Victory Day 2016: Ceremony near Victory Obelisk in Minsk

Victory Day 2016: Ceremony near Victory Obelisk in Minsk

Belarus is celebrating the holiday of nationwide pride and glory. May 9 is one of the most revered dates in our history. During the years of World War II every third inhabitant of Belarus was killed. No other country in the world knew such mass resistance to Nazi aggression.

Victory Day festivities are now being held in all parts of Belarus. Victory Square was the center of the celebrations in Minsk. The morning ceremony to lay flowers and wreaths at the Eternal Flame and the Victory Obelisk in the center of Minsk was attended by the President. Also, thousands of Belarusians came. The main heroes of the day were, of course, veterans.

Together with the President, wreaths were laid by heads of all branches of government, ministers and the clergy.

Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslavl Pavel, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus:
It is very significant that we are celebrating this holiday together. This was the case for Easter, the victory of life over death, and today - the great feast of victory over the "brown plague". We, of course, bow our heads to veterans, those who, sparing no effort, health and life, protected our homeland and our people. And today it is very significant that a peaceful sky is overhead. This is real joy to people's hearts.

Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, Metropolitan of Minsk and Mogilev, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church in the Republic of Belarus:
Belarus can be proud of the interconfessional peace. Belarus is an example John Paul was dreaming about: so that Europe breathes with two lungs - the Western and Eastern Christianity. I always tell everyone to come to us and see with their own eyes what interconfesional peace is. What it means when an Orthodox and a Catholic churches stand on the opposite sides of the street.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
They say that heroes do not die, they go to heaven, and carefully watch us. The heroes of the Great Patriotic War demandingly watch how we are keeping the peace and quiet of our country, which they gave us, the heirs of the winners. On behalf of the grateful people living in all White Rus, I tell you, those who departed from us, I tell the veterans and home front workers. Bowing down before your feat, we are proud and honored to announce that we are holding the sacred memory of your victory, our victory. We will not allow distorting the truth about this victory, falsifying it. We fought for the truth about the war, for the truth about your heroism and we are not ashamed knowing that you are looking at us from the sky. We know you are watching and you are disturbed about those mad people who are pushing the world towards a new world war.

Belarus does not divide a common victory into 'national parts'.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Belarus was the first of the Soviet republics to have faced a severe blow of the aggressor. Here, the smug conquerors of Europe received a real rebuff that led to the failure of their plan for a blitzkrieg. With the establishment of the occupation regime on the Belarusian land, resistance to the aggressors grew every day. During this period, our guerrilla units and connections have destroyed more than 500,000 enemy soldiers and officers. Not fewer than the union armies of the USA and the UK after the opening of the second front.

The world has recognized the suffering and heroism of Belarusians. Belarus is one of the initiators of the United Nations Organization. The political architecture of the world has changed but this organization is still the foundation of peace.

Our country remembers and cherishes the military victories, but leans toward diplomatic ones. This is indicated by front-line soldiers.

A veteran of the Great Patriotic War:
The country is calm and is in order and it's pleasing to see the growing international prestige of our country. 'The Minsk platform' appeared in international diplomatic practice and heads of the major European powers come here.

Many foreigners were in Minsk today. 

Now I'm in Brest, a student. It's very good here!

I came from Nigeria. I've heard a lot about your Victory Day celebrations and am happy to be here today. I'm excited about what's happening at Victory Square.

We in Poland do not celebrate it in such a large scale. But because our countries fought together, we decided to join you.

We are from Germany and are proud to be here to celebrate this day with Belarusians. And today we want to see the best of what you have prepared.

We are from Norway. We have gone a long way to come here and join your patriotic holiday.