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Hero of Belarus (Belarusian: Герой Беларусі; Łacinka: Hieroj Biełarusi; Russian: Герой Беларуси, Transliteration: Geroy Belarusi) is the highest title that can be bestowed on a citizen of Belarus. It was introduced by the decree of the Belarus Supreme Council # 3726-XII on April 13, 1995. The title is awarded to those "who perform great deeds in the name of Belarus". The deed can be for military performance, economic excellence or great service to the State and society. The design of the medal is similar to its predecessor, Hero of the Soviet Union. Similar titles to the Hero of Belarus include the Russian Hero of the Russian Federation and the Ukrainian Hero of Ukraine. This title has only been awarded to five people since its inception — Uładzimir Karvat, Alaksandar Dubko, Michajił Karčmit, Vital Kramko and Pavieł Maryjaŭ. Of those, only Kramko and Maryjaŭ are living today.
The title was created by the Belarus Supreme Soviet on April 13, 1995. The resolution, numbered N 3726-XII, was titled "System of State Awards for the Republic of Belarus." Alongside the Hero of Belarus title, various other medals, orders, and titles that can be bestowed by the Belarus government were created by the resolution. The creation of the awards was a way to honor those who have made valuable contributions to Belarus, irrespective of whether the act was performed by a citizen or a foreigner. Article Six of the resolution describes the criteria and the awarding of the title.
In N 3726-XII, Chapter 2, Article 5, the criteria for the title were as stated: Title "Hero of Belarus" is the highest degree of difference in the Republic of Belarus and is awarded for exceptional service to state and society, in connection with actions which epitomize the freedom, independence, and prosperity of the Republic of Belarus.
Recommendation process and awardingEdit
Chapter 3, Article 60 of the Law N 3726-XII allows any group (association) of workers to submit a recommendation (petition) for a individual to be awarded the title. This process also works for other state titles. The petition is rejected if the person in question has already been awarded the title in the past. The petition process can also be started on the initiative of the Council of Ministers, the Chambers of the National Assembly, the President's administrations, ministries and other republic organs (bodies) of state administration, leading organs of public unions and local government councils. The various public bodies of the Belarus government determine whether the individual is worthy enough for the title. Upon their approval, the nomination is forwarded to the Council of Ministers, who themselves forward it to the President of the Republic.
In the Belarus Constitution, the official that has the power to confer state awards is the President of the Republic. The President will issue a decree conferring the title to a person. Within a period of two months, the title will be presented by the President in a formal setting, usually at the Presidential Palace in the capital city of Minsk. A certificate (gramota) will also be presented to the recipient, signed by the President of the Republic.
Article 6 of the resolution states that the title can only be awarded once. Article 68 states that the Hero of Belarus title can be presented posthumously.
Law 3599-XII, established on February 21, 1995, promised those who have received titles and high awards and orders in the Soviet Union benefits that they have received before. The awards are Hero of the Soviet Union, Hero of Socialist Labor, Order of Glory and Order of Labor Glory. Veterans of the Great Patriotic War and their spouses are also entitled to these benefits. Some examples of benefits granted by the government are:
- Right to first access of free health care for themselves and their spouse. Those who do not use this benefit will be paid in cash in an amount determined by the Council of Ministers. (Law 3599-XII, Chapter 2, Article 4)
- The right to first access to state sanitarium, dispensaries, recreation centers, boarding houses, or tourist homes. The cost of these facilities must not be more expensive than 25 percent of the total cost. (Law 3599-XII, Chapter 2, Article 4)
- Rent-free housing, utilities, and services. (Law 3599-XII, Chapter 2, Article 5)
- One free round trip on rail, airplane, or truck transport. (Law 3599-XII, Chapter 2, Article 6)
- Either free or reduced fees to register patents in Belarus. 
Some of these benefits were also arranged by Belarus's neighbors. If the Hero dies then the benefits will remain with their spouse as long as they do not remarry and have reached an age to be able to receive a pension.
Construction and display Edit
The recipient of the title is given a medal to show the rank, called Medal of the Hero of Belarus (Belarusian: медаль Героя Беларусі, Russian: медаль Героя Беларуси). The star and suspension are made of gold, thus it is nicknamed "Gold Star," as was its predecessor, the Hero of the Soviet Union. The star has a total diameter of 33 millimeters, and is attached to a rectangular suspension device (boot tree). In the center of the rectangle is a ribbon of two sections of red and one section of green. The red and green bars on the ribbon evoke the design and colors of the Belarus national flag. The amount of gold is set at 585-1 Test, with the total weight of the medal being 19 grams. The present design was enacted into law by Presidential Decree Number 516 on 6 November, 1999.
The medal design is modeled after one used for the Hero of the Soviet Union. Unlike the Hero of the Soviet Union, Hero of Socialist Labor and the Hero of the Russian Federation titles, there is no engraving on the reverse of the star. The ribbon also copies the Soviet Hero medal, since a flag design was also used to make the ribbon of that medal. The medal is always worn in full on the left side of the breast above all other medals and orders. Chapter 4, Article 69 of Law that created the Belarus State Awards system states that any awards and titles presented by the Soviet Union and the Belarusian SSR must be placed after awards from the Republic of Belarus. In that case, Hero of Belarus and Hero of Socialist Labor Alaksandar Dubko must wear the Hero of Belarus medal before his Hero of Socialist Labor medal. However, Dubko passed away before he was awarded the Hero of Belarus title.
