State symbols of the Belarusian People's Republic
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W. R.
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State symbols of the Belarusian People's Republic
http://arche.by/by/page/science/1776

By Aleh Łatyšonak




Just ignore the audio and watch it as a slideshow.
It serves the illustrative purpose.

The set of symbols of the Belarusian People's Republic was formed in years 1917—1920. Later they were used as national symbols by new generations of Belarusians.

Among the three symbols of the Belarusian People's Republic the Chase coat of arms has the longest history. According to later chronicles, the Chase became a symbol of Lithuanian Dukes' in the end of XIII century. The first depiction of a horseman wielding a sword that has survived until the present was an image on the seal of prince Narymont (Gleb) of Polotsk, that came with the treaty between Polotsk and Riga of year 1330. [1] The horseman on it is riding to the left. That seal reminds of prince Alexander Nevsky's earlier seal [2]. This may be an argument for the origin of the coat of arms from Rus. The later horseman with a sword from the seal of prince Lugvien (Semion) Algierdavič of Mścisłaŭ (1388—1389) also rides to the left. Only later Chases are turned to the right and have the shield with the double cross. The Chase was officially declared the coat of arms of the Belarusian People's Republic after the declaration of independence in 1918.

The flag of the BPR has its author. The author was engineer Kłaŭdzi Duž-Dušeŭski (1891, Hłybokaje – 1959, Vilnius), who created a sketch of the flag after the February Revolution at request of Belarusian activists in Petrograd. According to his son, white, red, and white cockades and stripes on hats Belarusian students wore as early as 1915. The combination of colours was probably influenced by the Belarusian national ornament. White, red, and white colours were used by Letts as well. Latvian artist Janis Grosvalds made a sample of a white, red, and white flag for Latvian riflemen. Another variant of the national Latvian flag – dark red with a white stripe in the centre, that originated from the description of the most ancient flag used by Veneti, that had lived on the territory of Latvia, was finally accepted in January 1917. [3]
 
In 1934 Duž-Dušeŭski wrote:
It is interesting to note, that Belarusians regarded as their state flag the same flag as Lithuanians did, that means the white Chase on the red background, but there was no national flag. I happened to make some projects of the national flag, and one of them was accepted, namely the white, red, and white flag. From that time this flag is regarded the Belarusian national flag [4].
 
Unfortunately it is unknown, who exactly and when accepted this flag.
 
Duž-Dušeŭski created the Belarusian flag according to the heraldic principle of applying colours of a coat of arms for a flag. In 1917 the white, red, and white flag hovered over the building of the Belarusian Society of Helping Sufferers of the War in Petrograd, Duž-Dušeŭski worked there in 1916—1918.
 
On 12 March 1917 in Minsk the Day of the Belarusian Badge took place. In the cinema “Giant” there was a Belarusian meeting, participants demanded autonomy for Belarus. At the same time in the streets “badges of the national colours of Belarus – white and red” were sold. [5]. Flags, tailored according to Duž-Dušeŭski's sample, were sent to local organizations. Radasłaŭ Astroŭski, activist from Słuck, received such a flag in May 1917. In the flag there were embroidered the words in gold: “Няхай жыве вольная Беларусь” (“Vivat Free Belarus”). When the All-Belarusian Congress was opening, over the table of the presidium a white flag was placed with the same words. To the left there was the national “red and white” flag with the caption “За родны край, за вольную Беларусь” („For home land, for free Belarus”), to the left – the red flag of the Belarus Socialist Hramada [6].
 
On 7 (20) December Bolshevik commissar Rezaŭski make a scandal related to the Belarusian flag. The correspondent that made account of the congress, described that in such a way:
 
But that great day was clouded by unheard-of impertinence of a representative (according to his words) of the Latvian people, but he was rather just an impertinent Bolshevik. He proposed us, sons of the nation that so far has been offered nothing but scraps of fortune and from now on is going to be free, to throw out our flag. What low insolence!
[7]
 
Siarhiej Chareŭski thinks that the Latvian Bolshevik protested because he regarded the flag as Latvian [8]. The precisely reported words of the Latvian Bolshevik contradict this: “Remove this three colour rag”. A Lett could not call his flag a rag. Rezaŭski was “just an impertinen Bolshevik” and obviously didn't acknowledged national symbols.
 
However he was rebutted. He was met with cries “Out!”. The tribune was approached by a soldier, a sailor and a general holding their hands. General Alaksiejeŭski. General Alaksiejeŭski come to the flag and kissed it. The peasant in a coarse heavy caftan Pliševič from the Minsk guberniya said to those present: “We should defend the flag and revere it!”

