Belarusians (Belarusian: беларусы, translit. biełarusy); also Byelorussians (from the Byelorussian SSR), are an East Slavic ethnic group who are native to modern-day Belarus and the immediate region. There are over 9.5 million people who proclaim Belarusian ethnicity worldwide, with the majority residing either in Belarus or the adjacent countries where they are an autochthonous minority.

Total population
c. 9.5–10 million
Regions with significant populations
 Belarus  7.95 million[1][2]
 United States
(Belarusian ancestry)
 Russia521,443 (2010)[6]
 Ukraine275,763 (2001)[7]
 Latvia68,174 (2011)[8]
 Kazakhstan66,476 (2010)[9]
 Poland47,000 (2011)[10]
 Estonia11,828 (2017)[14]
 United Kingdom7,000[12]
 Czech Republic5,054[15]
 Australia1,560 (2006)[17]
 Portugal1,002 (2009)[19]
Netherlands973 (2016)[20]
Christianity: Orthodox Christianity (majority), Roman Catholicism or Belarusian Greek Catholicism (minority)
Related ethnic groups
Other East Slavs
(Ukrainians, Rusyns, and Russians)


Historical borders of Belarusians
Ethnic territory of Belarusians
  According to Y. Karskiy (1903)
  According to M. Dovnar-Zapol'skiy (1919)
  Modern state boundaries

Belarusians are an East Slavic ethnic group who populate the majority of the Belarus. Belarusian minority populations live in countries neighboring Belarus: in Ukraine, in Poland (especially in the Podlaskie Voivodeship), in the Russian Federation and in Lithuania. At the beginning of the 20th century Belarusians constituted a minority in the regions around the city of Smolensk in Russia.

Significant numbers of Belarusians emigrated to the United States, Brazil and Canada in the early 20th century. During Soviet times (1917–1991), many Belarusians were deported or migrated to various regions of the USSR, including Siberia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

Since the breakup of the USSR in 1991 several hundred thousand have emigrated to the Baltic states, the United States, Canada, Russia, and EU countries.


The two official languages in Belarus are Belarusian and Russian. Russian is the most spoken language, principally by 72% of the population, while Belarusian is only used by 11.9%[21] in everyday life. According to a study, in varying degrees, the vast majority of residents speak the Belarusian language: 29.4% are fluent, being able read and write it, 52.5% can speak and read the language, 8.3% can understand it but can't speak or read it, while a further 7% are able to understand the parts of Belarusian language that are similar to Russian.[21] Belarusian is a language of the East Slavic group.

The name Belarus can be literally translated as White Ruthenia that is a historical region in the east of modern Republic of Belarus, known in Latin as Ruthenia Alba (English: White Rus). This name was in use in the West for some time in history, together with White Ruthenes, White Russians (though not to be confused with the political group of White Russians that opposed the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War) and similar forms. Belarusians trace their name back to the people of Rus'.

The term Belarusians was promoted mostly during the 19th century by the Russian Empire. For instance, this can be traced by editions of folklorist researches by Ivan Sakharov, where in the edition of 1836 Belarusian customs are described as Litvin, while in the edition of 1886 the words Литва (Lithuania) and Литовцо-руссы (Lithuanian-Russians/Ruthenians) are replaced by respectively Белоруссия (Byelorussia) and белоруссы (Byelorussians).[22][23][24]

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1619) compared with today's borders (ENG)
Commonwealth of Polish Kingdom and Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 17th century
  The Crown (Kingdom of Poland)
  Duchy of Prussia - Polish fief
  Grand Duchy of Lithuania
  Duchy of Courland, a joint fief


Baltic Tribes c 1200
Baltic population in the 12th century

The Belarusian people trace their distinct culture to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, earlier Kievan Rus and the Principality of Polatsk. Most Belarusians are descendants of the East Slav tribes Dregovichs, Krivichs and Radimichs, as well as of a Baltic tribe of Yotvingians who lived in the west and north-west of today's Belarus.[25]

Belarusians began to emerge as a people during the thirteenth through fourteenth centuries in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Mostly on the lands of the upper basins of Neman River, Dnieper River and the Western Dvina River.[26]

