Lukashenka speaks at Victory Day ceremony

The Belarusian people will not impose their convictions on others but will always extend a helping hand to those who need help, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said Wednesday, speaking at a ceremony held in Minsk on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany.

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“We know the price of freedom and independence,” the Belarusian leader said. That is why we have a profound respect for history and defend the principles of justice, honesty and equality. While pursuing a peaceful policy and respecting the interests of other nations, we will not give up our beliefs. We will not impose them on others, but we will always extend a helping hand to those who need help.”

“Unfortunately, human life is being devalued again,” Mr. Lukashenka said. “The world is splitting apart. Centuries-old principles are being destroyed. Mora values are being eroded. However, having come through many wars, the Belarusian people carefully preserve simple values understandable to every person, such as being happy at seeing a peaceful sunrise, sensing the aroma of freshly baked bread, feeling the warmth of the hands of loved ones and hearing the ringing laughter of children.”

While celebrating Victory Day, people in Belarus remember not only the terrible war years but also the huge efforts that were made after the war to rehabilitate Belarus, Mr. Lukashenka said. “Now we can see how strong and independent it [Belarus] has become,” he said. “We understand what a blessing it is to live and bring up children under a peaceful sky. We know for sure that every day we live is an invaluable gift from those who make the great victory possible.”

Each of the peoples of the Soviet Union made a worthy contribution to the victory over Nazism and it is not appropriate to argue who contributed more to this victory, Mr. Lukashenka stressed. “This is as painful for surviving war veterans as seeing attempts to consign it [victory] to oblivion,” he noted.

Belarusians have always fought to prevent history, especially the history of the Great Patriotic War, from being distorted, Mr. Lukashenka noted. “We fought against this kind of charlatans and did not think that we would also have to fight another trouble: attempts to privatize our Victory,” he said.

Mr. Lukashenka cited Aleksandr Surikov, the Russian ambassador to Belarus, as saying, “We won in this terrible and fierce war because we were united. If we had not been united, we would stand on our knees today.” “It is correct to say so,” Mr. Lukashenka noted.

The gathering honored the memory of the Soviet soldiers who perished in the 19941-1945 Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany with a minute’s silence.

Mr. Lukashenka laid a wreath at the 40-meter-high Victory Obelisk in Victory Square, and his sons – Viktar, Dzmitry and 13-year-old Mikalay – laid flowers.

Also laid were wreaths from ministries and other government agencies, the National Assembly of Belarus, the Security Council, the Belarusian Armed Forces, the police, non-governmental organizations, the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the foreign diplomatic corps, the Belarusian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Roman Catholic Church.