The oldest document with a depiction of the white, red and white flag, that has survived until today, is a leaflet of the organization “Belarusian grove”, that was created in December 1917 in Odessa. The leaflet was found in the National Archive of the Republic of Belarus by Vital Skałaban.

For the first time the Belarusian flag war risen over the building of the Governor's Palace in Minsk on 19 February 1918 after Bolsheviks were driven out of the city . [9]
 
Soon Belarusians acknowledged the flag as their primordial symbol. Vacłaŭ Łastoŭski commented its colours:
 
White trousers, white skirt, white caftan with a red belt – this is the figure of a Belarusian. Naturally, the national flag of Belarusians is white, red, and white. It reminds us of our white caftan with a red belt.
 

Tamaš Hryb gave more poetical explanation:
 
White colour, as a representation of light, is very widespread in Belarus, this is probably what the name of Belarus comes from: white, pure, free like light of the sun. Red colour is in Belarus no less widespread, as red is dawn in the sky before the sun rises; that's why our white, red, and white flag is the flag of rebirth and liberation of the Belarusian people [10].
 
Interesting symbolism of the colours of the national Belarusian flag was proposed by Belarusian activists in the military from Latvia and Estonia. They believed that the colours symbolized sweat, blood and tears [11]. Taking into account the fact that Kłaŭdzi Duž-Dušeŭski was the head of the military and diplomatic mission in the Baltic states at that time, such interpretation of the symbolism of the colours may originate from the author of the design of the flag.

Kłaŭdzi Duž-Dušeŭski, arrested by Poles in 1921 in the same year, after being freed from the prison moved to Lithuania, to Kaunas. In 1924 he graduated from the Lithuanian University. As an architect he was the author of tens of buildings in Kaunas, Panevėžys, Klaipėda and Šiauliai [12].
 
During the All-Belarusian Congress in 1917 there was no received national anthem. A report from the Congress attests that:
 
The military orchestra play “Marseillaise”. Cries: “Hurrah!”. “Marseillaise” again. Somebody says: “Vivat the Belarusian Republic!” (Applause.) “Marseillaise” again. Somebody from the box says: “Let's rise to commemorate all the people who died for the fatherland and freedom”. Everyone is standing. The orchestra play a dead march.
 
At that time behind the chairman's table the Belarusian choir gathered. […] “For centuries we have slept”, — the choir harmoniously sang the Belarusian Marseillaise. Beautifully flowed the free song of Belarusian proletarians. Not a single false note. As if the sound were coming from one chest. Finished. (Roaring applause ending in ovation.) The choir sing the Belarusian anthem “Who is going there…”. Magnificent anthem of the people who is free now freely flows from the young chests. (Ovation again.) The choir sing the Belarusian revolutionary anthem “Our blood has been shed by torturers for too long…”. (The choir was answered by long ovation.)
[13].
 
Thus during the opening ceremony no less than three songs were performed, that can be described as “anthems”: the Belarusian Marseillaise “For centuries we have slept” (lyrics by A. Mikulčyk, music by U. Teraŭski), the Belarusian anthem (the anthem of the Belarusian people) “Who is going there” and the Belarusian revolutionary anthem “Our blood has been shed by torturers for too long”. But none of these songs became the Belarusian national anthem.
 
Gradually such a status was acquired by “The Military March”, written on 30 October 1919 by Makar Kaścievič (pen name Makar Kraŭcoŭ), that began with the words “We will walk in the solid columns…” [14]. In this march the white, red, and white flag is already mentioned: “Our white, red and white flag has covered the national movement”. The lyrics of the song were written by Uładzimier Teraŭski (the author of the music of “For centuries we have slept”). The both songs were played when 1st Słuck rifle brigade of the BPR's military defended Słuck region from Soviet troops in autumn 1920. Those events are known in the history of Belarus as Słuck uprising or Słuck defense action [15]. From that time “The Military March” was sometimes called “The March of Słuck brigade”.
 
Uładzimier Teraŭski in 1938 in Minsk got arrested by the Soviet authorities and executed [16]. One year after West Belarus joined the BSSR Makar Kaścievič (Makar Kraŭcoŭ) was tortured to death in a prison in Białystok [17].
 
Symbols of the Belarusian People's Republic that was formed in 1917—1920 were used as national by Belarusians that lived on the territories of interwar Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, and also in emigration. The Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic created its own radically different symbols, that referred to the ideals of communism. After WWII the Belarusian national symbols could be used only in emigriation in the West.
 
