In the mid-1990s, the language question was one of the most contested in Belarusian politics. Lukashenka skillfully positioned himself as the protector of the Russian language in Belarus, which helped him get political and economic support from Moscow.

However, today the issue is no longer controversial. Education and schooling in the Belarusian language are marginalized, and Belarusian is almost never used in official communication. Although the majority of people consider Belarusian their native language, the language is spoken primarily in rural areas and by the intelligentsia.