Belarus says replacing national flag with opposition banner was mockery of the memory of WWII victims
Belarus launched a criminal probe on Monday after its national flag was replaced by the one used by the country’s opposition at the former Buchenwald death camp in central Germany.
Minsk has insisted that “trampling upon the memory of all Belarusians, who lost their lives in World War II, and of tens of thousands of Belarusian prisoners of concentration camps” was unacceptable.
The flags were swapped ahead of a ceremony to mark 77 years since the liberation of the Buchenwald camp from the Nazis. It was held on Monday, but the delegations from Belarus and Russia hadn’t been invited over the conflict in Ukraine.
However, the images of the red and green Belarusian national flag being taken down and a red and white banner, which became famous internationally after a wave of anti-government protests in Belarus in 2020 and 2021, being placed instead of it have been upload on social media and did not go unnoticed in Minsk.
They’ve led to the German ambassador in Belarus, Manfred Huterer, being summoned to the foreign ministry on Monday.
On the anniversary of liberating the Buchenwald concentration camp, which housed many, including Soviet prisoners, they removed the flag of Belarus. The flag was replaced with the white-and-red WWII Nazi collaborationist flag from the area (also used by the opposition). 🤦🏻♀️ pic.twitter.com/RaV8WCFEwB
— Nina 🐙 Byzantina (@NinaByzantina) April 11, 2022
The envoy was told that considering the “the suffering of the Belarusian people at the hands of the fascist invaders” and the nation’s overall contribution to the victory over the Nazis, “such actions of the German side cannot be justified by any means, especially by any momentary or opportunistic reasons.”
The same day, the Belarusian Prosecutor General’s Office launched a criminal case for stirring up national hatred in relation to the incident at Buchenwald, which is now a museum and Holocaust memorial.
The agency echoed the foreign ministry labeling the flag swap a “cynical” act that “diminished the honor and dignity of the Belarusian people” and “a mockery of the memory of millions, who died on Belarusian territory” during World War II.
According to Belarusian law, the relevant article of the criminal code could carry a punishment of from three to ten years in prison. The investigators currently don’t have a suspect, with a statement saying that an “unidentified person” had tampered with the flags.
Buchenwald was one of the first concentration camps set up by the Nazis. It remained operational between 1937 and 1945, with more than 76,000 people estimated to have died within its walls.
Belarus troops aren’t taking part in the fighting in Ukraine, but Minsk still faced international condemnation and sanctions for being Moscow’s ally and for providing Russian forces passage through its territory.
The red and white flag that became the symbol of the Western-backed Belarusian protests has a rather controversial history. It was initially designed for the Belarusian Democratic Republic (BNR), a self-proclaimed state that only existed between 1918 and 1919. The same banner was later picked by the Belarusians, who chose to collaborate with the Nazis during World War II.
RT (Russia Today) is a state-owned news organization funded by the Russian government. The information provided by this news source is being included by the Libertarian Hub not as an endorsement of the Russian government, but rather because it is being actively censored by Big Tech, Western governments and the corporate press. During times of conflict it is imperative that we have access to both sides of the story so we can form our own opinions, even if both sides are spewing their own propaganda. The censorship of RT, despite likely being a propaganda outfit for the Russian government, reduces our ability to hear one side of the conflict. For that reason, the Libertarian Hub will temporarily republish the RSS feed from RT. Visit https://rt.com
This post has been republished with implied permission from a publicly-available RSS feed found on RT. The views expressed by the original author(s) do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of The Libertarian Hub, its owners or administrators. Any images included in the original article belong to and are the sole responsibility of the original author/website. The Libertarian Hub makes no claims of ownership of any imported photos/images and shall not be held liable for any unintended copyright infringement. Submit a DCMA takedown request.