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Belarus

Belarus Destinations Travel Guide

 

 

  Language: Russian, Belarussian

Currency: Belarusian ruble (BYR)

Calling Code: 375

 

 

 

Description of Belarus

Belarus White Rus is a landlocked, sovereign country in Eastern Europe that was part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) until 1991. It borders Lithuania and Latvia to the north, with the Russian Federation, to the south with Ukraine and to the west with Poland. The capital is Minsk. Until the twentieth century, Belarusians lacked the opportunity to create a distinctive national identity because for centuries the lands of present-day Belarus belonged to several ethnically different countries, including the Principality of Pólatsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Republic of the Two Nations After the brief existence of the Belarusian National Republic (1918-1919), Belarus became a constituent republic of the USSR, the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The definitive unification of Belarus, within its modern frontiers, took place in 1939, when Russian-Belarusian lands held by the Second Polish Republic (1918-1939) were annexed to the Soviet Union under the terms of the Ribbentrop Pact. Molotov: The territory of this country was devastated in the Second World War, during which Belarus lost about a third of its population and more than half of its economic resources.The Republic was rehabilitated in the years after the war .

The Parliament of the Republic declared the sovereignty of Belarus on July 27, 1990, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on August 25, 1991. Aleksandr Lukashenko has been president of the country since 1994. During his presidency Lukashenko has implemented policies similar to those of the Soviet era, such as state ownership of the economy, despite the objections of Western governments. Since 2000, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation with some touches of the formation of a State of the Union.

The majority of the population of Belarus (almost 10 million) live in urban areas around Minsk or in the capitals of the other provinces, more than 80% of the population are Belarusian natives, the rest are made up of minorities of Russians, Polish and Ukrainian. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages: Belarusian and Russian. The Constitution of Belarus does not declare an official religion, although the main religion in the country is Christianity, mainly Russian Orthodox (the second most popular Christian branch, Catholicism, has a much smaller follow-up in comparison). Belarus is a completely flat country (it does not exceed 300 meters above sea level), divided into three distinct geographical zones: the northern one, populated by lakes; the central wooded plateau and the southern part, very swampy and uninhabited, called Swamps of Prípiat.

 

Travel Destinations in Belarus

Babruysk Fortress

 

Babruysk Fortress is a historic citadel situated in a Belarus city of Babruysk. It was constructed between 1810 and 1836.

Berestye

Berestye is an abandoned medieval Slavic settlement that gave rise to a city of modern day Brest, Belarus. It is one of the best preserved archeological sites in the country.

Brest Fortress

Old Brest Fortress became a symbol of heroic resistance of Soviet soldiers against Nazi German army. 

Halshany Castle

 

Halshany Castle is yet another residence constructed by the rich family of Sapieha in the 17th century.

Hajciunishki Manor

 

Hajciunishki Manor is a historic private residence situated in a mouth of the river Voishelk in a village of Hajciunishki of Belarus.

 

Kreva Castle

Kreva Castle is a medieval citadel situated in the Kreva village in Belarus. It was constructed in the 14th century by the orders of Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas.

 

Kosava

 

Kosava is a historic Belarussian town in the Ivatsevichy Raion, Brest Province of Belarus. It is famous birthplace of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, Polish resistance fighter.

 

Lida Castle

 

Lida Castle was constructed in the 14th century by Grand Duke Gediminas of Lithuania after several successful military campaigns.

 

Minsk

 

Minsk is the largest city in Belarus and also serves as the capital of the country.

 

Narachanski National Park

Narachanski National Park is a nature preserve around lake Narach. It was established on July 28 1999 to protect a biosphere around the lake and its wetlands.

Mir Castle

Mir or Mirsky Castle Complex is a medieval castle located in a Hrodna voblast of Belarus. It is one of the largest and best preserved citadels in the country.

Navahrudak Castle

 

Navahrudak Castle was constructed by Grand Duchy of Lithuania as a defense of the Eastern borders from Russian duchies. 

Nesvizh Castle

Nesvizh Castle is an UNESCO World Heritage Site situated near a town of Nesvizh in the Minsk Oblast of Belarus. 

