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Belarusians Mark Banned 500th Annivesary Of Muscovites' Defeat

  • RFE/RL's Belarus Service

Dozens of activists have marked the 500th anniversary of the victory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania over a Muscovite army near the city of Vorsha in what is now eastern Belarus.

The commemorations were held on September 8 despite a ban on celebrations of the anniversary, which are awkward for President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's government because of its alliance with Russia and demonstrated nostalgia for the Soviet era.

Orthodox Christian and Catholic priests prayed at the site on Krapivnenske Field near Vorsha and activists raised wooden crosses and historical red-and-white Belarusian flags, which have also been banned.

In Minsk, the capital, activists put a four-meter red-and-white flag on a building near main square. It was removed about 90 minutes.

In the Battle of Vorsha (Orsza) on September 8, 1514, the allied forces of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, of which Belarus then was a subject, and the Kingdom of Poland defeated the army of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.