Belarus celebrates Independence Day on July 3. Soviet troops liberated Belarusian capital, Minsk, from Nazi invaders 65 years ago. The nation traditionally celebrates this day with a military parade. This year the country will hold special festivities to mark the 65th anniversary of liberation from German fascism.
Several details connected with war actions on the territory of Belarus are especially interesting. The country showed no massive resistance to Nazis. There were many partisan groups in Belarus, but the majority of Belarusians were not joining those groups in the beginning of the war.
The majority of Belarusians continued their housekeeping activities. The Germans would confiscate their food on a regular basis and hold public executions of those suspected of their cooperation with partisans. Many Belarusians were forced to hide in the woods and join the partisan troops.
The partisan movement in Belarus was growing very fast. The Germans were unable to struggle against the guerrillas, so they asked Ukrainian and Baltic nationalists for help.
The village of Khatyn became the symbol of courage and endurance of the Belarusian nation. Nazi Germans and Ukrainian nationalists burnt the village on March 22, 1943. Every fourth citizen of Belarus was killed in the war.
It goes without saying that Nazi Germany was not going to grant any independence to Belarus. Nazis did not see the nation as an equal partner and simply used the country for their own interests.
Nazis attempted to set up a local army in Belarus, but the initiative failed due to mass desertion. Belarus's nationalist leaders moved to other countries across the ocean after the war.
Unlike Ukraine and the Baltic States, Belarus refused to glorify Nazism and never declared its nationalists as heroes and fighters against communism.
Brushing all problems aside, Belarus is a Russia-friendly state. Like all Russians, millions of Belarusians treasure the memory of the war. This memory is much more important to them than the dairy or the gas conflicts between the two countries.