U.S. Embassy Statement on Act of Vandalism in Kurapaty

The U.S. Embassy in Minsk is deeply disturbed by the destruction on February 1 of the memorial bench presented by U.S. President Bill Clinton to the Belarusian people 25 years ago at Kurapaty and call on Belarusian officials to investigate and prosecute those responsible.  We believe this horrible act does not represent the Belarusian people or the Belarusian government.  Destroying the bench will not undermine U.S. support for Belarus’ independence and sovereignty nor for the constructive role Belarus plays in the region.

Vandals may easily destroy the bench, but not what it represents.  As a place of reflection for those visiting the Kurapaty, the bench symbolizes the shared values of standing firmly and resolutely against tyranny and terror, and the inherent hope that the events that occurred 80 years ago at that location would never happen again anywhere.