The idea of the national state went through all the generations of Belarusians during the thousand-year-long history, BelTA learned from Vitebsk Oblast Governor Nikolai Sherstnev during the solemn rally timed to Independence Day in Vitebsk on 3 July.
According to Nikolai Sherstnev, the key holiday of Belarusian statehood is inseparably tied to the most important event in the Belarusian history – the country's liberation from the Nazi. The liberation represents a symbol of unity of the people in their fight for freedom and independence. “Origins of Belarusian statehood lie in our lands – the ancient city of Polotsk. It is where political and economic unity of Belarusians began. The idea of the national state went through all the generations of Belarusians throughout the thousand-year-long history. Bright are the names of our glorious compatriots Euphrosyne of Polotsk, Francysk Skaryna, Symeon of Polotsk, those, who are closer to us in time: Piotr Masherov, Lev Dovator, Vasil Bykov, Zhores Alferov, and many other ones, who have left a noticeable trace in the history and culture of Vitebsk Oblast,” the governor noted. The creation of the Belarusian state was a complicated and lengthy process. The 20th century with its great and dramatic events played the decisive part. “We celebrated the 100th anniversary of the BSSR at the beginning of the year. The Soviet experience of building Belarusian statehood offers some valuable lessons in our day and age, too. The foundation of industrial development was established back then. Rich agricultural potential was accumulated. National culture flourished,” the head of the Vitebsk Oblast administration said. Nikolai Sherstnev drew attention to the great trials Belarusians had to endure during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. History has a lot of examples of the courage people demonstrated during combat operations in Vitebsk Oblast. “The region was home to 59 partisan brigades, two regiments or one third of the total number of personnel in the Belarusian partisan movement. The partisans controlled over 60% of Vitebsk Oblast at the end of 1943. The local underground resistance movement was one of the largest and most effective ones in the country and helped the partisans a lot,” the governor added. As many as 244,000 Vitebsk Oblast residents died during the Nazi occupation. Over 100,000 people were driven to Germany as slaves. No populated localities were left unharmed in several districts. Nikolai Sherstnev said: “The historical connection of generations is the foundation of the development of the society. Memory is an alarming bell of history. It warns the world that any war is madness. No goal is worth a human life. The war left a deep scar in the genetic memory of the Belarusians. Today we have to be worthy of the historical relay race we've picked up from the generation of winners.”