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Independence Day 2017 in Belarus: How it happened

Belarus celebrated the main holiday of the Belarusian statehood - Independence Day - on July 3. This day is a symbol of national pride, a tribute to heroism and the staunchness of the defenders of the Fatherland.

INDEPENDENCE DAY 2017 PARADE: FULL VIDEO

That is why it is celebrated on the anniversary of the liberation of Minsk from the Nazi invaders, which happened back in July 1944. During this small time (in history terms) Belarus has proved its worth as the independent state which carries out a peace-loving multi-vector foreign policy, said the country's President Alexander Lukashenko, speaking on July 3 at the parade in honor of Independence Day.

Almost 250,000 people took part in the festivities near the stela "Minsk - Hero City".

Veterans became the main guests of the holiday, of course. The head of state said special words of gratitude.

Spectators:
We are very pleased to have gathered today at the parade to celebrate this holiday.

We try to get to the parade every year. With our child.

This is a joy for us all. We all proudly honor this holiday.

Evgeny Zaitsev, veteran of the Great Patriotic War:
Where there were breakthroughs, the military command sent troops there.

I participated in the liberation of Belarus, and went with my military unit almost to the Elbe.

Alexei Kovalchuk, veteran of the Great Patriotic War:
I fought against the Nazis together with the British and American troops. I was in the Atlantic up to the Arctic.

Over a quarter of a century of modern history, Belarus has also overcome many difficulties and hardships. It became a worthy successor to the USSR, the country which conquered the brown plague of the 20th century - Nazism. In the 21st century, Belarus is a country that is considered a strategic partner by such huge nations as Russia and China. The uniqueness of Belarus is that it is here where countries look for peaceful ways of resolving military crises these days. A thin peace is better than any war.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
We are proud of the fact that Belarus has proved its worth as an independent state that pursues multi-vector foreign policy. Our unchanging principle is the equality of all countries and their non-interference in each other's internal affairs. We stand for the solution of any international conflicts exclusively at the negotiating table.

Unfortunately, other countries did not want to follow this example. What did this lead to? There is an increase in global instability. International security is ruined. The countries of Europe entered the path of militarization. The United States is deploying here, at our borders, a missile defense system and improving its nuclear capabilities. Our answer is the modern Belarusian army. It is constantly modernized, it is mobile, well-trained and well-armed.

It is important to note that the national defense and industrial complex makes a significant contribution to improving the combat readiness of Belarus.

The country successfully develops its own rocket engineering. You can name more than a hundred samples of Belarusian military products which are fundamentally new and innovative. The military arsenal that we possess will be shown today during the parade. Everyone will be able to make sure we have everything we need to fight back any aggressor.

73 years of liberation of Belarus is a lot. But such dates don't have any expiry date.

Perhaps, we in Belarus do not have a family that was not affected by WWII. Every third Belarusian died in that war.

That's why Victory and Independence concern everyone.

MORE: ALL PHOTOS FROM 2017 INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE

Evgeny Gorin, CTV:
Traditionally, the parade is opened by a new generation - young drummers of the Suvorov military school. During 60 years, this Belarusian school gave a start to the careers of about 13,000 young men.

Territorial defense troops took part in the parade in 2017 for the first time.

The right to open the course of the motorized column was given to the legendary tank of WWII T-34. Otherwise only modern machinery took part in the parade. Tanks that hit the target located four kilometers away, and Polonez, whose firing range is twice as large as that of Russian Smerch.

The Belarusian military industrial complex produces new items almost every year. The armored amphibian Caiman and the reconnaissance vehicle. The task to create such a model was set by the President. Development from scratch took three years.

By the way, woman designed this vehicle.

Another novelty is lightly armored Volat-V1, which was shown only in Paris before the Minsk parade. Under the hood is enhanced anti-mine protection. The column of wheeled and caterpillar vehicles stretched over three kilometers.

Evgeny Gorin:
The Belarusian army, like the economy, is constantly being modernized. Sometimes people joke that if all civil officials had the same level of discipline we would have even higher results.

Taking part in the parade for the first time were Belarusian drones Berkut-2, Grif-1 and Grif-100.

By the way, in the sky above the stela there was a real air parade. Pilots of the Ministry of Emergency Measures and DOSAAF also made a debut at the parade.

In the peaceful sky of Belarus there were also air vehicles from Russia. Their participation in the holiday is symbolic: both Belarusian and Russian peoples fought for independence in the Great Patriotic War together and now they are together building the Union State.

