Belarus became independent 20 years ago

On 25 August 1991, the 5th Extraordinary Session of the Supreme Council of the BSSR adopted the Law "On the law of giving constitutional status to the Declaration of the BSSR Supreme Council about the state sovereignty of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic" and the decree "About ensuring the political and economic independence of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic."

In this way, the independence of the Belarusian SSR was effectively declared. At that very time, the real leadership of the country shifted from the Central Committee of the Communist Party to the legislative and executive authorities.

After centuries of colonial rule, Belarus became a full-fledged subject of international law. For the first time, it became the owner of all property within its territory.

As Syarhei Navumchyk, one of the authors of the Act of Independence, has pointed out in his book “Seven years of revival…”, the one person against giving the “Declaration on State Sovereignty” the status of a constitutional act was the council member, Lukashenka.

That session was held on the third day after the failure of the coup of the “State Committee on the State of Emergency” and the day passed fairly rapidly.

On 24 August the BNF led tens of thousands of people onto Lenin Square, and in the hall where the meeting took place, Valyantsin Holubeu, Zyanon Paznyak and Halina Syamdzyanava carried in the white-red-white flag and then the council members from the faction of the BPF did not allow the chief Communist, Anatol Malafeev, to go to the podium.

On 24 August the President of the Supreme Council of the BSSR, Mikalai Dzemyantsei, resigned. The first leader of independent Belarus was Stanislau Shushkevich, who previously had served as deputy chairman.

On 19 September 1991, a session of the Supreme Council decided to rename the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic as the Republic of Belarus, abbreviated to the one word, Belarus.

Then the Supreme Council took a decision concerning state symbols. The state flag was declared to be the white-red-white flag, and the coat of arms the “Pahonya” (a knight on a horse).

Belarusians began in a different way to value their own history and their own national identity.

This was a revolutionary change in the life of the nation.