ISSN 2330-717X

Dashing Hopes, Lukashenka Cracks Down On Commemorations Of Belarusian Peoples Republic Centennial – OpEd


Despite hopes Alyaksandr Lukashenka would not oppose the commemoration of the centenary of the Belarusian Peoples Republic today, expectations fed by his latest turn away from Moscow and the approval local officials had given for numerous meetings, the Belarusian leader set his police against organizers and demonstrators across the country.


In advance of the various meetings on this anniversary that would have been the first such public manifestations about the BNR in 20 years, the Belarusian government detained organizers and leading opposition figures setting their court dates for tomorrow or later to keep them away from the activities.

Minsk also imposed traffic restrictions to limit the ability of Belarusians to come into the capital or other major cities; and when Belarusians chose to come out for demonstrations or concerts, the police moved in and began mass arrests, disrupting the events but only after the Belarusians had shown their commitment to taking part.

Belarus thus remains the only country which gained its independence the first time during the collapse of the Russian Empire not to commemorate this event officially. Instead, its officials continue to dismiss the formation and brief activities of the BNR in tendentious and inaccurate Soviet terms.

On this still confused situation, see,,, and


Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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