In 13th–18th centuries Belarusians were known as Ruthenians and spoke Ruthenian language, while being part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which conquered the lands of White Ruthenia, Black Ruthenia and Polesia. Casimir's Code of 1468 and all three editions of Statutes of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (1529, 1566, and 1588) were written in the Ruthenian language. From the 1630s it was replaced by Polish, as a result of Polish high culture acquiring increasing prestige in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Between 1791 and 1917 much of Belarus, with its Christian and Jewish populations, was acquired by the Russian Empire in a series of military conquests and diplomatic maneuvers, and was made part of a region known as the Pale of Settlement.

After World War I Belarusians created their own national state, with varying degrees of independence – first as the short-lived Belarusian National Republic under German occupation, then as the Byelorussian SSR from 1919 until 1991, which merged with other republics to become a constituent member of the Soviet Union in 1922. Belarus gained full independence with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.


Belarusian cuisine shares the same roots with cuisines of other Eastern and Northern European countries, basing predominantly on meat and various vegetables typical for the region.

See also


  1. ^ "Changes in the populations of the majority ethnic groups". Archived from the original on 28 July 2016. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  2. ^ "Demographic situation in 2015". Belarus Statistical Office. 27 January 2016. Archived from the original on 3 February 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  3. ^ Garnett, Sherman W. (1999). Belarus at the Crossroads. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. ISBN 978-0-87-003172-4.
  4. ^ Kipel, Vituat. "Belarusan americans". World Culture Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  5. ^ "Country: United States: Belarusians". Joshua Project. 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  6. ^ "All-Russian population census 2010 population by nationality, sex and subjects of the Russian Federation". Demoscope Weekly (in Russian). Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  7. ^ "Всеукраїнський перепис населення 2001 - Результати - Основні підсумки - Національний склад населення:". Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  8. ^ "On key provisional results of Population and Housing Census 2011". Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Перепись населения Республики Казахстан 2009 года. Краткие итоги. (Census for the Republic of Kazakhstan 2009. Short Summary)" (PDF) (in Russian). Republic of Kazakhstan Statistical Agency. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 December 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  10. ^ Przynależność narodowo-etniczna ludności – wyniki spisu ludności i mieszkań 2011. GUS. Materiał na konferencję prasową w dniu 29. 01. 2013. p. 3. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-06. Retrieved 2011-12-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Как живешь, белорусская диаспора?". Belarus Time (in Belarusian). March 13, 2012. Archived from the original on March 13, 2012.
  13. ^ "Ethnic Origin (264), Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin Responses (3), Generation Status (4), Age Groups (10) and Sex (3) for the Population in Private Households of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2011 National Household Survey". Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  14. ^ "Rahvaarv rahvuse järgi, 1. jaanuar, aasta - Eesti Statistika". Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  15. ^ "Foreigners by category of residence, sex, and citizenship as at 31 December 2016" (PDF). Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Utrikes födda efter födelseland och invandringsår" [Foreign-born by country of birth and year of immigration] (XLS). Statistics Sweden (in Swedish). 31 December 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  17. ^ "20680-Ancestry (full classification list) by Sex - Australia". 2006 Census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original (Microsoft Excel download) on March 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
  18. ^ "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 5 June 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 June 2011.
  19. ^ "POPULAÇÃO ESTRANGEIRA RESIDENTE EM TERRITÓRIO NACIONAL - 2009" (PDF). Statistics Portugal (in Portuguese). January 1, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  20. ^ "CBS StatLine - Population; sex, age and nationality, 1 January". Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Общество". Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  22. ^ Сказанія русскаго народа, собранныя Иваномъ Петровичемъ Сахаровымъ, 1836, 1886
  23. ^ Бандарчык В. К. Фарміраванне і развіццё беларускай нацыі / В. К. Бандарчык, П. У Церашковіч // Этнаграфія беларусаў.— Мінск : Навука і тэхніка, 1985.— С. 158.
  24. ^ Беларусы : у 10 т. / Рэдкал.: В. К. Бандарчык [і інш.]. — Мінск : Беларус. навука, 1994–2007. — Т. 4 : Вытокі і этнічнае развіццё... С. 62—63, 88.
  25. ^ "БЕЛОРУСЫ - Энциклопедия Кругосвет". Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  26. ^ Беларусы : у 10 т. / Рэдкал.: В. К. Бандарчык [і інш.]. — Мінск : Беларус. навука, 1994–2007. — Т. 4 : Вытокі і этнічнае развіццё... С. 36, 49.


