About the BPF Party
Short history of the BPF Party
The BPF Party (PBNF) (Belarusian: Партыя БНФ, ПБНФ, Partyja BNF) is a political party in Belarus. It was founded as the social movement Belarusian Popular Front “Revival” or BPF (Belarusian: Беларускі Народны Фронт “Адраджэньне”, БНФ, Biełaruski Narodny Front “Adradžeńnie”, BNF) during the perestroika times by members of the Belarusian intelligentsia, including Vasil Bykaŭ. Its first and most charismatic leader was Zianon Pazniak.
After a 2005 decree by president Alexander Lukashenko on the restriction of the usage of the words Беларускі (“Belarusian” and “Народны” (“National”, “Popular”, “People’s”) in the names of political parties and movements, the party had to change its official name to “BPF Party”.
The BPF “Revival” is a force, which consistently defends BELARUSIAN INTERESTS, i.e. interests of Belarusian people and independent Belarusian state.
The main aim of the BPF “Revival” is a free man in an independent European Belarus.
The BPF “Revival” strives:
- for FREEDOM, i.e. for building a democratic society of responsible citizens;
- for INDEPENDENT BELARUS, which should be irreversible and well-secured
- for WELL-BEING, for economic liberation of people through guarantees of private ownership;
- for REVIVAL, for revival of Belarusian cultural traditions on the basis of European moral values.
The BPF “Revival” stands for EUROPEAN CHOICE for Belarus. The BPF “Revival” views are in line with a pan-European, popular, conservative and Christian-democratic tradition.
Early history of the Belarusian Popular Front
The Belarusian Popular Front was established in 1988 as both a political party and a cultural movement, following the examples of Popular Front of Estonia, Popular Front of Latvia and the Lithuanian pro-democracy movement Sąjūdis. Membership was declared open to all Belarusian citizens as well as any democratic organization.
Its goals are democracy and independence through national rebirth and rebuilding after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The main idea of the Front was the revival of the national idea, including the rebirth of the Belarusian language. Initially, its orientation was pro-Western with a great deal of scepticism towards Russia. At one moment they propagated the idea of the union from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea that would involve Ukraine, Poland, Belarus and Lithuania, similar to Józef Piłsudski’s “Międzymorze”.
Among the significant achievements of the Front was uncovering of the burial site of Kurapaty near Minsk. The Front claims that the NKVD performed there its secret killings.
Initially, the Front had significant visibility because of its numerous active public actions that almost always ended in clashes with police and KGB. It was the BPF’s parliamentarians who made the Parliament restore the historical Belarusian symbols: white-red-white flag and the Pahonia coat of arms. At some time people were arrested in the streets for wearing a white-red-white scarf in Belarus.
In 1994 the BPF formed a so-called “shadow” cabinet consisting of 100 BPF intellectuals. Its first Prime Minister was Uładzimir Zabłocki. It originally contained 18 commissions that published ideas and proposed laws and plans for restructuring the government and economy. Its last economic reform proposal was published in 1999. In opposition to the Alexander Lukashenko’s government, the party supports Belarus’ entry into NATO and European Union. It is an observer member of the European People’s Party (EPP) and an associate member of the International Democrat Union(IDU).
1999 split and modern history
In the late 1990th the party’s conservative wing under Zianon Pazniak split from the main BPF to found an independent political party – the Conservative Christian Party BPF (Kanservatyŭna-Chryścijanskaja Partyja BNF). The Party claims to be the only true BPF successor and does not recognize the “other” BPF. It also distances itself from the rest of Belarusian opposition and labels them as “regime accomplices”.
At the 2004 legislative elections the party was part of the People’s Coalition 5 Plus (Narodnaja Kaalicyja Piaciorka Plus), that did not secure any seats. These elections fell according to the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission significantly short of OSCE commitments. Universal principles and constitutionally guaranteed rights of expression, association and assembly were seriously violated, calling into question the Belarusian authorities’ willingness to respect the concept of political competition on a basis of equal treatment. According to this mission, principles of inclusive democratic process, whereby citizens have the right to seek political office without discrimination, candidates to present their views without obstruction, and voters to learn about them and discuss them freely, were largely ignored.
In October 2005 Alaksandar Milinkievič, a candidate proposed by the BPF and The “green” Zialonyja party was elected common democratic candidate for presidential elections to take place in 2006.
In 2007 the party became a member of the International Democrat Union.
During the presidential election 2010 the BPF Party nominated its own candidate for presidency Ryhor Kastusyow, who is the current Deputy Chairman of the BPF Party. According to the official results, he gained 1,97 % of the votes, which is quite doubtful, as international observers claimed the elections and the process of vote count to have fallen short of democratic standards.
After the brutal dispersal of the meeting, which took place on December 19, 2010, when more than 600 people were arrested and sentenced to administrative arrests, the BPF Central Office became the center of solidarity with the arrested people.