Ruzhany Palace

The residence was constructed in 1770s by the orders of Aleksander Michał Sapieha. Today it is abandoned and left in ruins. 

   

 

 

 

Geography of Belarus

The Republic of Belarus is a country in Eastern Europe. It shares a border with Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. It is a former Soviet Republic that gained its independence in 1991 upon dissolution of USSR. The country is largely a flat country. The highest point is located in the Belarusian Ridge at the height of 345 meters above sea level. The country has not access to the sea.

Political system in Belarus

Belarus is a republic. The head of the state is the president. In case of Belarus president Lukashenka has a wide amount of powers. The legislative body of the country is the National Assembly.

Weather in Belarus

The climate in Belarus is moderately continental. It get about 550- 700 mm of precipitation each year. Snow reaches a depth of 1- 1.2 meters.

 

Language of Belarus

The official languages in Belarus is Belarusian and Russian. Russia is more widely spoken in all large areas. English is fairly common in tourist areas.

Religion of Belarus

Most of Belarusians belong to Eastern Orthodox at 70%. Another 20% belong to Roman Catholic Church.

Office hours

Banks are usually open from Monday to Friday from 9-9:30am to 5- 5:30pm. Most stores in the country work from 9am to 8- 9pm with a lunch hour during the day. Larger supermarkets usually close at 10- 11pm.

Emergency numbers

One emergency service 112

Ambulance 03

Police 02

Fire 01

 

 

Get in
Visa-free entry
Citizens of the following countries/territories do not need a visa: Argentina (90 days) Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brazil (90 days) Cuba (30 days), Ecuador (30 days), Georgia, Israel (90 days per 180 days), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macao (30 days), Macedonia (with a private invitation or tourist voucher), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro (30 days with a private invitation or tourist voucher), Qatar (30 days), Russia, Serbia (30 days), Tajikistan, Turkey (30 days), United Arab Emirates (30 days), Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Venezuela (90 days).

An up-to-date list of visa-exempt countries and territories can be found on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Citizens of 74 countries, including Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, and the US (see list), do not need a visa for stays in Belarus of up to 30 days, subject to a limit of 90 days per calendar year, provided they meet the following requirements:

they enter and they leave the country via flights to and from Minsk National Airport
they have medical insurance valid in Belarus preferably purchased from a kiosk next to passport control at the airport for €1/day (bring euros or dollars with you to purchase)
they are not flying directly from or to a city in Russia
they have cash or proof of funds of at least 25€ per day of stay (not enforced for travelers from developed countries)
Visa-free entry only applies to visitors entering and leaving through the border checkpoint at Minsk National Airport, and, unless noted elsewhere, visa-free entry does not apply to travelers entering or exiting by train, bus, or car, or entering by plane at a different airport than Minsk. The cheapest flights to/from Minsk National Airport are usually to/from Vilnius.

Visa-free entry is not granted to holders of diplomatic, service or special passports and to travelers flying to Minsk from Russia or flying from Minsk to Russia. These flights are considered domestic because of the absence of border control between Belarus and Russia.

Citizens of Vietnam, Haiti, Gambia, Honduras, India, China, Lebanon, Namibia, Samoa must also have a valid multi-entry visa to one of the EU countries or to the Schengen Area. They also have to produce a stamp that they used this visa to enter the EU as well as return flight tickets from Minsk before the visa-free period expires.

Arrival and departure days are each considered as full days.

Foreigners can also travel visa-free for 10 days to a visa-free zone that includes Brest and Grodno, provided they obtain permission from a travel agency. See this page for details.

Foreigners can also travel visa-free for 3 days to Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park in western Belarus. To do this, you should "book tourism services" in advance and fill in a online form, after which a simplified visa will be sent to you by e-mail. Bring a printout of the visa and a passport and enter the park from Poland through the Pererov-Belovezha border checkpoint.

Required registration
Whether or not they need a visa, foreigners visiting Belarus must register with the local Migration and Citizenship Department within a period of 5 business days and get a registration card that is held until you leave the country. If you are staying in a hotel, this will be arranged by the hotel and the hotel will provide the registration card at check-in. Do not lose these papers.

