Baranavichy: historical feast held despite official bans

2013 2013-06-03T15:18:52+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On 2 June a historical and cultural feast was held in Milavidy (the Baranavichy district) to commemorate the insurgents of 1863.

As we have already written, the Baranavichy City Executive Committee twice banned the feast in honor of the 150th anniversary of the battle of Milavidy. The official reason was that the authorities were allegedly going to hold festivities in honor of the battle at the same place and in the same time.

However, more than 100 civic activists who gathered at the Milavidy field on 2 June, found no traces of the stated official festivities. Thus, amateurs of the Belarusian culture and history from Baranavichy, Minsk, Brest, Slonim and Ivatsevichy lit candles and laid down flowers to monuments in honor of the insurgents. Ales Marachkin, Mikola Kupava, Ales Mara and other artists laid down to the monument a wrath of oak branches entwined with a white-red-white ribbon. The present people sang the anthem "God Almighty" and then headed to the village of Rusiny, to the headquarters of the Baranavichy city branch of the Belarusian Language Society, where a solemn event dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the battle was held.

Speeches were delivered by the head of the Baranavichy BLS Council Viktar Syrytsa, the deputy head of the Movement "For Freedom" Yury Hubarevich, the head of the Belarusian Popular Front Party Aliaksei Yanukevich and a well-known local core researcher Mikhail Bernat, who did a lot for the memory of his fellow-townsmen. An interesting speech with poems was held by the candidate of historical and philological sciences Yazep Yanushkevich.

Aliaksandr Paulouski, Larysa Housha and Zmitser Rymsha became the winners of the historical quiz on the topic of Kalinouski's uprising. The feast participants were also given an opportunity to write postcards to political prisoners by using "Kassiners' mail", were presented nice postcards and booklets and a special issue of "Muzhytskaya Prauda" newspaper. They could also treat themselves to karavai (round loaf) and pancakes, and taste "kassiner porridge" prepared in the field conditions. There was also the traditional Swedish table with sandwiches.

The artistic part of the event consisted of live performances by the folk singers Zmitser Bartosik and Viktar Shalkevich and saxophonist Valer Shyla, a reconstruction of single combats by the Baranavichy knight club "Shliakhetskaya Zastava" and a demonstration of a collection of clothing of peasants and nobles of the 19th century, produced by the coordinator of the "Historical-cultural campaign of 1863" Vasil Hryn and Yuliya Litvinava.

Law-enforcement agencies staged no obstacles to the festivities.