Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

Emigre opposition politician Zyanon Paznyak suggests declaring 2011 Year of Independence

Zyanon Paznyak, the emigre leader of the Conservative Christian Party, has suggested declaring 2011 the Year of Independence.

Mr. Paznyak expressed the proposal in an interview with the Belarus Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which was broadcast on August 20.

On August 25, 2011, it will be 20 years since Belarus’ Declaration of State Sovereignty was given the status of a constitutional law, which was used as the basis for amendments to the 1978 constitution of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Belarusian Popular Front, then chaired by Mr. Paznyak, spearheaded a drive for independence within the Belarusian parliament.

Paval Sevyarynets, co-chairman of the Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD) party, has come out in support of Mr. Paznyak's proposal.

Although more than 19 years have passed since the de jure restoration of the country's sovereignty, the issue of independence still tops the agenda, Mr. Sevyarynets says on his party's website. Real economic, political and cultural independence is yet to be gained, he said.

"All Belarusians should come to view the protection of independence as their responsibility," Mr. Sevyarynets concluded.