 

Getting a visa if you need one
Visa on arrival at Minsk National Airport
Belarusian visas can be obtained at Minsk National Airport (IATA: MSQ) by nationals of countries with no consular offices of the Republic of Belarus for €90 or for €180 for citizens of countries with a Belarusian consulate. Standard documents including a letter of invitation have to be provided in advance. See Particulars of issuance of entry visas at the «National Airport Minsk».

Visa from a Belarusian Embassy
You can apply for a visa at a Belarusian Consulate or Embassy. The list can be found on the Foreign Affairs Ministry website.

Visas can be valid for one, two, three, or unlimited entries. They are to be used within the period indicated therein. A visa will take a full page of your passport so make sure you have at least one page free.

Visa fees and processing times
Tourist visa fees are approximately €60 for all categories of visa, for processing in 5 business days, or double the price for a 2 business day turnaround. Fees change so check with your local embassy for the current costs.

Japanese and Serbian passport holders are exempted from visa fees.

Difficulties when applying for a visa by mail
Applying for a Visa for Belarus can be a very customer unfriendly experience. If you cannot apply for a visa in person, you SHOULD use the help of a Visa Processing Agency even though it will involve additional fees.

It is common that someone follows all application protocols for getting a visa but still gets denied due to a small technical error, such as a problem with the form of money order or a slight error in a filling out a form.

Communication with the embassies/consulates in Kensington (London, England), Vilnius (Lithuania), Moscow (Russia) can be poor especially by e-mail, post and via telephone. In addition, there have been reports of e-mail queries going unanswered and express Visa applications not being processed in the 48 hour period. They may call you with an update on an application but the communication can be poor or unclear with the caller not identifying themselves.

Documents required
In order to get a visa you will also need a passport and an invitation, other papers depending on the type of visa you apply for. There is a compulsory state medical insurance for visitors to Belarus if you do have a policy valid in Belarus. Insurance costs 1€ a day. Even if you have valid insurance, if your document does not EXPLICITLY say it works in Belarus, officials in the airport will ask you to pay.

To get a Belarusian business visa a foreigner has to present an invitation of any Belarusian legal entity officially registered in the Republic of Belarus. The invitation is to be written on letterhead paper and should contain name, personal and passport details as well as purpose and duration of visit. The invitation is to be signed and bear official seal of the inviting organization. Embassies or consulates (with the exception of Consular office at the National airport) can often except invitations received by fax. Multiple business visa is obtainable against payment of USD300 from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Consular department upon presentation of all required documents (contact phone + 375 17 222 26 61).

To get a short-term visa for private purposes (visiting Belarusian relatives, friends, other private matters) with a validity of 30 days, maximum for 1-, 2- or multiple entries for citizens of the EU as well as nationals of several other countries, such as Australia, Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, Croatia, Chile, Iceland, Israel, Norway, Swiss Confederation, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Uruguay, Republic of South Africa and Japan, no visa support documents shall be required (letter of invitation etc. documents). However, the consulate may decide you do need a letter of invitation anyway. So don't be too confident that you can get a Visa without documents. For example, Canadian citizens are not guaranteed to get a short term visa for private purposes without a letter of invitation. Short term visas are available from Minsk airport, consulates and embassies.

 

To get a visa for private purposes a foreigner who is planning to stay in the country for more than 30 days has to present the invitation issued for a Belarusian resident by his citizenship and migration office. The original invitation should be handed over to the embassy/consulate or Consular office at the National airport in this case, any fax or photocopy is excluded. Multiple private visa is issued upon presentation of the original invitation to foreigners, visiting their close relatives. Very often Belarusian consulates grant private visas to the nationals of migration secure countries without any invitation papers.

Visas can be valid for one, two, three or multiple entries. They are to be used within the period indicated therein.

Some agencies provide letters of invitation, apartments, airport transfers etc. Any good search engine should provide links. Avoid belarusrent.com, however. Reports have been received of them taking money through paypal, though not delivering on services and refusing refunds.

