboration with KGB "paranoia".[6]

Roy Medvedev thinks that Pazniak is a hard and a radical nationalist, a fanatic of national idea.[7]

Valeriya Novodvorskaya said that former leader of belarusian opposition Zenon Pazniak "died" in the day when he was frightened for his precious life and emigrated.[8]


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