Zianon Pazniak
Зянон Пазняк
2008.06.16. Zianon Pazniak Fot Mariusz Kubik 01.JPG
Zianon Pazniak in 2008
Deputy to the Supreme Council of the Republic of Belarus
In office
15 May 1990 – 28 May 1995
Personal details
Zianon Stanislavavič Pazniak

(1944-04-24) 24 April 1944 (age 79)
Subotniki, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union
Political partyConservative Christian Party – BPF
Halina Vaščanka
(m. 1995)
ChildrenNadzieja (adopted)
Alma materBelarusian State Institute of Theatre and Arts
AwardsRibbon-BNR 100 Jubilee Medal.png Belarusian Democratic Republic 100th Jubilee Medal (2018)

Zianon Stanislavavič Pazniak (Belarusian: Зянон Станіслававіч Пазняк, born 24 April 1944) is a Belarusian nationalist[1] politician, one of the founders of the Belarusian Popular Front and leader of the Conservative Christian Party – BPF. He was the Belarusian Popular Front nominee for President of Belarus in the 1994 election.

Zianon Pazniak has lived in the United States since 1996.


Zianon Pazniak was born in the village of Subotniki in Baranavichy Voblast (present-day Hrodna Region).

He graduated from the Belarusian State Institute of Theatre and Arts in 1967 and completed his postgraduate studies at the Institute of Ethnography, Art and Folklore in 1972. Upon completion of his university studies, Pazniak worked as an arts researcher. After a wave of Soviet political-administrative repressions in 1974 resulting in the loss of his work at the Arts Institute, Pazniak worked as an archaeologist at the Archaeological Division of the History Institute of the Belarusian Science Academy. His specialisation was the Late Middle Ages in Belarus. He was heavily involved in efforts to preserve the remaining section of the historic centre of Minsk, which was considerably damaged by the redevelopment efforts undertaken by the Soviet administration after the end of the Second World War. In 1981 Pazniak successfully defended a doctoral dissertation on the history of the theatre.

In 1988, Zianon Pazniak made public his researches of NKVD mass executions in the forest of Kurapaty near Minsk. At that time, he became a leader of the Belarusian national movement for freedom and independence. In 1988, along with Vasil Bykaŭ, he was one of the founders of the Belarusian Popular Front and the Belarusian Martyrologue.

From May 1990 until January 1996, Pazniak was a deputy of the Belarusian parliament. As parliamentary deputy, he was the leader of the fraction of the BPF.

First round votes for Pazniak, 1994 presidential election
First round votes for Pazniak, 1994 presidential election

In 1994, he participated in the 1994 election as the Belarusian Popular Front nominee, gaining 13.1 percent of the vote. Pazniak’s candidacy was supported by the famous Belarusian writer Vasil Bykaŭ and a number of representatives of the Belarusian scientific community.

Pazniak with Belarusian students in Warsaw, 2011
Pazniak with Belarusian students in Warsaw, 2011
Pazniak reads Kastuś Kalinoŭski's letter, 2013

In 1996, Zianon Pazniak fled Belarus, citing a potential arrest by the forces of the Belarusian president Aliaksandar Lukashenka. He was granted political asylum in the United States.

On June 19, 1997, Belarus's prosecutor's office opened a criminal case against Pazniak accusing him of incitement to ethnic hatred against Russian people.[2]

Following emigration, Zianon Pazniak is still active in leading the CCP-BPF (Christian Conservative Party of the BPF). His endeavour to participate in the presidential elections of 2006 was set back when he refused to forward the requisite number of signatures gathered for his candidacy. Pazniak and the Conservative Christian Party – BPF refused to join elections in the oppositional coalition led by Aliaksandar Milinkevich in 2006 election.

He is a founding signatory of the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism.[3] In 2018, Pazniak received the Belarusian Democratic Republic 100th Jubilee Medal from the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in Exile.


Jan Pazniak
Jan Pazniak

Zianon Pazniak's grandfather was Jan Pazniak (1887 (1895 ?) – 1939 ?), a Belarusian publisher, editor, publicist and politician. Jan Pazniak took part in the activity of the Belarusian Christian educational movement and was a member of the Christian Democratic Union since its founding in May 1917 in Petrograd. Jan Pazniak published several newspapers and magazines as “Biełarus”, “Biełaruskaja krynica” (English: Belarusian Spring), “Chryścijanskaja Dumka” (English: Christian Thought) and “Ranica” (English: Morning). In September–October 1939, he was arrested by the NKVD and taken out of Vilna. According to one version, Jan Pazniak was held in prison in Staraja Vilejka not far from Maladziechna until June 1941. The circumstances and date of his death are still unknown.

His father was Stanisłaŭ Janavič Pazniak (1922-1944). Stanisłaŭ Pazniak was recruited into the Red Army in the summer of 1944 and died on the Soviet-German front in December 1944.

His mother was Hanna Jaŭchimaŭna Pazniak (1922-2012). She lived in Subotniki almost all her life. In her last years, she was seriously ill. When she died in April 2012, Pazniak didn't come to the funeral, fearing persecution by the authorities.[4][5]

His wife is Halina Pazniak (Vaščanka). She was a deputy of the Minsk City Council. They have been married since 1995. She lives in Warsaw.[6]

His step daughter is Nadzieja.[7][8]


This article may be unbalanced towards certain viewpoints. Please improve the article by adding information on neglected viewpoints, or discuss the issue on the talk page. (March 2018)

Stanislau Shushkevich thought that neither the West nor Belarus needed Pazniak. Shushkevich said that Pazniak is a political deserter, who cowardly ran away from Belarus.[9] Pavel Sharamet thought that Pazniak was an intolerant and rough politician and his emigration was cowardice.[10] Alaksiej Janukievich called Pazniak's accusations of collaboration with KGB "paranoia".[11] Roy Medvedev thinks that Pazniak is a radical nationalist.[12] Valeriya Novodvorskaya said that Pazniak "died" the day when he was frightened for his "precious" life and emigrated.[13]

See also


  1. ^ Зянон Пазняк: “Нацыяналізм і дэмакратыя – сынонімы”
  2. ^ Крымінальная справа супраць Пазьняка не закрытая
  3. ^ "Prague Declaration – Declaration Text". June 3, 2008. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
  4. ^ "Умерла мать Зенона Позняка". charter97.org. Retrieved June 13, 2017. (in Russian)
  5. ^ Зенон Позняк не приедет в Беларусь на похороны матери (in Russian)
  6. ^ Пазьняк Зянон Станіслававіч // Кансэрватыўна-Хрысьціянская Партыя — БНФ(in Belarusian)>
  7. ^ "Сярод будучых тэлезорак – дачка Зянона Пазьняка". Наша Ніва (in Belarusian). Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  8. ^ PazniakVideo (December 26, 2012). "Пазьняк для тэлеканала ГРТ". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved June 13, 2017. (in Belarusian)
  9. ^ Шушкевич: Позняк - политический дезертир // Belarusian partisan, November 02, 2012
  10. ^ Павал Шарамет. Онлайн-канфэрэнцыя // Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
  11. ^ Алексей Янукевич: «Поиски агентов спецслужб в своих рядах — признак паранойи» Archived November 10, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ R. Medvedev. Александр Лукашенко. Контуры белорусской модели. Москва, 2010. ISBN 978-5-93679-126-0
  13. ^ Новодворская: Позняк "умер", когда сбежал // Belarusian partisan, January 21, 2013