Extensions of visas and visa-free stays
In case of emergency such as hospitalization, it is possible to extend a visa or the visa-free stay upon the request to a local Migration office. An exit visa should be issued and a traveler will be allowed to leave the country through any border checkpoint by road, railway, or air.

If needed, private or business visas can be extended up to 90 days by the Minsk city citizenship and migration office (contact phone + 375 17 231-3809) or Regional citizenship and migration office in Hrodna, Brest, Minsk, Mahilyou, Homel upon presentation of all the required documents.

Expired visas and required exit permits
If you have an expired visa, an exit permit will be required to leave the country. They are issued by Minsk city passport and visa office or Regional passport and visa offices in Hrodna, Brest, Minsk, Mogilev, Homel.

By plane
Several European airlines have flights to Minsk National Airport, approximately 40 km from Minsk, including Belavia, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Lot Polish Airlines, Air Baltic, and Czech Airlines.

The only national airline, Belavia offers competitively-priced direct flights. Flights to/from Vilnius costs as low as €40 and little advance purchase is required.

 

 

History

The Upper Paleolithic in Belarus includes the sites of Yurovichi and Berdyzh.

The formation of the first political associations on the Belarusian lands dates back to the VI – IX centuries. This process is closely related to the settlement of the Slavs. As a result of the merger of the cultures of the newly arrived Slavs and local Balts, alliances of tribes arose, among them the Krivichi, Dregovichi, Radimichi, Yatvyag, Lithuania and some others, which became the forerunners of the first state formations.

Old Russian state
By the end of the 9th century, the appearance of the Rurikovich state, known as the Old Russian State or Kievan Rus, was attributed. An important role in the formation of the state belongs to the trade route "from the Varangians to the Greeks", part of which passed through the territory of modern Belarus. The rulers of Russia waged a fierce struggle with the local tribal princely dynasties, and repeated military campaigns were undertaken that strengthened the international position of the Old Russian state. Around 988, the Grand Duke Vladimir was baptized in Russia, already in 992 the diocese was founded in Polotsk, and in 1005 - in Turov,

In the XI century, the Principality of Polotsk emerged from dependence on Kiev, the most famous ruler of which was Vseslav. By the middle of the XII century, Kievan Rus entered into a state of fragmentation and actually broke up into one and a half dozen individual Russian principalities. As a result of the Mongol invasion of 1237-1240, many Russian lands were completely devastated. It is assumed [by whom?] That the invasion slightly affected modern Belarusian lands.

In the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
In the 1240s, as a result of the subordination of a number of Lithuanian and Russian lands by Prince Mindovg, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania arose. His education took place in difficult military and political conditions: from the east and south there was a threat from the Mongols, from the west - the crusaders. In 1251, Mindovg was baptized, and two years later the royal crown. After the crusaders were defeated at the Battle of Durba in 1260, Mindovg broke with the Christian faith, returning to paganism, and resumed the struggle with the Teutonic and Livonian orders.

At the beginning of the XIV century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a multi-ethnic multi-confessional state with its capital in Vilnius (now Vilnius), including Lithuania, part of Russia and Zemaitija. The Grand Dukes of Lithuania waged frequent wars with the Crusaders and Tatars. The most successful of the princes were Gediminus, Olgerd and Vitovt, significantly expanding the territory of the state due to conquests and diplomacy. The domestic policy of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania was based on the principles of "the right of antiquity."

In 1385, the Union of Krev was concluded, according to which the Grand Duke of Lithuania Jagiello also became the king of Poland, pledging to baptize the remaining pagan Lithuanian lands. Unable to maintain power in Lithuania, Jagiello ceded it to his cousin Vitovt, during whose almost forty-year rule the Grand Duchy of Lithuania reached its highest power.

In 1529, the Statute of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was published - a set of laws containing the legal basis of the state. In 1566 and 1588, the Statute was revised.

In the Commonwealth
In 1569, during the Livonian War, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was forced to conclude the Union of Lublin with the Polish Kingdom. As a result of the union, a federal state, known as the Commonwealth, was created. At the same time, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was not liquidated and retained a certain independence. The processes of polonization of the local elite intensified, gradually adopting the Polish language and culture. In 1697, the language of office work finally became Polish, which replaced the officially used West Russian language, referred to in Belarusian historiography as Old Belorussian.