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External links


Belarusian may refer to:

Something of, or related to Belarus

Belarusians, people from Belarus, or of Belarusian descent

A citizen of Belarus, see Demographics of Belarus

Belarusian language

Belarusian culture

Belarusian cuisine

Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic

Belarusian Americans

Belarusian Americans (Belarusian: Беларускія амэрыканцы, Biełaruskija amerykancy; Russian: Белорусские американцы, Byelorusskiye amerikantsy), also known by the somewhat dated terms Byelorussian Americans, Whiteruthenian Americans and White-Russian Americans, are Americans who are of total or partial Belarusian ancestry.

Belarusian Argentines

Belarusian Argentines (Belarusian: Беларусы ў Аргенціне, Russian: Белорусы в Аргентине, Spanish: Bielorrusos en Argentina) — a part of the Belarusian diaspora that consists of the Belarusians who emigrated to Argentina and their descendants. The community was formed in the 20th century, now it accounts for 7,000 people and about 50,000 descendants. The largest Belarusian community in Latin America is in Argentina.

Belarusian Australians

Belarusian Australians refers to Australians of full or partial Belarusian national background or descent, or Belarusian citizens living in Australia.

Belarusian Canadians

Belarusian Canadians are Canadian citizens of Belarusian descent or Belarusian-born people residing in Canada. According to the 2011 Census there were 15,565 Canadians who claimed Belarusian ancestry.

Belarusian cuisine

Belarusian cuisine shares many similarities with cuisines of other Eastern, Central

and Northeastern European countries, basing predominantly based on meat and various vegetables typical for the region.

Belarusian diaspora

Belarusian diaspora refers to emigrants from the territory of Belarus as well for people of Belarusian descent.

According to different researches, there are between 2.5 and 3.5 millions of people of Belarusian descent living outside the territory of the Republic of Belarus. This number includes descendants of economic emigrants from Belarus of late 19th century and early 20th century, of emigrants of times of the Second World War and emigrants of the wave that started in the 1990s. Another group of Belarusian diaspora are people who migrated within the USSR before 1991 and who after its dissolution became inhabitants of other post-Soviet countries. A separate group usually associated with the Belarusian diaspora are ethnic minorities in the borderlands of Belarus with Poland, Lithuania and Russia.

A separate group of emigrants from Belarus were Belarusian Jews who have established significant communities in the United States and Israel. The historic name for Belarusian Jews were Litvaks, a corrupted term of Litvin or "Lithuanian" in Belarusian.

There is a tendency to a decline in the number of people identifying themselves as Belarusians according to official censuses.

The biggest and best organized Belarusian diasporas live across Russia, Ukraine, Poland, the USA, Canada, the UK, the Baltic states (i.e., Estonia and Latvia), Central Asia (primarily the Soviet-era Farming settlement program in Kazakhstan) and the TransCaucasus nations (i.e., Armenia and Georgia).

There are small Belarusian communities in Scandinavia, Germany, Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal and Ireland as a result of European Union and Council of Europe contract labor agreements to recruit Belarusian and Ukrainian workers in the late 2000s.

The World Association of Belarusians based in Minsk is the international organization uniting people of Belarusian descent from around the world. The government of the short-lived Belarusian Democratic Republic is in exile since 1919 and acts as a consolidating centre for many politically active Belarusians abroad, especially in North America and Western Europe (i.e., Canada, United Kingdom, Belgium).

Belarusian language

Belarusian (; беларуская мова biełaruskaja mova [bʲelaˈruskaja ˈmova]) is an official language of Belarus, along with Russian, and is also spoken in Russia (where it is known as "Western Russian"), Poland and Ukraine.

