Minsk

Minsk (Belarusian: Мінск, pronounced [mʲinsk]; Russian: Минск) is the capital and largest city of Belarus, situated on the Svislač and the Nyamiha Rivers. As the national capital, Minsk has a special administrative status in Belarus and is the administrative centre of Minsk Region (voblasć) and Minsk District (rajon). The population in January 2018 was 1,982,444,[1] (not including suburbs) making Minsk the 11th most populous city in Europe. Minsk is the administrative capital of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and seat of its Executive Secretary.

The earliest historical references to Minsk date to the 11th century (1067), when it was noted as a provincial city within the Principality of Polotsk.[5] The settlement developed on the rivers. In 1242, Minsk became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It received town privileges in 1499.[6]

From 1569, it was a capital of the Minsk Voivodeship, in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was part of a region annexed by the Russian Empire in 1793, as a consequence of the Second Partition of Poland. From 1919 to 1991, after the Russian Revolution, Minsk was the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, in the Soviet Union. In June 2019, Minsk will host the 2019 European Games.[7] Tourists who have accreditation cards or tickets to sporting events can visit the country from 10 June till 10 July 2019 without a visa.[8]

Minsk

Мінск  · Менск  · Минск
Clockwise from top left: Minsk City Hall, the Red Church, Railway Station Square, Independence Square, National Opera and Ballet Theatre and the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Clockwise from top left: Minsk City Hall, the Red Church, Railway Station Square, Independence Square, National Opera and Ballet Theatre and the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Flag of Minsk

Flag
Coat of arms of Minsk

Coat of arms
Minsk is located in Belarus
Minsk
Minsk
Location within Belarus
Minsk is located in Europe
Minsk
Minsk
Location within Europe
Coordinates: 53°54′N 27°34′E / 53.900°N 27.567°ECoordinates: 53°54′N 27°34′E / 53.900°N 27.567°E
Country Belarus
Founded1067
Government
 • ChairmanAnatoli Sivak[2]
Area
 • Total409.5 km2 (158.1 sq mi)
Elevation
280.6 m (920.6 ft)
Population
 (2018)
 • Total1,982,444[1] Increase
 • Density4,841/km2 (12,540/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+3 (FET/MSK[3])
Postal Code
220001-220141
Area code(s)+375 17
ISO 3166 codeBY-HM
License plate7
HDI (2017)0.824[4]very high
Websitewww.minsk.gov.by

Etymology and historical names

Belarus-Minsk-Independence Square-2
Independence Square in the centre of Minsk.

The Old East Slavic name of the town was Мѣньскъ (i.e. Měnsk < Early Proto-Slavic or Late Indo-European Mēnĭskŭ), derived from a river name Měn (< Mēnŭ). The direct continuation of this name in Belarusian is Miensk (pronounced [mʲɛnsk]).[9]

The resulting form of the name, Minsk (spelled either Минскъ or Мѣнскъ), was taken over both in Russian (modern spelling: Минск) and Polish (Mińsk), and under the influence especially of Russian it also became official in Belarusian. However, some Belarusian-speakers continue to use Miensk (spelled Менск) as their preferred name for the city.[10]

When Belarus was under Polish rule, the names Mińsk Litewski 'Minsk of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania' and Mińsk Białoruski 'Minsk in Belarus' were used to differentiate this place name from Mińsk Mazowiecki 'Minsk in Masovia'. In modern Polish, Mińsk without an attribute usually refers to the city in Belarus, which is about 50 times bigger than Mińsk Mazowiecki; (cf. Brest-Litovsk and Brześć Kujawski for a similar case).[11]

History

Early history

Царква10
The Saviour Church, built under the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1577, is part of an archaeological preservation in Zaslavl, 23 km (14 mi) northwest of Minsk.

