|English: State Anthem of the Republic of Belarus|
|Dziaržaŭny himn Respubliki Bielaruś|
First page of the sheet music for "My Belarusy".
National anthem of
|Also known as||Мы, беларусы
English: We, Belarusians
|Lyrics||Mikhas Klimkovich and Uladzimir Karyzny, 2002|
|Music||Niescier Sakałoŭski, 1944|
|Adopted||24 September 1955 (music)
2 July 2002 (lyrics)
"My Belarusy" (Belarusian: Мы, беларусы (My, Bielarusy); "We Belarusians") is the unofficial title of the national anthem of Belarus and the first line of its lyrics. Officially, "My Belarusy" is titled "the State Anthem of the Republic of Belarus" (Belarusian: Дзяржаўны гімн Рэспублікі Беларусь, Russian: Государственный гимн Республики Беларусь). The anthem was originally written and adopted in 1955 for use in the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. The music of the Byelorussian SSR anthem was composed by Niescier Sakałoŭski and the lyrics were written by Mikhas Klimkovich. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the music composed by Sakałoŭski was kept and the lyrics were discarded. New lyrics, which were written by Klimkovich and Uladzimir Karyzny, were adopted by a presidential decree issued on July 2, 2002. The lyrics of the anthem now sing of a friendly Belarus, honoring past military battles and looking forward to the future. The music was kept due to the historical connections it has to Belarus.
Anthem of the Byelorussian SSR
"My Belarusy" was originally used as the anthem of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (Belarusian: гімн Беларускай Савецкай Сацыялістычнай Рэспублікі, Russian: гимн Белорусской Советской Социалистической Республики) starting from February 24, 1955. The original anthem was composed by Sakalowski and the lyrics were written by Maxim Klimkovich. It was presented in front of a jury in 1944, but it took 11 years of modifications before it was officially adopted. Soon after Belarus became an independent country, the national anthem was modified to drop the Communist-era lyrics. An attempt was made in 1995 to adopt Natalla Arsiennieva's poem "O God Almighty" as the national anthem, but the suggestion was not acted on even though it was supported by a parliamentary committee.
Anthem of the Republic of Belarus
The only legal mention of the national anthem before 2002 is in the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus. Section One, Article 19 of the constitution states that "The symbols of the Republic of Belarus as a sovereign state shall be its national flag, national emblem and national anthem." While the constitution only mentioned the use of the flag, anthem and arms as national symbols, each symbol had to be defined by law. A law introducing an anthem was not enacted until Presidential Decree 350 took effect, on July 18, 2002, the day before Belarus's independence day. The decree's main objective was to establish lyrics for the anthem and introduce musical notation along with the new lyrics. Moreover, the decree designated when, where, and how the anthem was to be performed.
Before issuing the decree, President Alexander Lukashenko listened to five possible candidates for the national anthem. Three out of the five candidates, including the one ultimately chosen, used the music composed by Sakalouski and began their lyrics with the line My Belarusy. According to the newspaper Soviet Byelorussia, President Lukashenko decided on the anthem on June 12, 2002 and chose to have its first performance on July 3, Belarusian independence day, the anniversary of the date in 1944 when the Wehrmacht was driven away from Minsk by the Red Army. However, the first performance actually took place on July 2 at a concert organized by the government as part of the Belarusian independence festivities.
Belarus did not have an anthem before one was adopted in the Soviet-era. When Lukashenko issued his decree selecting a new national anthem, only slight changes were made to the Soviet-era hymn. While the references to Russia, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Vladimir Lenin were replaced; the overall theme of "friendship of peoples" and the original music composed by Sakalouski were preserved. The government decided to keep Sakalouski's music in order to maintain historical continuity, and also on account of its popularity and musical quality After the national anthem was adopted, the process of adopting national symbols was completed.
The organization Freedom House commented on the adoption of the anthem in a report about the country, published in 2003. On page 125 of the "Country Report of Belarus", Freedom House says that President Lukashenko has "reintroduced the state symbols used by the old Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 2002, the president approved a streamlined version of the Soviet-era anthem "My Belarusy" ("We Belarusians"), as the country's new national anthem." The report also mentioned President Lukashenko's ban of the symbols that were used since Belarus's independence in 1991, such as the Pahonia arms and the white, red, white flag, which Lukashenko claims are associated with fascism (due to the fact that the pro-Nazi Belarusian Central Rada in World War II used these symbols) . In 2003, Dr. Taras Kuzio wrote in Radio Free Europe that President Lukashenko "is the quintessential Soviet Belarusian patriot who presides over a regime steeped in Soviet nostalgia." Kuzio said that the motives of Russia and Belarus in re-adopting Soviet-era symbols are part of restoring that nostalgia.
The anthem must be performed in accordance with the lyrics and sheet music established by law. Every day, state-owned Belarusian television and radio stations are required to play the national anthem upon signing on at 6 a.m. and again upon signing off (usually around midnight). The anthem can also be performed on certain occasions, such as at government meetings, before sporting events and presidential inaugurations. While the anthem is being performed, citizens are required to stand at attention and those in military or police uniform must salute.
A favorite in the anthem competition was the poem called "Young Belarus" (Маладая Беларусь) by Janka Kupala. However, the poem was never set to a musical composition so Young Belarus could not be selected as the anthem.
Belarus and Russia have been working towards a closer relationship with each other, resulting in the proposed Union of Russia and Belarus. While Belarus and Russia will be able to keep their own symbols, a song called "Sovereign Union of Nations" (Belarusian: Дзяржаўны саюз народаў, Russian: Державный союз народов, Derzhavny soyuz narodov) has been proposed as the Union's unofficial anthem. The song, which was modified from the National Anthem of the Soviet Union, refers to a wider union of the two nations.
Some Belarusian emigrants use "Vajacki marš" and "Mahutny Boža" as their anthem. "Vajacki Marš" was the official anthem of the Belarusian National Republic, a state that was created in 1918 but lasted only 10 months, during the German occupation of Belarus in World War I. "Mahutny Boža" is a hymn, but is now used as a song by those who oppose the Lukashenko Government.
|Мы, беларусы – мірныя людзі,
Сэрцам адданыя роднай зямлі,
Разам з братамі мужна вякамі
Дружба народаў – сіла народаў —
|My, bielarusy – mirnyja ludzi,
Sercam addanyja rodnaj ziamli.
Razam z bratami mužna viakami
Družba narodaŭ – siła narodaŭ —
|We, Belarusians, are peaceful people,
Wholeheartedly devoted to our Motherland.
Together with our brothers, we for centuries
Friendship of peoples is the strength of peoples
Anthem of the Byelorussian SSR
For comparison, below is a part of the anthem of the Byelorussian SSR.
Мы, беларусы, з братняю Руссю
My, biełarusy, z bratniaju Ruśsiu
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- Belarus: My Belarusy - Audio of the national anthem of Belarus, with information and lyrics
- President of the Republic of Belarus - The Website of the President has a page on the anthem that includes a vocal version.
- Decree 350 President Lukashenko's decree selecting "My Belarusy" as the official national anthem (in Belarussian).
- Sovetskaya Belorussiya - An article on the selection process (in Belarussian)
- Recordings of the Belarusian anthem