Before Belarus gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the language was only known in English as Byelorussian or Belorussian, transliterating the Russian name, белорусский язык Belorusskiy yazyk, or alternatively as White Ruthenian () or White Russian. Following independence, it has acquired the additional name Belarusian.Belarusian is one of the East Slavic languages and shares many grammatical and lexical features with other members of the group. To some extent, Russian, Rusyn, Ukrainian, and Belarusian are mutually intelligible. Its predecessor stage is known as Ruthenian (14th to 17th centuries), in turn descended from Old East Slavic (10th to 13th centuries).

In the first Belarus Census of 1999, the Belarusian language was declared as a "language spoken at home" by about 3,686,000 Belarusian citizens (36.7% of the population). About 6,984,000 (85.6%) of Belarusians declared it their "mother tongue". Other sources, such as Ethnologue, put the figure at approximately 2.5 million active speakers.According to a study done by the Belarusian government in 2009, 72% of Belarusians speak Russian at home, while Belarusian is actively used by only 11.9% of Belarusians. Approximately 29.4% of Belarusians can write, speak, and read Belarusian, while 52.5% can only read and speak it.

In the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger, the Belarusian language is stated to be vulnerable.

Belarusian minority in Poland

The Belarusian minority in Poland is composed of 47,000 people according to the Polish census of 2011. This number decreased in the last decades from over 300,000 due to an active process of assimilation. Most of them live in the Podlaskie Voivodeship.

A small but unconfirmed Belarusian population remains in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in western Poland. They may be assimilated into the Polish population, but Belarusian culture has not firmly disappeared in the whole of Poland since World War II.

Belarusians in Lithuania

The Belarusian minority in Lithuania (Belarusian: беларусы, biełarusy, Russian: белорусы, byelorusy, Lithuanian: baltarusiai or gudai) numbered 36,200 persons at the 2011 census, and at 1.2% of the total population of Lithuania, being the third most populous national minority. The Belarusian national minority in Lithuania has deep historical, cultural and political relations. Many famous Belarusians lived and created in Lithuania, mostly its capital Vilnius; it was in Vilnius that the first standardized Belarusian language grammar was printed in.

According to the 2011 census, only 18.4% of Belarusians speak Belarusian as their mother tongue, while Russian is native for 56.3%, Polish - 9.3%, Lithuanian - 5.2% of Belarusians.

The most widespread religion among Belarusians are Roman Catholicism (49.6%) and Orthodox (32.3%).

Francysk Skaryna gymnasium is the only Belarusian school in Vilnius. One Catholic church in Vilnius (St. Bartholomew’s Church) provides religious services in Belarusian.

Belarusians in Russia

Belarusians are a major ethnic group in Russia. In the census of 2002, 807,970 Russian citizens confirmed their Belarusian ethnicity. Major Belarusian groups live in the regions of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Karelia. Most Belarusians in Russia are migrants from modern Belarus or their descendants, while a minor part of Belarusians in Russia are indigenous.

Belarusians in Ukraine

Belarusians in Ukraine is the second biggest minority after Russians. Unlike many other ethnic groups, Belarusians do not have any particular concentration in the country, but spread out more-less evenly across all regions.

Belarusians in the United Kingdom

The Belarusian diaspora in the United Kingdom (Belarusian: Беларусы ў Вялікабрытаніі) is composed of Belarusian migrants and British-born people of Belarusian background or descent in the United Kingdom. The 2001 UK Census recorded 1,154 Belarus-born people living in the UK, while one historian estimates that 5,000 Belarusians live in the UK. Nowadays, organised community life exists only in London.

Byelorussian collaboration with Nazi Germany

During World War II, some Belarusians collaborated with the invading Axis powers. Until the beginning of Operation Barbarossa in 1941, the territory of Belarus was under control of the Soviet Union, as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. However, memories of the Soviet repressions in Belarus and collectivization, as well as of the polonization and discrimination of Belarusians in the Second Polish Republic were still fresh, and many people in Belarus wanted an independent Belarus. Many Belarusians chose to cooperate with the invaders in order to achieve that goal, assuming that Nazi Germany might allow them to have their own independent state after the war ended.