The national symbols returned to the home land in 1980-ies. In 1991 during the second extraordinary session on 17—19 September deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the BSSR, that was already independent by then, changed the name of the state to “the Republic of Belarus” and make the Chase and the white, red, and white flag the symbols of the state [18]. Although this was not done to the march “We will walk in the solid columns”.
 
On 12 June 1995 president A. Łukašenka, breaking legislation, signed a decree, that introduced new state symbols, that originated from the Soviet tradition [19]. The coat of arms and the flag of the BPR again became the Belarusian national symbols that can be used freely only outside the Belarusian state.
 
1. Цітоў А. “Пагоня” // Энцыклапедыя гісторыі Беларусі. Т. 5. Мінск, 1999. Pages 366—367; Казбярук У. Летапісы пра нараджэнне Пагоні // Спадчына. 1992. № 1. Pages 9—14.

2. See: Силаев А. Г. Истоки русской геральдики. Москва, 2003. Page 70.

3. Харэўскі С. Клаўдзі Дуж–Душэўскі. Сьцяг // Наша Ніва. 1998. № 6. Page 15.

4. Рудовіч С. Час выбару: Праблема самавызначэння Беларусі ў 1917 годзе. Мінск, 2001. Page 80.

5. Ibidem. Pages 79—80.

6. Белоруская Рада. 1917. № 6.

7. Ibidem.

8. Харэўскі С. Клаўдзі… Page 15.

9. Гл.: Łatyszonek O. Białoruskie formacje wojskowe 1917—1923. Białystok, 1995. Pages 70—72, 256.

10. Харэўскі С. Клаўдзі… Page 15.

11. Даклад палітычнага дзеяча Беларусі Антона Борыка зь Вільні, б. д. (далей: Даклад Борыка...), Instytut Józefa Piłsudskiego w Nowym Jorku, Akta Ogólne, Adiutantura Generalna Naczelnego Wódza, T. 28, t. 1. Page 11.

12. Харэўскі C. Клаўдзі… Page 15.

13. Белоруская Рада. 1917. № 6.

14. Слуцкі збройны чын 1920 г. у дакумэнтах і ўспамінах / Укл. А. Гесь, У. Ляхоўскі, Ул. Міхнюк. Менск, 2001. Page 272.

15. Гл.: Łatyszonek O. Białoruskie… Pages 191—210.

16. Гесь А, Ляхоўскі У. Тэраўскі (Цераўскі) Уладзімір // Энцыклапедыя гісторыі Беларусі. Т. 6. Кн. 1. Мінск, 2001. Page 668.

17. Цыхун А. Пройдзеныя шляхі–пуцявіны. Гродна, 2003. Page 87.

18. Mironowicz E. Białoruś. Warszawa, 1999. Page 234.

19. Ibidem. Pages 250—251.

[...] just as it is not left unto us to choose our ancestors, so we may not choose our nation; we can only fulfil, or not fulfil, the obligations that come from being a member of our people’.
© Dr. Jan Stankievič ‘From the History of Belarus’

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2012 Oct 03 15:16
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W. R.
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RE: State symbols of the Belarusian People's Republic
The current flag and emblem of the RB are the redesigned flag and emblem of the BSSR from years 1951 and 1950 respectively.

Please, if you see mistakes that I make again and again, let me know, you will help improve my English. thumbs up

[...] just as it is not left unto us to choose our ancestors, so we may not choose our nation; we can only fulfil, or not fulfil, the obligations that come from being a member of our people’.
© Dr. Jan Stankievič ‘From the History of Belarus’

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2012 Oct 03 16:59
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Dussander
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RE: State symbols of the Belarusian People's Republic
Your old coat of arms is awesome.

[Image: beloarms.gif]

Belarusian state symbol "Pahonia" - "Chase"

We must dissent.

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2012 Oct 03 17:16
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RE: State symbols of the Belarusian People's Republic
(2012 Oct 03 17:16)Dussander Wrote:  Your old coat of arms is awesome.

Yep. Smile The design of 1991 was very good. And the symbol itself is quite unique and still recognisable even after heavy stylisation.

[Image: Kryuja.jpg]

[Image: Todar.jpg]

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[Image: logo1.jpg]

[...] just as it is not left unto us to choose our ancestors, so we may not choose our nation; we can only fulfil, or not fulfil, the obligations that come from being a member of our people’.
© Dr. Jan Stankievič ‘From the History of Belarus’

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2012 Oct 03 20:47
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RE: State symbols of the Belarusian People's Republic
(2012 Oct 03 20:47)Whiteruthenian Wrote:  The design of 1991 was very good. And the symbol itself is quite unique and still recognisable even after heavy stylisation.

