National Academy of Sciences of Belarus


Chairman of the Presidium of the NAS of Belarus Academician Vladimir G. Gusakov congratulates the staff of the NAS of Belarus on National Unity Day

Dear colleagues! Dear friends!

On behalf of the Presidium of the NAS of Belarus and on my own behalf, I sincerely congratulate you on the holiday, the National Unity Day!

September 17 refers to the fateful dates of national history. It was thanks to the events of the autumn of 1939 that our statehood took shape in its entirety. The foundation was laid for stable and creative development. The Belarusian people had to go through a long and dramatic way of realizing the idea of their united state. As a result of the unfair Treaty of Riga of 1921, Belarusian lands with an area of about 100 thousand square kilometers with a population of over 3 million people, more than 70% of which were Belarusians, were included in the Polish state. But the people themselves did not agree with this: self-awareness was growing, underground workers courageously acted on the territory of Western Belarus. After all, in Poland, Belarusians were guaranteed national and cultural rights only on paper. In practice, their implementation was not ensured. The Belarusian language was being pushed out of all spheres of life. Maxim Tank wrote about this vividly, powerfully and sternly. Warsaw did not develop the economy of Western Belarus quite deliberately. The local industry never reached the level of 1913. The number of jobs was constantly decreasing. The Western Belarusian voivodeships were considered as raw materials appendages for the industry of Central Poland. In addition, the authorities simply did not trust the local population. They were well aware of the mood in the Belarusian society.

On September 17, 1939, the campaign of the Red Army began, which put an end to injustice. The population of Western Belarus greeted the liberators with joy and flowers, as evidenced by many chronicle photos.

This holiday was needed, there was a request from the society itself. Many nations have such a holiday, which had to go through a difficult path to reunification. Edict of the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko No. 206 of June 7, 2021 on the establishment of the National Unity Day, which it was decided to celebrate on September 17, is a symbol of restoring historical justice to the Belarusian people.

Today, a special responsibility lies with humanities scientists, who not only preserve the memory of those events, but also introduce new documents into scientific circulation, tell the general public about how difficult the reunification of the Belarusian people was. In the Year of Peace and Creation, I would like to emphasize that after the Great Patriotic War, dozens and hundreds of large industrial enterprises, educational institutions, iconic objects of history and culture were built and opened on the lands of Western Belarus.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that without September 17, 1939, there would have been no modern Republic of Belarus.

We are together! Which means stronger, wiser, more powerful. Only by preserving unity will we be able to reach new heights in the development of our mother Belarus!

Happy holidays, dear friends! All the best to you!

Vladimir GUSAKOV,

Chairman of the Presidium of the NAS of Belarus