Catholicism was the state religion of the Commonwealth, while the majority of the population of modern Belarusian territories remained Orthodox. In 1596 the Union of Brest was concluded, as a result of which the majority of Orthodox hierarchs of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania recognized the authority of the pope and Catholic dogmas with the condition that the Orthodox ritual was preserved. Although the union provoked active resistance of many Orthodox, by the end of the 18th century the majority of the inhabitants of the modern territory of Belarus were Uniates, while the representatives of the upper class were mostly Catholics.

In the second half of the XVII-XVIII centuries, the Commonwealth gradually weakened and became politically dependent on the Russian Empire, which ultimately led to the division of the state between Russia, Prussia and Austria. The territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania became part of the Russian Empire.

In the Russian Empire

The lands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania entered the Russian Empire as several provinces, which were collectively called the North-Western Territory. When comparing the results of two revisions - pre-war 1811 and post-war 1815 - a decrease in the population on Belarusian lands by 6% was noted.

In the early 1820s, there were often severe crop failures in the North-Western Territory that led to mass starvation. To a large extent, potatoes saved the peasants from the mass death, which became one of the main field crops.

After the Polish uprising of 1830, including the western part of the Northwest Territory, the Russian authorities began to pursue a policy of Russification of the region in order to abolish Polish influence. In 1839, the Uniate Church in the Russian Empire was liquidated. In 1840, the Statute of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was canceled. After the uprising of 1863, the policy of Russification in the region was significantly strengthened.

In the middle of the XIX century, the Belarusian national movement began to take shape, Belarusian literature was emerging. In the same period, the scientific study of the region, organized by the Russian authorities, begins. As a result of socio-economic modernization, industry began to develop, and demographic growth was observed.

In World War I began in 1914, the Russian Empire entered the war on the side of the Entente. In August - September 1915, Germany occupied the western part of the Northwest Territory, and the front stabilized in this section. In 1917, as a result of the February Revolution, the Russian Empire ceased to exist, power in Petrograd passed to the Provisional Government.

October Revolution and Soviet-Polish War
In October - November 1917, as a result of the October Revolution, power in the unoccupied territories passed into the hands of the Soviets, in November congresses of Soviets were held in Minsk, Soviet executive bodies of the Western Region (Oblispolkomzap and SNK) were created. On December 7 (20), 1917, the First All-Belarusian Congress began, which, not recognizing the legitimacy of the created bodies, declared the transfer of power to the Executive Committee, after which the Bolsheviks refused to participate, and the congress dispersed them.

On March 3, 1918, a peace treaty was signed in Brest-Litovsk (now Brest), according to which, in addition to the already occupied territory of western Belarus, most of the rest of the Belarusian ethnic territory was transferred under German control. Under these conditions, the leaders of the Belarusian national movement on March 25, 1918 declared independence of the Belarusian People’s Republic, but it did not receive diplomatic recognition.

After the departure of German troops, the Red Army occupied most of the territory of Belarus. The newly formed Poland also claimed these territories, which led in the spring - summer of 1919 to the formation of the Soviet-Polish front.

There was no consensus among the Communists about the advisability of creating a separate Belarusian Soviet republic. Representatives of the Oblast Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars of the Western Region opposed its creation. Their views were formed under the influence of the ideas of the world socialist revolution, and in the self-determination of peoples and the formation of national states, they saw an obstacle to it. They argued that Belarusians are not an independent nation, and therefore the principle of self-determination does not suit them. The Belarusian communist organizations (Belnatsky and the Belarusian sections under the RCP (b)) advocated later supported by the leadership of the RSDLP (b). In Smolensk, on the night of January 1 to 2, 1919, the Manifesto on the Formation of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Belarus as part of the RSFSR was published. On January 8, the capital of the SSRB was moved to Minsk (occupied without a fight by the Red Army on December 10, 1918). On January 31, 1919, the republic left the RSFSR; in Minsk on February 2 and 3, 1919, the First All-Belarusian Congress of Soviets was held, where the constitution was adopted.