The area of today's Minsk was settled by the Early East Slavs by the 9th century AD. The Svislach River valley was the settlement boundary between two Early East Slav tribes – the Krivichs and Dregovichs. By 980, the area was incorporated into the early medieval Principality of Polotsk, one of the earliest East Slav principalities of Old Rus' state. Minsk was first mentioned in the name form Měneskъ (Мѣнескъ) in the Primary Chronicle for the year 1067 in association with the Battle on the River Nemiga.[12] 1067 is now widely accepted as the founding year of Minsk. City authorities consider the date of 3 March 1067, to be the exact founding date of the city,[13] though the town (by then fortified by wooden walls) had certainly existed for some time by then. The origin of the name is unknown but there are several theories.[14]

In the early 12th century, the Principality of Polotsk disintegrated into smaller fiefs. The Principality of Minsk was established by one of the Polotsk dynasty princes. In 1129, the Principality of Minsk was annexed by Kiev, the dominant principality of Kievan Rus; however in 1146 the Polotsk dynasty regained control of the principality. By 1150, Minsk rivaled Polotsk as the major city in the former Principality of Polotsk. The princes of Minsk and Polotsk were engaged in years of struggle trying to unite all lands previously under the rule of Polotsk.[15]

Late Middle Ages

Belarus-Minsk-Svislach and Traetskaye Suburb-1
Trayetskaye Pradmestsye contains the remains of pre-WWII Minsk on the Svislach bank.

Minsk escaped the Mongol invasion of Rus in 1237–1239. In 1242, Minsk became a part of the expanding Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It joined peacefully and local elites enjoyed high rank in the society of the Grand Duchy. In 1413, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Kingdom of Poland entered into a union. Minsk became the centre of Minsk Voivodship (province). In 1441, the Polish-Lithuanian prince and future king Casimir IV included Minsk in a list of cities enjoying certain privileges, and in 1499, during the reign of his son, Alexander I Jagiellon, Minsk received town privileges under Magdeburg law. In 1569, after the Union of Lublin, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland merged into a single state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth[16]. Afterwards, a Polish community including government clerks, officers and craftsmen settled in Minsk.

By the middle of the 16th century, Minsk was an important economic and cultural centre in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was also an important centre for the Eastern Orthodox Church. Following the Union of Brest, both the Uniate church and the Roman Catholic Church increased in influence.

In 1655, Minsk was conquered by troops of Tsar Alexei of Russia.[17] Russians governed the city until 1660 when it was regained by John II Casimir, King of Poland. By the end of the Polish-Russian War, Minsk had only about 2,000 residents and just 300 houses. The second wave of devastation occurred during the Great Northern War, when Minsk was occupied in 1708 and 1709 by the army of Charles XII of Sweden and then by the army of Peter the Great. The last decades of the Polish rule involved decline or very slow development, since Minsk had become a small provincial town of little economic or military significance.

Russian rule

Belarus-Minsk-Church of Mary Magdalene-2
Russian Orthodox church of St. Mary Magdalene (built in 1847)
K. Marx street photo
A street in central Minsk

Minsk was annexed by Russia in 1793 as a consequence of the Second Partition of Poland.[18][19] In 1796, it became the centre of the Minsk Governorate. All of the initial street names were replaced by Russian names, though the spelling of the city's name remained unchanged. It was briefly occupied by the Grande Armée during French invasion of Russia in 1812.[20]

Throughout the 19th century, the city continued to grow and significantly improve. In the 1830s, major streets and squares of Minsk were cobbled and paved. A first public library was opened in 1836, and a fire brigade was put into operation in 1837. In 1838, the first local newspaper, Minskiye gubernskiye vedomosti (“Minsk province news”) went into circulation. The first theatre was established in 1844. By 1860, Minsk was an important trading city with a population of 27,000. There was a construction boom that led to the building of 2 and 3-story brick and stone houses in Upper Town.[21][22]

Minsk's development was boosted by improvements in transportation. In 1846, the Moscow-Warsaw road was laid through Minsk. In 1871, a railway link between Moscow and Warsaw ran via Minsk, and in 1873, a new railway from Romny in Ukraine to the Baltic Sea port of Libava (Liepāja) was also constructed. Thus Minsk became an important rail junction and a manufacturing hub. A municipal water supply was introduced in 1872, the telephone in 1890, the horse tram in 1892, and the first power generator in 1894. By 1900, Minsk had 58 factories employing 3,000 workers. The city also boasted theatres, cinemas, newspapers, schools and colleges, as well as numerous monasteries, churches, synagogues, and a mosque. According to the 1897 Russian census, the city had 91,494 inhabitants, with some 47,561 Jews constituting more than half of the city population.[21][23]

20th century

Minsk 1912
The Jesuit Collegium in 1912.
Belarus-Minsk-Railway Station Square-4
Railway Station Square, an example of Stalinist Minsk.
RIAN archive 137811 Children during air raid
Children during the German bombing of Minsk
24 June 1941
Detail of War Memorial - Victory Square - Minsk - Belarus (27427130872)
War memorial in Victory Square, Minsk.

