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“We Started Building A New Country”. Belarus Marks 25 Years Of Independence Today

A quarter of a century ago Belarus formally became an independent country. Following the failure of the August Coup in Moscow, members of the Supreme Council of the BSSR almost unanimously voted to give the Declaration of Sovereignty the status of a constitutional law.

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In the beginning of the session a BPF member Galina Semdyanova brought a white-red-white flag into the Supreme Council room and put it next to the flag of the Byelorussian SSR.

“The Independence Session”, as it would be called later, was convened on August 24 at the request of the BPF (Belarusian Popular Front) Party. Other democratic forces in the Parliament joined in.

Before the beginning of the session BPF called on Minsk residents to gather in the square in front of the House of Government. Thousands of people responded to the request and remained there day and night.

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The Communist party unexpectedly supported the opposition. They voted for independence and for the suspension of the work of their own party.

A month later, on September, 19, 1991, the Supreme Council decided to rename the BSSR into the Republic of Belarus, or Belarus for short. It also adopted a resolution about the state symbols – a white-red-white flag and  Pahonia coat of arms.

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The then leader of the BFP Zianon Pazniak is seen speaking in front of people in the Independence square.

At present August 25 is not marked officially, but some events will be arranged today by the Belarusian opposition. There will be pickets near Komarovka market and the Palace of Sports, and a rally along the Independence avenue.

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