The 9th of August carries deep significance for many Belarusians, here you can read Lizaveta Dubinka-Hushcha thoughts on why it is a significant date, and what it means to her personally.


Why is this day significant?


“The 9th of August marks three years since the disputed presidential elections in Belarus in 2020, in which Lukashenko assumed power for another presidential term. The elections sparked an unprecedentedly large protest movement in a country that had been labelled “the last dictatorship in Europe.” Elections in Belarus have never been the most transparent or democratic in the world; quite the opposite. However, before and during the elections on the 9th of August, the people of Belarus were very active in ensuring a fair counting of their votes. For example, they used visual codes such as white bracelets when casting their ballots, making it visible how many desired a change. As a result, the people felt deeply cheated afterwards, leading to the massive street demonstrations. Some sustained serious injuries, some even lost their lives. This day also commemorates the bravery of the Belarusian people and those who sacrificed their freedom by going to prison.”



What is significant about this day to you personally?


“Deep inside, I’ve always known that we Belarusians have reasons to be proud of our history, language, and culture. However, due to the negative image of the regime, we’ve often kept a low profile about our
origins. But the 9th of August marks the day when I could openly take pride in being Belarusian. It signifies a new chapter in my identity as a Belarusian, and this feeling extends to many of my friends as well. The demonstrations fostered solidarity and a sense of community among Belarusians. Before this, I would feel somewhat shy and embarrassed when asked where I was from, especially when the country was called “white Russia” in Danish. Now, I readily proclaim my nationality. I am proud. Conversely, when the full-scale war broke out between Russia and Ukraine in February 2022, Belarus became implicated in the aggression, leading to a renewed sense of shame due to its association with Lukashenko. But the protests on the 9th brought the Belarusian people to the world’s attention, a vital moment. We have revealed our true selves.”


What message do you want to send to Danes and people internationally on this day?


“Much of what is shared on social media and in the media, in general, tends to focus on ourselves or our immediate surroundings. We often overlook what is happening in unfamiliar places, to which we have less attachment. However, I urge everyone not to forget about Belarus. I hope that people maintain their curiosity about this country. This is not only crucial for Belarusians but also for the entire region which democratic-minded Belarusians historically belong to.”