The Belarusian organizations never received any administrative control over the territory of Belarus, the real power was in the hands of the German civil and military administrations. The collaborationist Belarusian Central Rada, presenting itself as a Belarusian governmental body, was formed in Minsk few months before Belarus was taken over by the Soviet Army.

Before the war, a Belarusian National Socialist Party was formed by a small group of Belarusian nationalists in Poland-controlled West Belarus in 1933. The group was far less influential than other Belarusian political parties in interwar Poland, such as the Belarusian Peasants' and Workers' Union and the Belarusian Christian Democracy. BNSP was banned by the Polish authorities in 1937. Its leaders left for Berlin and became one of the first advisers to the Germans at the onset of Operation Barbarossa.

Football in Belarus

In Belarus, a country that gained independence in 1991, football is the most popular sport, closely followed by ice hockey. The national association takes part in all competitions organized by FIFA and UEFA at senior and youth level, as well as in women’s football. Dinamo Minsk were once one of the powerhouses in the top flight of Soviet Union football, sometimes playing in European club competitions. A number of Belarusians, such as Sergei Aleinikov, Sergei Borovsky, Sergei Gotsmanov, Ihar Hurynovich, Georgi Kondratiev, Aleksandr Prokopenko, Andrei Zygmantovich and Eduard Malofeyev (as both player and manager), represented the Soviet Union. Today, the star of Belarusian football is Alexander Hleb, who currently plays for BATE Borisov.

List of Belarus Davis Cup team representatives

This is a list of tennis players who have represented the Belarus Davis Cup team in an official Davis Cup match. Belarus have taken part in the competition since 1994. Previously, Belarusians were members of the Soviet Union Davis Cup team.

Slobozia District

Slobozia District (Raionul Slobozia) is a district of Transnistria. It is the southernmost district of Transnistria, located mostly south of Tiraspol. Its seat is the city of Slobozia, located at 46°44′N 29°42′E, on the river Dniester. The district contains 4 cities/towns and 12 communes (a total of 24 localities, including small villages/hamlets):

In addition, the breakaway authorities control the commune of Chiţcani of Căuşeni District, on the western bank of the river Dniester.

According to the 2004 Census in Transnistria, the population of the district plus that of Chiţcani is 95,742. The ethnic composition is : 39,722 (41.5%) Moldovans, 20,772 (21.7%) Ukrainians, 25,436 (26.5%) Russians, 512 (0.5%) Gagauzians, 7,323 (%) Bulgarians, 35 (%) Jews, 475 (0.4%) Belarusians, 496 (0.5%) Germans, and 971 (%) others and non-declared. The population of Chiţcani is of 9,266 inhabitants.The city of Slobozia has a population of 16,062, including 7,315 Moldovans, 6,507 Russians, 1,696 Ukrainians, 97 Gagauzians, 94 Bulgarians, 3 Jews, 61 Belarusians, 72 Germans, and 217 others and non-declared.

Ukrainian Census (2001)

The first Ukrainian census was carried out by State Statistics Committee of Ukraine on 5 December 2001, twelve years after the last Soviet Union census in 1989 and was so far the only census held in independent Ukraine. The total population recorded was 48,457,100 persons, of which the urban population was 32,574,500 (67.2%), rural: 15,882,600 (32.8%), male: 22,441,400 (46.3%), female: 26,015,700 (53.7%). The total permanent population recorded was 48,241,000 persons.

Vilnius District Municipality

Vilnius District Municipality (Lithuanian: Vilniaus rajono savivaldybė) is one of 60 municipalities in Lithuania. It surrounds the capital city of Vilnius on 3 sides, while the rest borders the Trakai District Municipality.

At the 2011 Census, Poles amounted to 52.07% out of 95,348 inhabitants. 32.47% were Lithuanians, 8.01% Russians, 4.17% Belarusians, 0.65% Ukrainians and 0.11% Jews.

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