In the early years of the 20th century, Minsk was a major centre for the worker's movement in Belarus. The 1st Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, the forerunner to the Bolsheviks and eventually the CPSU, was held there in 1898. It was also one of the major centres of the Belarusian national revival, alongside Vilnia. However, the First World War affected the development of Minsk tremendously. By 1915, Minsk was a battle-front city. Some factories were closed down, and residents began evacuating to the east. Minsk became the headquarters of the Western Front of the Russian army and also housed military hospitals and military supply bases.

The Russian Revolution had an immediate effect in Minsk. A Workers' Soviet was established in Minsk in October 1917, drawing much of its support from disaffected soldiers and workers. After the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, German forces occupied Minsk on 21 February 1918.[24] On 25 March 1918, Minsk was proclaimed the capital of the Belarusian People's Republic. The republic was short-lived; in December 1918, Minsk was taken over by the Red Army. In January 1919 Minsk was proclaimed the capital of the Belorussian SSR, though later in 1919 (see Operation Minsk) and again in 1920, the city was controlled by the Second Polish Republic during the course of the Polish-Bolshevik War between 8 August 1919 and 11 July 1920 and again between 14 October 1920 and 19 March 1921. Under the terms of the Peace of Riga, Minsk was handed back to the Russian SFSR and became the capital of the Belorussian SSR, one of the founding republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-137-1010-37A, Minsk, deutsche Truppen vor modernen Gebäuden
German troops marching through Minsk.

A programme of reconstruction and development was begun in 1922. By 1924, there were 29 factories in operation; schools, museums, theatres and libraries were also established. Throughout the 1920s and the 1930s, Minsk saw rapid development with dozens of new factories being built and new schools, colleges, higher education establishments, hospitals, theatres and cinemas being opened. During this period, Minsk was also a centre for the development of Belarusian language and culture.

Before the Second World War, Minsk had a population of 300,000 people. After Germany invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, as part of Operation Barbarossa, Minsk immediately came under attack. The city was bombed on the first day of the invasion and came under Wehrmacht control four days later. However, some factories, museums and tens of thousands of civilians had been evacuated to the east. The Germans designated Minsk the administrative centre of Reichskomissariat Ostland. Communists and sympathisers were killed or imprisoned, both locally and after being transported to Germany. Homes were requisitioned to house invading German forces. Thousands starved as food was seized by the German Army and paid work was scarce. Minsk was the site of one of the largest Nazi-run ghettos in the Second World War, temporarily housing over 100,000 Jews (see Minsk Ghetto). Some anti-Soviet residents of Minsk, who hoped that Belarus could regain independence, did support the Germans, especially at the beginning of the occupation, but by 1942, Minsk had become a major centre of the Soviet partisan resistance movement against the invasion, in what is known as the German-Soviet War. For this role, Minsk was awarded the title Hero City in 1974.

Minsk was recaptured by Soviet troops on 3 July 1944, during Operation Bagration. The city was the centre of German resistance to the Soviet advance and saw heavy fighting during the first half of 1944. Factories, municipal buildings, power stations, bridges, most roads and 80% of the houses were reduced to rubble. In 1944, Minsk's population was reduced to a mere 50,000.

Coat of Arms of Minsk (Byelorussian SSR)
Coat of Arms of Minsk during the Soviet era

After the Second World War, Minsk was rebuilt, but not reconstructed.[25] The historical centre was replaced in the 1940s and 1950s by Stalinist architecture, which favoured grand buildings, broad avenues and wide squares. Subsequently, the city grew rapidly as a result of massive industrialisation. Since the 1960s Minsk's population has also grown apace, reaching 1 million in 1972 and 1.5 million in 1986. Construction of Minsk Metro began on 16 June 1977, and the system was opened to the public on 30 June 1984, becoming the ninth metro system in the Soviet Union. The rapid population growth was primarily driven by mass migration of young, unskilled workers from rural areas of Belarus, as well as by migration of skilled workers from other parts of the Soviet Union.[26] To house the expanding population, Minsk spread beyond its historical boundaries. Its surrounding villages were absorbed and rebuilt as mikroraions, districts of high-density apartment housing.

