Hrodna Region: the Land of Catholics and Smugglers

Belarus Digest starts a series of articles devoted to Belarusian regions. Most often only Minsk ends up in the focus of Western media. But around 80 percent of Belarusians live outside of Minsk. Each region has its own political, economic and cultural peculiarities. The series begins with  Hrodna region and will also cover Brest, Vitsebsk, Homel and Mahiliou regions. 

Hrodna region due to its specific culture and history, has always been the object of thorough attention of the authorities. It has the largest share of catholics in Belarus and was a part of Polish Republic until 1939, while eastern regions of Belarus entered the USSR already in 1922. The region showed strongest support of the nationalist candidate Zianon Pa┼║niak in 1994 presidential elections, arguable the only relatively honest presidential elections in Belarus.