Sergei Lebedev, Chairman of the Executive Committee - CIS Executive Secretary:
We have an understanding that yes, we are an independent and sovereign state. But we "clear" this independence even more when we are together. Because when we are together, no one else from outside can break us or make us kneel.

Therefore, it is very important that we continue to stay together.

To see the Belarusian Independence Day, Finn Christian Karimo crossed thousands of kilometers. The foreigner is impressed both by the military power of Belarus and by pictures from the peaceful life of the country.

Kristian Karimo, businessman (Finland):
I really liked the wide streets, avenues. Yesterday I walked around the city, spent a lot of time in the center and appreciated the architecture of your city.

For a year now in Minsk, I have been cooperating with a Belarusian IT company. You have a very good business climate.

Among the audience, there are many high state officials and foreign diplomats.

Andrei Kobyakov, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus:
We understand what to work on. We know where our weak spots are, where we are strong and how they can be used to the best.

The opportunity to choose the path of development, to make decisions and implement them, to achieve results and successes... All this, in my opinion, is the very independence.

Alexander Surikov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Belarus:
Belarus has reached the main point - the state has become stronger, has become independent, sovereign (in the full sense of the word) and it has its own voice in the world. This is the main achievement, and I congratulate the Belarusian people on this.

Natalia Kochanova, head of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Belarus:
It is important that today there are so many people. Look! In the city of Minsk, at this beautiful parade, we saw everything that is produced in our country.

And the most important thing is our veterans, dear and beloved, who have allowed us to live in such a beautiful country.

Peaceful Belarus is, first of all, an economically developed country which now focuses on innovative technologies.

We have managed to preserve all the best that remained after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Modernizing enterprises we produce modern and in-demand products for foreign markets.

At the head of the column are Belarusian-Chinese passenger cars.

This is a completely new direction in the domestic engineering industry. In 2017, a new plant with a full production cycle was built. Its capacity is up to 60,000 cars a year.

Next was agricultural machinery. The giant MTZ tractor with 450hp is in front of others. MTZ supplies tractors to the whole world. More than 60% of Belarusian machine building products are exported.

Andrei Belyakov, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the BRSM Youth Union:
Independence Day is a holiday of pride for your country, which unites all Belarusians. Not only those who live here, but also outside our country. Therefore, vyshyvanka and our traditions, history, and culture united all people.

I am very glad that we have such a holiday in Belarus.

Alexander Chirko, Afghanistan war veteran:
Our country has achieved great results. We can say that we are a successful state - everything is created for people. Therefore, there is something to be proud of.

If you compare with other countries (my friends, whom I fought with in Afghanistan before, live in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine)... They envy us.

Various enterprises of Belarus presented their novelties and long-time brands - the basis of the country's export potential.

BelAZ dump truck is striking in size and power.

The vehicle is the largest in the world in its class, its maximum capacity is 450 tons. Just to compare: Airbus A380 - the largest passenger aircraft in the world - weighs almost half less.

BelAZ today is one third of the world market of quarry equipment and it is known in more than 70 countries.

Another Belarusian "know-how" is timber processing equipment. It brought the newest approaches to forestry industry management and allowed to use minimum of human labor in the most laborious stages of work.

Spectators:
So much machinery - cars and MAZs. I'm very excited.

The training of the military was outstanding, so many military vehicles! And we always see something new. We go every year and it's interesting.

I liked Belarusian developments more. Those that are new. Civil vehicles and tractors. We don't have such things and parades are now a rare event in Ukraine.

At this holiday, many achievements could be seen for the first time. The Academy of Sciences, for example, presented an unmanned aerial vehicle and airship.

The column included 28 expositions: from petrochemical industry to furniture and products. Everything Belarus can be rightfully proud of.

One of the most awaited numbers of today's peaceful procession was famous tractor ballet. The organizers call it "Dance of little tractors". This is new industrial art. To make tractors look graceful and elegant, they, like any artists, need rehearsals. Rehearsals take at least a month.

As the final number the spectators saw 2,500 participants - athletes, schoolchildren and students - performing the large-scale number "Belarus, be beautiful!"

The main hero of the holiday - in the center of the celebration - was the biggest flag of the Republic of Belarus with a width of 5.5m and a length of 45m.

Nine thousand balloons in the colors of the state flag have soared up into the sky.

During the entire day, Independence Day festivities continued throughout Minsk and other Belarusian towns.

Finishing the festive program were fireworks displays in six spots in Minsk.

Independence Day 2017 in Belarus: How it happened