Recent developments

Independence Avenue in Minsk
Independence Avenue (Initial part of avenue candidates for inclusion in World Heritage Site)
Street Scene - Nyezalyezhnastsi Avenue - Minsk - Belarus (26937038704)
Another view of Independence Avenue

Throughout the 1990s, after the fall of Communism, the city continued to change. As the capital of a newly independent country, Minsk quickly acquired the attributes of a major city. Embassies were opened, and a number of Soviet administrative buildings became government centres. During the early and mid-1990s, Minsk was hit by an economic crisis and many development projects were halted, resulting in high unemployment and underemployment. Since the late 1990s, there have been improvements in transport and infrastructure, and a housing boom has been underway since 2002. On the outskirts of Minsk, new mikroraions of residential development have been built. Metro lines have been extended, and the road system (including the Minsk BeltWay) has been improved. In the recent years Minsk has been continuously decentralizing,[27] and with a third line of Minsk Metro set to open in 2020, the city is expected to change even further.[28] More development is planned for several areas outside the city centre, while the future of the older neighborhoods is still unclear.[29]

Geography

Minsk is located on the southeastern slope of the Minsk Hills, a region of rolling hills running from the southwest (upper reaches of the river Nioman) to the northeast – that is, to Lukomskaye Lake in northwestern Belarus. The average altitude above sea level is 220 metres (720 ft). The physical geography of Minsk was shaped over the two most recent ice ages. The Svislach River, which flows across the city from the northwest to the southeast, is in the urstromtal, an ancient river valley formed by water flowing from melting ice sheets at the end of the last Ice Age. There are six smaller rivers within the city limits, all part of the Black Sea basin.

Minsk is in the area of mixed forests typical of most of Belarus. Pinewood and mixed forests border the edge of the city, especially in the north and east. Some of the forests were preserved as parks (for instance, the Chelyuskinites Park) as the city grew.

The city was initially built on the hills, which allowed for defensive fortifications, and the western parts of the city are the most hilly.

Climate

Minsk has a warm summer humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) though unpredictable many a times, owing to its location between the strong influence of the moist air of the Atlantic Ocean and the dry air of the Eurasian landmass. Its weather is unstable and tends to change relatively often. The average January temperature is −4.5 °C (23.9 °F), while the average July temperature is 18.5 °C (65.3 °F). The lowest temperature was recorded on 17 January 1940, at −40 °C (−40 °F) and the warmest on 29 July 1936 at 35 °C (95 °F), and on 3 August 2014 at 35 °C (95 °F). There are frequent fogs, common in the autumn and spring. Minsk receives annual precipitation of 690 millimetres (27 in), of which one third falls during the cold period (as snow and rain) and two thirds in the warm period. Throughout the year, most winds are westerly and northwesterly, bringing cool and moist air from the Atlantic. Similar climatic regimes are found in Stockholm, Sweden and in Halifax, Canada.

Ecological situation

The ecological situation is monitored by Republican Centre of Radioactive and Environmental Control.[32]

Minsk. A view of Svislach river
Minsk. A view of the Svislach river and Trajeckaje pradmiescie (Trinity Suburb)

During 2003–2008 the overall weight of contaminants increased from 186,000 to 247,400 tons.[32] The change from gas as industrial fuel to mazut for financial reasons has worsened the ecological situation.[32] However, the majority of overall air pollution is produced by cars.[32] Belarusian traffic police DAI every year hold operation "Clean Air" to prevent the use of cars with extremely polluting engines.[33] Sometimes the maximum normative concentration of formaldehyde and ammonia in air is exceeded in Zavodski District.[32] Other major contaminants are Chromium-VI and nitrogen dioxide.[32] Zavodski, Partyzanski and Leninski districts, which are situated in the southeastern part of Minsk, are the most polluted areas in the city.[34]

Demographics

Краявіды Мінска 103
Apartment buildings in Minsk.

Population growth

Holy Spirit Cathedral (Minsk)

Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (Russian Orthodox).

Minsk Catholic Mary church

Cathedral of Saint Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic).

Kaścioł śv. Jazepa - 6

Church of St.Joseph (formerly Uniate, currently used as an archive).

Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral

Church of Sts. Peter and Paul (Russian Orthodox).

Belarus-Minsk-Church of Simon and Helena-7-2

The Red Church (Roman Catholic).

Belarus-Minsk-Church of Mary Magdalene-8

Church of St. Mary Magdalene (Russian Orthodox).

Belarus-Minsk-Church of Exaltation of the Holy Cross-8

Church of Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Roman Catholic).

