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Belarus voted to break away from Soviet Union 27 years ago

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Independence Day in 1990s. Photo: charter97.org

On 27 July 1990, the Supreme Council of Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic (BSSR) adopted the Declaration of Sovereignity.  The country was not independent yet as it remained part of the Soviet Union whih ceased to exist one and a half years later. However, the document laid the foundation of Belarusian statehood we have today.

In 1991, four days after the failed August coup d'etat in Moscow, members of the Supreme Council elevated the Declaration to the status of a Constitutional law - the basis for the first edition of Belarus Constitution adopted on 15 March 1994.

The last years of the Soviet Union (USSR) are remembered for the 'parade of sovereignties.' All of 15 republics that were part of the "grand and mighty Soviet Union" adopted declarations of independence. Estonia was the first to break away on 15 November 1988. Belarus was No 10 to declare its sovereignty immediately after Ukraine did.

Independence Day in 1990s.
Independence Day in 1990s. Photo: charter97.org

The Declaration adopted on 27 July 1990 remains in force. It says that Belarus is a sovereign state founded on the inherent right of its people to self-determination, the statehood of Belarusian language, the power of people in shaping their destiny.

Belarus marked Independence Day on 27 July until 1996 when Aliaksandr Lukashenka changed it through a referendum to 3 July - the day when Minsk was liberated from the Nazi forces in 1944.