On February 27, 1919, the SSRB was disbanded: the Smolensk, Vitebsk and Mogilev provinces were included in the RSFSR, and the remaining territories of the Soviet Byelorussia merged with the Lithuanian Soviet Republic into the Lithuanian-Belarusian SSR (Litbel). In March 1919, the troops of the Lithuanian Tariba, supported by the German occupation garrisons, began military operations in Lithuania. As a result of the Polish offensive in the spring and summer of 1919, Litbel was occupied by Polish troops and virtually ceased to exist on July 19, 1919.

 

After the Red Army occupied a significant part of the territory of Belarus on July 31, 1920, the Belarusian Socialist Soviet Republic was again proclaimed in Minsk. Under the terms of the Riga Treaty, which was concluded without the participation of the BSSR, Western Belarus withdrew to the Polish Republic. An attempt to form Belarusian non-Soviet military units (Slutsk Uprising), which took place under the slogans of the restoration of the BNR, ended in failure.

1920-1930s
In 1922, the BSSR became part of the Soviet Union. In March 1924, the CEC of the USSR decided to transfer the BSSR to 15 counties and individual volosts of the Vitebsk, Gomel and Smolensk provinces. The territory of the BSSR increased to 110 584 km², the population - up to 4.2 million people. 70.4% of the population were Belarusians.

In 1926, in Moscow, it was decided to transfer the Gomel and Rechitsa counties to the BSSR. The territory of the BSSR increased by 15 727 km², and the population - by 649 thousand people.

In the 1920s and 1930s, industrialization processes were actively going on in Soviet Belarus. By the beginning of industrialization, 3.4% of the population lived in the BSSR and only 1.6% of the industrial output of the USSR was produced. Mainly developed light, food, woodworking and chemical industries, and starting from the second five-year plan - mechanical engineering and the production of building materials. For three five-year periods, industrial production in the BSSR has grown 23 times.

In the mid-1920s, Belarusianization was actively carried out in the BSSR - a set of measures to expand the scope of the Belarusian language and the development of Belarusian culture. Until 1936, the official languages ​​of the BSSR, along with Belarusian and Russian, were Polish and Yiddish. In the BSSR in 1932-1938 there was a Polish national autonomy Dzerzhinsky Polish national region.

In the 1930s, the policy of Belarusization was curtailed. In 1933, with the aim of bringing the Belarusian language closer to Russian, a language reform was carried out. The development policy of farms of the 1920s gave way to the active collectivization of the 1930s.

During the Stalinist repressions, many members of the intelligentsia and wealthy peasants were executed, exiled to Siberia and Central Asia. Of the 540-570 writers published in Belarus in the 1920-1930s, at least 440-460 (80%) were repressed. The number of people passing through the camps is estimated at about 600-700 thousand people, and those shot at least 300 thousand people. A certain part of the repressed was made up of Poles from the Polish National Region liquidated in 1938, deported to Kazakhstan and Siberia.

The territory of Western Belarus and the adjacent Ukrainian, Lithuanian and Polish territories became part of the four voivodships of Poland. After the 1922 elections, 11 deputies and 3 senators from the West Belarusian lands formed the “Belarusian Deputy Club”, the purpose of which was to protect the interests of the Belarusian population of Poland. In October 1923, the Communist Party of Western Belarus (KPZB) was organized as an autonomous organization within the Polish Communist Party (CP). In 1925, the Belarusian peasant-working community was formed and soon became widespread. In 1926, an authoritarian reorganization regime was established in Poland, after which the BKRG leaders who were members of the Polish Sejm were arrested, and in March the BKRG was banned. In 1928, 10 Belarusian deputies and 2 senators were elected to the Sejm from Belarusian lands, in 1930 - only one Belarusian deputy, and in 1935 and 1938 - not a single one. In 1934, a Polish concentration camp operated in the town of Beryoza-Kartuzskaya as a place for extrajudicial internment for up to 3 months against opponents of the ruling regime. In 1928, at the decision of the Comintern, the checkpoints and the KPZB were dissolved, later many of the former leaders of the KPZB were repressed by the Soviet government.