Belarus-Minsk-Holy Trinity Church-1

Church of Holy Trinity (Saint Rochus) (Roman Catholic).

Vsekh svyatykh sobor 1998

Church of All Saints (Russian Orthodox).

Yevfrosinyi Polotskoy sobor, 1995

Church of St.Yevfrosinya of Polotsk (Russian Orthodox).

St Elizabeth Monastery 1997 1

Church of St. Elizabeth Convent (Russian Orthodox)

Belarus-Minsk-BSU Branch-Biology Faculty

Faculty of Biology, Belarusian State University.

Belarus-Minsk-BSUIR

University of Informatics and Radioelectronics

Belarus-Minsk-BSPU-Main Building

Pedagogical University.

Minsk memorial
Jewish Holocaust memorial
Former Jewish Hospital in Minsk Ghetto - Minsk - Belarus (27304816850)
Former Jewish hospital in the Minsk Ghetto
Zaslavskaya Memorial to Murdered Jews - Minsk - Belarus - 04 (26916813603)
Zaslayavska memorial to Jews murdered in Minsk
Chinese sinage, Main Railway Station, Minsk, Belarus
Chinese signage, Minsk railway station (2018)
View toward Power Plant from 13th Floor of Turist Hotel - Minsk - Belarus (27525111165)
View toward power plant from Turist Hotel
Theatre opera&ballet, Minsk
National Academic Grand Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus
Belarus Minsk Archcathedral Virgin Mary
The city hall (rebuilt in 2003) overlooks the Cathedral of Saint Virgin Mary.
Museum of the Great Patriotic War - Minsk - Belarus (27248715740)
Great Patriotic War Museum.
Partyzanskaja ciahnik
Partyzanskaja station in the Minsk Metro.
Belarus-Minsk-Central Bus Station
Minsk Central Bus Station
2014 IIHF World Championship

The 2014 IIHF World Championship was hosted by Belarus in its capital, Minsk. Sixteen national teams were competing in two venues, the Minsk-Arena and Chizhovka-Arena. It was the first time Belarus hosted the tournament. The selection of Belarus to host this competition was the subject of much debate, with some politicians in both Europe and the United States calling for the IIHF to move the tournament to another country.

Russia with a mix of NHL and KHL stars (unlike other nations, Russia comprised a squad close to their 2014 Olympic squad) remained undefeated throughout the championship. After losing on home-ice to Finland 1-3 earlier that year during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Quarterfinals, in a rematch, captured the gold medal by defeating Finland 5–2 in the final Sweden captured the bronze medal with a 3–0 victory over the Czech Republic. Host team Belarus made the playoffs for the first time since 2009, losing to Sweden 3–2 in the quarterfinal. Italy and Kazakhstan were relegated to Division I A. Prior to the championship, Division I-III had played their tournaments to establish the rank between teams of lower levels.

The tournament saw a new attendance record for the World Championship, as a total of 640,044 people attended games, surpassing the record set at the 2004 tournament in the Czech Republic, which had 552,097 spectators.

2019 European Games

The 2nd European Games 2019 (Belarusian: II Еўрапейскія гульні, Jeŭrapiejskija huĺni 2019; Russian: II Европейские игры, Yevropeyskiye igry 2019) will be held in Minsk, Belarus from 21 June to 30 June 2019. The games will feature 200 events in 15 sports (23 disciplines). The organisers expect around 4,000 athletes from 50 countries. Ten of the sports will offer qualification opportunities for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The opening ceremony at the Dinamo Stadium will be held on 21 June and the closing ceremony on 30 June.The logo of the games is "paparać-kvietka" – a plant that plays an important role in the culture of the Slavs. The slogan of the event is Bright Year, Bright You, which also successfully points to the national domain of the Republic of Belarus and the official international shortening – BY. The Belarussian equivalent of the slogan is the phrase "Час яскравых перамог!", and Russian is "Время ярких побед!".

Belarus

Belarus (; Belarusian: Беларусь, IPA: [bʲɛlaˈrusʲ]), officially the Republic of Belarus (Belarusian: Рэспубліка Беларусь, Russian: Республика Беларусь), formerly known by its Russian name Byelorussia or Belorussia (Russian: Белоруссия), is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital and most populous city is Minsk. Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested. Its major economic sectors are service industries and manufacturing. Until the 20th century, different states at various times controlled the lands of modern-day Belarus, including the Principality of Polotsk (11th to 14th centuries), the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire.

In the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Belarus declared independence as the Belarusian People's Republic, which was conquered by Soviet Russia. The Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia became a founding constituent republic of the Soviet Union in 1922 and was renamed as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (Byelorussian SSR). Belarus lost almost half of its territory to Poland after the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–1921. Much of the borders of Belarus took their modern shape in 1939, when some lands of the Second Polish Republic were reintegrated into it after the Soviet invasion of Poland, and were finalized after World War II. During WWII, military operations devastated Belarus, which lost about a third of its population and more than half of its economic resources. The republic was redeveloped in the post-war years. In 1945 the Byelorussian SSR became a founding member of the United Nations, along with the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian SSR.The parliament of the republic proclaimed the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990, and during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on 25 August 1991. Alexander Lukashenko has served as the country's first president since 1994. Belarus has been labeled "Europe's last dictatorship" by some Western journalists, on account of Lukashenko's self-described authoritarian style of government. Lukashenko continued a number of Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of large sections of the economy. Elections under Lukashenko's rule have been widely criticized as unfair; and according to many countries and organizations, political opposition has been violently suppressed. Belarus is also the last country in Europe using the death penalty. Belarus's Democracy Index rating is the lowest in Europe, the country is labelled as "not free" by Freedom House, as "repressed" in the Index of Economic Freedom, and is rated as by far the worst country for press freedom in Europe in the 2013–14 Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, which ranks Belarus 157th out of 180 nations.In 2000, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation, forming the Union State. Over 70% of Belarus's population of 9.49 million resides in urban areas. More than 80% of the population is ethnic Belarusian, with sizable minorities of Russians, Poles and Ukrainians. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages: Belarusian and Russian. The Constitution of Belarus does not declare any official religion, although the primary religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The second-most widespread religion, Roman Catholicism, has a much smaller following; nevertheless, Belarus celebrates both Orthodox and Catholic versions of Christmas and Easter as national holidays. Belarus is a member of the United Nations since its founding, the Commonwealth of Independent States, CSTO, EEU, and the Non-Aligned Movement. Belarus has shown no aspirations for joining the European Union but nevertheless maintains a bilateral relationship with the organisation, and likewise participates in two EU projects: the Eastern Partnership and the Baku Initiative.

Belarusian Cup

The Belarusian Cup (Belarusian: Кубак Беларусі) is an annual association football knock-out cup competition for men's football clubs in Belarus. The tournament is organized by the Football Federation of Belarus.

Belarusian Cup was established in 1992. Each year the winning team qualifies for the UEFA Europa League.

Belarusian Premier League

The Belarusian Premier League or the Vysheyshaya Liga (Belarusian: Вышэйшая ліга, Russian: Высшая лига, "Top League") is the top division of professional football in Belarus, and is organized by the Belarusian Football Federation. The number of teams in the competition has varied over the years from as high as 17 (1992–93 season) to as low as 11 (2012). As of 2017, the league includes 16 teams. Each team plays every other team twice during the course of the season. At the end of the season two teams are relegated to the Belarusian First League, and two are promoted from the First League to replace them.

BATE Borisov are the current champions and most successful team, with 14 titles.

Belarusian Premier League (basketball)

The Belarusian Premier League is the highest professional basketball league in Belarus. The most successful teams in the league's history are BC Tsmoki-Minsk and BK Grodno-93, as both teams have won 8 championships.

Belavia

Belavia Belarusian Airlines, legally Joint Stock Company "Belavia Belarusian Airlines" (Belarusian: ААТ «Авіякампанія «Белавія»; Russian: ОАО «Авиакомпания «Белавиа»), is the flag carrier and national airline of Belarus, headquartered in Minsk. The state-owned company had, as of 2007, 1,017 employees. Belavia serves a network of routes between European cities and the Commonwealth of Independent States, as well as some Middle East destinations from its base at Minsk National Airport.

Dinamo Stadium (Minsk)

Dinamo National Olympic Stadium (Belarusian: Нацыянальны Алімпійскі стадыён Дынама,Nacyjanalny Alimpijski stadyjon Dynama, Belarusian pronunciation: [stadɨˈjɔn dɨˈnama]) is a multi-purpose stadium in Minsk, Belarus. It was recently reopened after a massive renovation project. Earlier it was used mostly for football matches and was the home ground of Dinamo Minsk, FC Minsk and the Belarus national football team. Previously the stadium officially held 40,000, but because part of the upper stand had been abandoned in the mid-1990s for safety reasons, the actual capacity before renovations was only 34,000. After renovation the capacity is 22,246.

FC Dinamo Minsk

FC Dinamo Minsk (Belarusian: ФК Дынама Мінск, FK Dynama Minsk; Russian: ФК Динамо Минск) is a professional football club based in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk.

It was founded in 1927 as part of the Soviet Dinamo Sports Society, and was the only club from the Byelorussian SSR that competed in the Soviet Top League, playing 39 of the 54 seasons, and winning the title in 1982. Since the independence of Belarus the club participates in the Belarusian Premier League, having won 7 league titles and 3 Belarusian Cups.

Dinamo plays its home games in the 16,500 capacity Traktor Stadium. Dinamo is the second Belarusian team, after BATE Borisov to reach UEFA Europa League group stages (2014–15 and 2015–16).

FC Minsk

FC Minsk (Belarusian: ФК Мінск) is a professional football club based in Minsk, Belarus. They play in the Belarusian Premier League, the highest division in Belarusian football. Their colours are red and navy blue.

HC Dinamo Minsk

Hockey Club Dinamo Minsk (Russian: Дина́мо-Минск; Belarusian: Дынама-Мінск, Dynama-Minsk) is an ice hockey team based in Minsk, Belarus. They are members of the Bobrov Division of the Kontinental Hockey League.

Dinamo has qualified for the KHL playoffs (Gagarin Cup) four times: in the 2010–11, 2011–12, 2014–15 and 2016–17 KHL seasons. The team has not won a single round in the Gagarin Cup playoffs, losing in all four series.

Sergei Kostitsyn is the current captain of the team, with his alternates being his brother Andrei Kostitsyn and Quinton Howden.

Minsk-1 Airport

Minsk-1 Airport (IATA: MHP, ICAO: UMMM) was a Belarusian airport located within the city limits of Minsk, just a few kilometres south from the centre. It featured one 2000m × 60m runway, enabling aircraft of maximum weight of 63 tons to operate.

Minsk Ghetto

This article is about the ghetto in Minsk. For a ghetto in Mińsk Mazowiecki during the German Nazi occupation of Poland, see Mińsk Ghetto.

The Minsk Ghetto was created soon after the German invasion of the Soviet Union. It was one of the largest in Belorussian SSR, and the largest in the German-occupied territory of the Soviet Union. It housed close to 100,000 Jews, most of whom perished in The Holocaust.

Minsk II

The Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, or more commonly Minsk II, was an addendum to the Minsk Protocol intended to alleviate the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine. It was developed at a summit in Minsk on 11 February 2015 by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany. The talks that led to the deal, overseen by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), were organised in response to the collapse of the Minsk Protocol ceasefire in January–February 2015. The new package of measures is intended to revive the Protocol, which had been agreed to on 5 September 2014.

As reported on 27 December 2018 by Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, not a single provision of the Minsk deal has been 100% implemented, and the accords are considered to have been almost totally ineffective.

Minsk National Airport

Minsk National Airport (formerly known as Minsk-2) (IATA: MSQ, ICAO: UMMS) (Belarusian: Нацыянальны аэрапорт Мінск, [natsɨjaˈnalʲnɨ aeraˈport mʲinsk]; Russian: Национальный аэропорт Минск) is the main international airport in Belarus, located 42 km (26 mi) to the east of the capital Minsk, geographically lying in the territory of Smalyavichy Raion but administratively being subordinated to Kastrychnitski District of Minsk. The airport serves as hub of the Belarusian flag carrier Belavia and the cargo carriers TransAVIAexport Airlines, Genex and Rubystar Airways.

Minsk Protocol

The Protocol on the results of consultations of the Trilateral Contact Group, or simply Minsk Protocol, is an agreement to halt the war in the Donbass region of Ukraine, signed by representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), and the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) on 5 September 2014. It was signed after extensive talks in Minsk, Belarus, under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The agreement, which followed multiple previous attempts to stop the fighting in the Donbass, implemented an immediate ceasefire. It failed to stop fighting in Donbass.

Minsk Region

Minsk Region or Minsk Voblasć or Minsk Oblast (Belarusian: Мі́нская во́бласць, Minskaja vobłasć [ˈmʲinskaja ˈvobɫasʲtsʲ]; Russian: Минская о́бласть, Minskaja oblastj) is one of the regions of Belarus. Its administrative center is Minsk, although it is a separate administrative territorial entity of Belarus. As of 2011, the region's population is 1,411,500.

