An exhibition highlighting newly-discovered historical material provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of Belarusian activists and their efforts to establish an independent Belarusian National Republic. The exhibition "Unknown Belarusian National Republic" curated by EHU scholars opened at the Slavonic Library of the Czech National Library in Prague on January 17, 2013. It was previously exhibited in Vilnius, Lithuania.
About sixty guests gathered at the Library for the opening, including representatives of the Czech government and parliament as well as the Embassy of Belarus and other members of the Prague diplomatic corps, civil society representatives, scholars, and journalists.
The exhibition includes personal documents of the founders of Belarusian national movements and political organizations, newspapers, museums, and scientific organizations as well as diplomatic passports of Belarusian civil servants and historical materials from the largest meeting of the Belarusian Peasants’ and Workers’ Union, among other events.
At the opening, the Director of the Slavonic Library Dr. Lukaš Babka emphasized the importance of the library in promoting Slavonic heritage and thanked EHU for partnering with the Slavonic Library in bringing the exhibition to Prague.
EHU Lecturer Yury Bachyshcha described the historic ties that link the Czech and Belarusian people.
“In the beginning of the twentieth century, our national leaders who tried to create the Belarusian National Republic found support from the Czechoslovakian government. Czechoslovakia became one of the first states to recognize the Belarusian National Republic. When the government of the Belarusian state was forced into exile, it found a refuge in Prague. Building upon these strong foundations of Czech-Belarusian relations, I hope this exhibition will help us to understand each other even better.”
Czech Ambassador-at-Large for Eastern Partnership Petr Mareš spoke of the importance of the Czech foreign ministry's support for EHU and for other pro-democratic projects and thanked Czech Ambassador to Lithuania Radek Pech for proposing the idea of bringing the exhibition to Prague and contributing his time and energy to making it happen.
EHU’s Vice-Rector for Development and Communications Darius Udrys noted that the exhibition "shows the active contribution that EHU researchers are making to scholarship about Belarus and its history" and thanked sponsors and supporters who helped make the Prague exhibition possible.
"Unknown Belarusian National Republic" continues through March 3 and is open to the public. It was jointly organized by the European Humanities University, the Slavonic Library of the Czech National Library, the Lithuanian Embassy in Prague, and the Czech Embassy in Vilnius, and is supported by 3p logistics.
The exhibition was prepared by the former Curator of Undergraduate Programs of the Department of History Juri Jurkevits. Research, translation, and presentation of the archival material was supported by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and the Lithaunian Central State Archive.