10 Apr 2018 17:22

Lukashenko dismisses idea of declaring Day of Belarusian People's Republic public holiday

MINSK. April 10 (Interfax) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has objected to introducing a public holiday on March 25, the day when the Belarusian People's Republic (BPR) was declared 100 years ago.

"The talk of making March 25 a public holiday is premature," the BelTA state-run news agency quoted Lukashenko as saying.

He stressed that for as long as he is president, this will not happen.

Belarus already has Independence Day, he said.

"We have the Independence Day, and had we not won then [in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War], then there would have been not been independence indeed," Lukashenko said.

The Belarusian People's Republic was a political entity proclaimed in 1918 by a group of Belarusian nationalists. As an independent entity, the republic existed until 1919, after which its government was forced to emigrate. Historical debates continue on whether the BPR can be called a state or whether it was only an attempt to found one.

The Belarusian opposition marks Freedom Day with rallies on March 25 each year.