Before the issuing of the current medal, one medal was designed when the title was created. The major differences between this medal and the current medal is the design of the suspension and the star medallion at the bottom: the top suspension is longer than the bottom, the bottom star is adorned with rubies and the outline of the star is different. The star design evokes a design similar to that used for the Marshal's Star which accompanied the rank Marshal of the Soviet Union. The design also used the red and green ribbon, though more had to be used to cover the suspension device. On close inspection, it can be seen that the green bars formed a small V, though whether this had any specific meaning is uncertain. This medal was adopted by President Decree (Number 26) on 15 May, 1996. This medal, which was only awarded to Vladimir Karvat, was in use for three years until it was replaced by the current design.
Since the title was created, it has been bestowed upon five people, all citizens of Belarus. One person has been awarded for a deed performed while in the service of the military, three were awarded for excellence in private industry, and the remaining title was for superior service to the State and society. Two titles were presented posthumously, while the other recipients personally received the title from President Alexander Łukašenka. The first award was given to Uładzimir Karvat, while the rest of the titles were presented June 30, 2001 to Pavieł Maryjaŭ, Michajił Karčmit, Vital Kramko and Alaksandar Dubko by Presidential Decree. The only heroes that are currently living are Vital Kramko and Pavieł Maryjaŭ.
Uładzimir Karvat Edit
The first recipient of the title was Lieutenant Colonel Uładzimir Karvat (English: Vladimir Karvat, Belarusian: Уладзімір Карват Russian: Владимир Николаевич Карват 1958-1996). Karvat was honored posthumously for his heroic actions, which took place on November 21, 1996, when his training aircraft (a Su-27p) caught fire. Though he was given the order to eject, the plane was heading directly for a populated area. Keeping that in mind, Karvat steered the plane until it crashed 1 km away from the area of Hacišča. President Łukašenka issued Decree Number 484 that day, awarding Karvat with the title Hero of Belarus. The decree stated: "For heroism while in the performance of military duty, we award Lieutenant Colonel Karvat, Vladimir Nikolayevich the title "Hero of Belarus" (posthumous).
Alaksandar Dubko Edit
Dubko (1938-2001, Belarusian: Аляксандар Дубко, Russian: Александр Иосифович Дубко) was the former chairman of the Hrodna Regional Executive Committee. In 1994, he was a candidate for President of Belarus. He also served in the Belarus SSR Supreme Soviet and the USSR Supreme Soviet. The posthumous honor was for his long record of service to the peoples of the former Soviet Union and to the citizens of Belarus. Dubko's citation read "for valiant service to state and society." Dubko also held the title Hero of Socialist Labor. (Decree Number 361)
Dubko's medal was presented to his sons by President Lukasheko. 
Michaił Karčmit Edit
Michaił Karčmit (February 1 1949– May 22 2004, Belarusian: Міхаіл Карчміт, English: Mikhail Alexandrovich Karchmit, Russian: Михаил Карчмит) was the chairman of the collective agricultural enterprise "Snov" (Агрокомбинат "Снов"), located in the Niaśviž region, Minsk Province. Karchmit's citation read "for selfless work and valiant efforts in the development of agricultural production." (Decree Number 362) Karčmit was also a member of the Council of the Republic from 1997 to 2000 and also received two decorations from the former Soviet Union.
Vital Kramko Edit
Kramko (1941- , Belarusian: Віталь Крамко (Крэмко), Russian: Виталий Ильич Кремко) is the chairman of "October" (Октябрь), an agricultural collective located in the Hrodna region. Kramko was awarded the title "for selfless work and valiant efforts in the development of agricultural production." (Decree Number 362)
Pavieł Maryjaŭ Edit
Maryjaŭ (Russian: Павел Лукьянович Мариев; English: Pavel Mariev, born on June 16 1938) is a current Minister on the Council of the Republic of Belarus. Pavel has a doctorate in the field of Technical Sciences.
Pavel was awarded his Hero of Belarus title for "selfless work and exceptional efforts in the development of domestic automobile construction" as general manager of the Belarusian Auto Works (BelAZ, БелАЗ) production company. (Decree Number 360) Pavel has also been decorated with the title "Merited Worker of Industry of the Republic of Belarus."
- ^ http://beliaeva.nsys.by/english/fee/law_fee.html
- ^ Newspaper Soviet Belorussia, Issue No. 184, July 5 2001
External Links Edit
- Army of Belarus (unofficial) Obituary of Lt. Colonel Vladimir (Uładzimir) Karvat. Retrieved 14 May 2005.
- Belarus Awards (2004) List of Heroes of Belarus. Retrieved from belawards.narod.ru 17 May 2005.
- Belarus Awards Russian description. Retrieved from belawards.narod.ru 14 May 2005.
- Belta.by Interview with Hero Vital Kramko. Retrieved 17 May 2005.
- Database "Political Elites of Byelorussian Regions" Biography of Aleksandr Dubko. Retrieved 18 May 2005.
- Council of the Republic of Belarus. Biography of Hero Pavieł Maryjaŭ (Mariyev). Retrieved 17 May 2005.
- President of the Republic of Belarus (24 May 2004). Obituary of Hero Michajił Karčmit. Retrieved 16 May 2005.
- President of the Republic of Belarus (2001). Speech announcing the 2001 Heroes. Retrieved 23 May 2005.
- The National Legal Internet Portal of the Republic of Belarus Belarus Law N 3726-XII. Retrieved 14 May 2005.
- The National Legal Internet Portal or the Republic of Belarus Belarus Law N 3599-XII. Retrieved 16 May 2005.