30 June 2017
Kupallie (Midsummer) is an ancient pagan festival which marks the summer solstice – the longest day and shortest night. This holiday is one of the four most important in the pagan calendar.
When the Slavs were converted to Christianity, the Church designated the day as the feast of John the Baptist in order to destroy the holiday’s pagan roots. However, nearly 1,000 years of...
16 February 2017
When travelling to Hrodna at the end of January, a group of tourists ended up saving a unique historical museum: the Yanush Parulis Museum in Hrodna was only able to survive financially thanks to local activism and a media campaign.
Whereas neighbouring Poland announces a 9.5 per cent budget increase on culture, Belarus is failing to implement its only state-funded project for national...
01 February 2017
On 20 January, the Belarusian jury and TV audiences selected the band Navi to represent Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest. For the first time in the history of Eurovision, Belarus's performance will be in the Belarusian language.
This is just one of many small steps that Belarus has recently taken to promote tolerance and respect for the Belarusian language. Following the...
15 September 2016
Speaking at a meeting of the Consultative Council for Belarusians Living Abroad on 5 September in Minsk, Belarus's foreign minister Vladimir Makei sought support from the Belarusian diaspora in preserving the country's “independence, sovereignty and statehood”.
This is a recent and noteworthy trend. Earlier, the government's interaction with Belarusians living...
26 July 2016
During her speech on 12 June 2016 in New York, Belarusian Nobel laureate in literature Sviatlana Alexievich criticised Poles for actively murdering Jews during World War II.
The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately reacted with a protest note demanding explanation and an apology from Alexievich. Sviatlana Alexievich had to elaborate on her position in an interview with a...
22 July 2016
Louis Mayer, one of the founders of the Hollywood studio Metro-Golden-Mayer and the ‘inventor’ of the Oscar award was born in Minsk.
Isaac Asimov, Marc Chagall and Leon Bakst were born and grew up in Belarus. Fifteen Nobel Prize laureates, Jacques Cousteau and and many other notable personalities have Belarusian ancestry.
At the same time, the Guggenheim museum lists...
31 March 2015
On 25 February the local government of the Belarusian town of Kruhlaje announced that its residents will have an obligatory unpaid day of work. The authorities still are trying to collect money for the annual Dažynki festival, since the financing from the state budget was cut back in 2014.
In 1990s the authorities decided to turn a folk harvesting holiday into a magnificent festival, to...
25 November 2014
Belarus ranks 53rd out of 142 countries in prosperity, ahead of Russia and EU member states Greece and Romania. The rankings stem from the Legatum Institute, a private think tank based in London. According to the ranking Belarus scores highest in social capital and lowest in governance.
It is striking for any post-communist state to perform well on measures of prosperity and social...
- 24 February 2014
06 February 2014
On 31 January the director of the National Book Chamber of Belarus claimed that the Belarusian publishers printed eight times more books in Russian than in Belarusian in 2013. This data illustrates well the position that Russian culture occupies in Belarus.
The Russian language dominates the cultural and media space. Belarusians prefer to surf Russian websites like...
08 February 2013
If you ask a Belarusian about the most important national feature of Belarus, he will most probably mention tolerance.
This opinion seems to be deeply rooted in mass consciousness. Lukashenka's regime often uses it in ideological discourse to prove that Belarusians have been peaceful throughout their history and cannot stir up any conflicts, internal or external.
26 December 2012
The Belarusian authorities trade the national identity of Belarusians in exchange for economic subsidies from Russia.
Constitutional guarantees of equal rights of the two official languages actually do not work. The majority of Belarusians react indifferently to that fact, as they do in most situations. But the civil society resists russification and tries to prove that Belarusian...