On July, 3 Belarus celebrated the Independence Day. The holiday is one of many creations of the regime’s propaganda. This is the day when Red Army liberated Minsk from the Nazis in 1944. However, half of Belarus was still remained occupation then. Nevertheless, this date has been made the Independence Day as a result of the referendum in 1996.
As usual, the Independence Day was marked by a parade. Unlike in previous years there was no display of military and agricultural machinery. However, the parade was opened by the military school students and special army units, showing their skills before the president and important guests. The stand of Lukashenka was filled with the so called “forcemen” – ministers of defence, interior and chief prosecutor. The “civic” ministers had to take the back row.
In his speech Lukashenka addressed the defense of Belarus in the first place. He finished the address with the words “Let the sky always be peaceful”.
The parade continued – the soldiers were followed by sportsmen. It was a grotesque picture in the style of Lewis Carrol stories – hockey players and skiers on rollerblades, horsemen, yachts rolling on wheels, people on stilts symbolizing chess figures, parachutists holding the official red-green flags.
According to the official estimates, some 200 000 people came to see the show.
Here some pictures of our photojournalist Julia Darashkevich: