Updated at 15:34,14-12-2017

Independence Day in Belarusian style: Russian troops, 'Soviet partisans' to join parade in Minsk

Belsat

Three columns of Russian troops are to take part in the military parade on the occasion of the upcoming Independence Day, The Belarusian Defence Ministry's newspaper 'To the Glory of Motherland' ('Vo Slavu Rodiny') reports.

'Russia's military machines [Tiger armoured vehicles, Iskander missile systems, S-400 anti-aircraft weapon systems] are expected to arrive in Belarus in late June and will be involved in the dress rehearsal of the parade,' the paper says.

'Soviet partisans' participating will be a novelty of the event: the people holding WWII arms will be marching along Masherov Avenue. The armoured vehicles of those times are to head the column.

Aerobatic team 'Belaya Rus' is getting ready to stunt in the sky; Minsk residents and guests will stand the chance of watching flights of military helicopters, fighters, assaulters, airlifters, etc.

As a rule, civilians are heavily involved in July 3 parades as well. Last year hockey players, 'ancient Greeks', actors and ahletes were making a performance before President Lukashenka.

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The official Independence day is celebrated on July 3, on the day of liberation of the Belarusian capital from German invaders. Such decision was taken by the republican referendum held in 1996. Earlier the Independence day had been commemorated on July 27, its celebration being coincided with the day of passing the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1990.

The opposition does not recognise the official Independence Day. According to them it is the March 25, 1918 that should be taken as the starting point of the Belarusian independence. On March 25, 1918 the Provisional government (Rada) proclaimed the independence of the Belarusian National Republic that came into existence at the end of the First World War, when Bolshevik forces left Minsk and the city was occupied by German troops. After the Red Army re-entered Minsk, the Communist government replaced the Rada; its members had to emigrate. Opposition activists and civil society actors celebrate the anniversary of the proclamation of the BNR annually.