The Polish government did not comply with the provisions of the Riga Treaty on the equal rights of all ethnic groups. By March 1923, out of 400 existing Belarusian schools, 37 remained, while the number of Polish schools grew. In 1938-1939 there were only 5 general Belarusian schools left. 1300 Orthodox churches were converted to Catholic, often with violence. In the mid-1930s, 43% of Western Belarusians were still illiterate, and there were not two hundred Belarusian students in all of Poland.

The world economic crisis of 1929-1939 had a severe impact on Western Belarus: many tens of thousands of inhabitants of Western Belarus emigrated to Western Europe and America.

 

On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany attacked Poland. On September 17, 1939, the USSR carried out a campaign of the Red Army on the territory of Poland, as a result of which, in particular, Western Belarus (with the Bialystok region) was included in the BSSR. After the annexation of Western Belarus, 130 thousand inhabitants were repressed on its territory, of which about 30 thousand were executed.

The Great Patriotic War
On June 22, 1941, Germany attacked the Soviet Union and already in the first months of the war the territory of the BSSR fell under German occupation, as a result of which 2.5-3 million inhabitants died. During the occupation, the largest partisan movement in Europe unfolded on Belarusian territory. In June - August 1944, as a result of Operation Bagration, the territory of the BSSR was liberated by the Red Army.

Post-war Belarus
In 1945, the BSSR became one of the founding countries of the United Nations, with the Belarusian delegation coordinating decisions on all issues with all-Union representatives.

In 1945, the Białystok region was returned to Poland.

After the war ended, anti-Soviet partisan groups both Polish (Craiov’s Army) and a few Belarusian groups operated in Belarus for several more years, and Western intelligence agencies tried to establish contact with some of them. The NKVD detachments organized punitive operations against the anti-Soviet underground.

The post-war years were marked by a rapid economic recovery. Population was growing rapidly, especially urban.

In 1986, the Chernobyl disaster occurred on the border of the Belarusian and Ukrainian SSRs, a significant part of the territory of the BSSR was exposed to radiation pollution.

On July 27, 1990, the Declaration on State Sovereignty of the Byelorussian SSR was adopted, on August 25, 1991 it was given the status of a constitutional law, and on September 19 it gained its current name. In December, the USSR finally ceased to exist.

Republic of Belarus
After the collapse of the USSR and independence, Belarus became a parliamentary republic. Legislative power was vested in the Supreme Council, the first chairman of which was the Social Democrat Stanislav Shushkevich. Executive power, including control over law enforcement agencies, was in the hands of the Council of Ministers, which was headed by Vyacheslav Kebich, who retained his post since 1990. In 1992, the Belarusian ruble was introduced, the formation of its own armed forces began. In 1993, Belarus ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

In 1994, the Constitution was adopted and the first presidential election took place. Alexander Lukashenko was elected President, and Belarus was transformed from parliamentary to parliamentary-presidential. In 1995, he initiated a referendum, as a result of which the Russian language received the status of the state on a par with the Belarusian language, the coat of arms and flag were changed, the president received the right to dissolve the parliament in the event of a systematic or gross violation of the constitution. The president conducted a course aimed at economic integration with Russia.

By 1996, contradictions between the president and parliament escalated in Belarus, and the country entered a period of political crisis. At the initiative of the president, a second referendum was held, as a result of which amendments were made to the constitution that significantly expanded the president’s rights and transformed the republic from a parliamentary-presidential to a presidential one. The President got the opportunity to issue decrees having the force of law, the right to early dissolution of parliament, the ability to form the main composition of the Constitutional Court and other powers. The Supreme Council was dissolved, and a bicameral National Assembly was formed from loyal and neutral deputies to the president. Some states and international bodies, such as the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the European Union, have not officially recognized the results of the referendum, arguing that the referendum was held with serious procedural violations.

In 1997, Belarus completed the export of 72 SS-25 intercontinental missiles with nuclear warheads from its territory. Belarus received the status of a nuclear-free state.

 

 

 

 

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