[Image: Todar.jpg]

Nicely redolent of some ancient folk art from northern Russia, too, with PAGAN connections, indeed! Smile Good OLD stuff!
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http://traditionalrussiancostume.com/emb...?nametxt=4 ;)

"And now if a whole nation fell into that? In such a case, I answer, infallibly they will return out of it. For life is no cunningly-devised deception or self deception, it is a great truth that thou art alive, that thou hast desires, necessities: neither can these subsist and satisfy themselves on delusions, but on fact. To fact, depend on it, we shall come back: to such fact, blessed or cursed, as we have wisdom for."
Thomas Carlyle
2012 Oct 03 21:04
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RE: State symbols of the Belarusian People's Republic
(2012 Oct 03 15:16)Whiteruthenian Wrote:  In 1934 Duž-Dušeŭski wrote:
It is interesting to note, that Belarusians regarded as their state flag the same flag as Lithuanians did, that means the white Chase on the red background, but there was no national flag. I happened to make some projects of the national flag, and one of them was accepted, namely the white, red, and white flag. From that time this flag is regarded the Belarusian national flag.

Breaking news! In year 2004 the Chase on the red background was adopted as the state flag of Lithuania.

That was not done earlier, at the beginning of XX century "for three reasons: the first was that as part of the drive for national identity, the Seimas (the Lithuanian parliament) wished to distance itself somewhat from the flag of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which also encompassed now-distinct nations such as Belarus, and Ukraine. The second issue was the choice of the color red by revolutionaries who aligned themselves with Marxist or Communist causes. And finally, the flag with Vytis would be too complicated and could not be easily sewn."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Lithuania


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[...] just as it is not left unto us to choose our ancestors, so we may not choose our nation; we can only fulfil, or not fulfil, the obligations that come from being a member of our people’.
© Dr. Jan Stankievič ‘From the History of Belarus’

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2012 Nov 03 12:30
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RE: State symbols of the Belarusian People's Republic
I like the old flag of the duchy, it's nice and unique.
2012 Nov 03 12:56
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RE: State symbols of the Belarusian People's Republic
The extreme diversity of the Belarusian heraldry LOL (the colours weren't the same, though):

[Image: 138216460690.jpg]

[...] just as it is not left unto us to choose our ancestors, so we may not choose our nation; we can only fulfil, or not fulfil, the obligations that come from being a member of our people’.
© Dr. Jan Stankievič ‘From the History of Belarus’

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2013 Oct 19 07:47
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RE: State symbols of the Belarusian People's Republic
Quote:1.2.9. A red band of a flag must be of one of the following colours according to the Colour Samples, worked out by the All-Union Institute of light industry of 1986: 110506, 110607, 110608, 120506, 120507, 120606, 120608, 130506, 12070, 130606, 130607, 130708.

Legislative Acts on State Symbols of the Republic of Belarus” (1992; Belarusian, Russian, English), page 89

Unfortunately so far nobody has managed to decipher these ancient formulae and to translate them into CMYK or RGB. But as far as I know there indeed were some discussions about what shade of red the red band of the flag must have. Namely the idea that the band must be of dark red colour was brought up (the idea was applied later by the two artists who designed the party flag for the Conservative Christian Party of the BPF).

Probably the commission that worked on the legislative acts (see pp. 74–76) did not come to one conclusion, so they left 12 shades of red to choose from. Very democratic of them.

From the vexillological point of view the white, red, and white flag is designed so well that calling it ‘ideal’ would be not far from the truth. It's a shame, though, that the tradition to use bright red for the middle band prevails.

With the middle band of burgundy, oxblood or claret red, the flag looks far better and is among the best looking European flags, in my opinion.

[Image: artsiadziba_symbali_origin-2.jpg]

[...] just as it is not left unto us to choose our ancestors, so we may not choose our nation; we can only fulfil, or not fulfil, the obligations that come from being a member of our people’.
© Dr. Jan Stankievič ‘From the History of Belarus’

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2015 Jan 29 18:27
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RE: State symbols of the Belarusian People's Republic
(2015 Jan 29 18:27)W. R. Wrote:  But as far as I know there indeed were some discussions about what shade of red the red band of the flag must have.

This is Mr. Krukoŭski, he is one of the authors of the Chase-1991. He is holding a standard image of the Chase. Judging by this picture alone the hue of the red colour is ‘radical red’ aka ‘bright amaranth pink’.

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[...] just as it is not left unto us to choose our ancestors, so we may not choose our nation; we can only fulfil, or not fulfil, the obligations that come from being a member of our people’.
© Dr. Jan Stankievič ‘From the History of Belarus’

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2016 May 09 23:35
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