Mińsk County

Mińsk County (Polish: powiat miński) is a unit of territorial administration and local government (powiat) in Masovian Voivodeship, east-central Poland. It was (re)created on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat and largest town is Mińsk Mazowiecki, which lies 39 kilometres (24 mi) east of Warsaw. The county contains three other towns: Sulejówek, 21 km (13 mi) west of Mińsk Mazowiecki, Halinów, 16 km (10 mi) west of Mińsk Mazowiecki, and Kałuszyn, 17 km (11 mi) east of Mińsk Mazowiecki.

The county covers an area of 1,164.35 square kilometres (449.6 sq mi). As of 2006 its total population is 141,048, out of which the population of Mińsk Mazowiecki is 37,808, that of Sulejówek is 18,676, that of Halinów is 3,369, that of Kałuszyn is 2,905, and the rural population is 78,290.

Mińsk Mazowiecki

Mińsk Mazowiecki [ˈmʲiɲsk mazɔˈvʲɛt͡skʲi] (listen) "Masovian Minsk" is a town in central Poland with 40,211 inhabitants (2015). It is situated in the Masovian Voivodeship (since 1999), previously in Siedlce Voivodeship (1975–1998). It is the capital of Mińsk County.

Climate data for Minsk (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 10.3
(50.5)
13.6
(56.5)
18.9
(66.0)
28.8
(83.8)
30.9
(87.6)
32.5
(90.5)
35.0
(95.0)
35.6
(96.1)
30.3
(86.5)
24.7
(76.5)
16.0
(60.8)
10.3
(50.5)
35.6
(96.1)
Average high °C (°F) −2.1
(28.2)
−1.4
(29.5)
3.8
(38.8)
12.2
(54.0)
18.7
(65.7)
21.5
(70.7)
23.6
(74.5)
22.8
(73.0)
16.7
(62.1)
10.2
(50.4)
2.9
(37.2)
−1.2
(29.8)
10.6
(51.1)
Daily mean °C (°F) −4.5
(23.9)
−4.4
(24.1)
0.0
(32.0)
7.2
(45.0)
13.3
(55.9)
16.4
(61.5)
18.5
(65.3)
17.5
(63.5)
12.1
(53.8)
6.6
(43.9)
0.6
(33.1)
−3.4
(25.9)
6.7
(44.1)
Average low °C (°F) −6.7
(19.9)
−7
(19)
−3.3
(26.1)
2.6
(36.7)
8.1
(46.6)
11.7
(53.1)
13.8
(56.8)
12.8
(55.0)
8.2
(46.8)
3.6
(38.5)
−1.3
(29.7)
−5.5
(22.1)
3.1
(37.6)
Record low °C (°F) −39.1
(−38.4)
−35.1
(−31.2)
−30.5
(−22.9)
−18.4
(−1.1)
−5
(23)
0.0
(32.0)
3.8
(38.8)
1.7
(35.1)
−4.7
(23.5)
−12.9
(8.8)
−20.4
(−4.7)
−30.6
(−23.1)
−39.1
(−38.4)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 45
(1.8)
39
(1.5)
44
(1.7)
42
(1.7)
65
(2.6)
89
(3.5)
89
(3.5)
68
(2.7)
60
(2.4)
52
(2.0)
48
(1.9)
49
(1.9)
690
(27.2)
Average rainy days 11 9 11 13 18 19 18 15 18 18 17 13 180
Average snowy days 24 21 15 4 0.3 0 0 0 0.04 3 13 22 102
Average relative humidity (%) 86 83 77 67 66 70 71 72 79 82 88 88 77
Mean monthly sunshine hours 44 66 134 181 257 273 269 242 165 97 36 27 1,790
Percent possible sunshine 18 24 37 43 52 54 53 53 43 30 14 12 40
Source #1: Pogoda.ru.net[30]
Source #2: Belarus Department of Hydrometeorology (sun data from 1938, 1940, and 1945–2000)[31]
Districts of Minsk
Coat of arms of Belarus Towns and municipalities of Minsk District (Minsk Region, Belarus) Coat of arms of Belarus
Belarus Subdivisions of Minsk Region, Belarus
Districts
(raiony)
Cities
Capitals of European states and territories

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