Belarus

Article

January 26, 2022

Belarus, the full name of the Republic of Belarus (Belarusian, Respublika Biełaruś, Russian Респу́блика Белару́сь, Respublika Belarus), is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It borders Poland to the west, Lithuania to the northwest, Latvia to the north, Russia to the north and east, and Ukraine to the south. The capital is Minsk. The country has a population of approximately 9.5 million, a decline that has been declining since the 1990s. Most of them are Belarusians, but the most widely used language is currently Russian, which, like Belarus, has official status. Belarus has been independent since 1991, when it became one of the successor republics of the Soviet Union. It is a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States and has a strong foreign policy focus on Russia, with which it joined in 1997. The country was democratic for only 3 years (1991-1994). Alexander Lukashenko, who has been criticized by Western countries for undemocratic practices and repression of the opposition, has been the country's president since 1994. He is also described as "the last dictator in Europe". Belarus is the only country in Europe to practice the death penalty. Václav Havel called it "the last totalitarian state in Europe" in 2005. Since 2020, after the unrecognized presidential election, the position of president has been disputed between Alexander Lukashenko and his Lithuanian exile-based anti-candidate Sviatlana Cichanouska.

History

Prehistory

From 5000 to 2000 BC, a culture with linear ceramics prevailed. In addition, remnants of the Dnieper-Donetsk culture have been found in Belarus and parts of Ukraine. The Kimmeri and other herders moved around the area until 1,000 BC, and by 500 AD the Slavs had settled here, defined by the Scythians who migrated on the fringes of Slavic settlement. The invaders from Asia, including the Huns and the Avars, passed through here between 400 and 600 AD, but were unable to displace the Slavic presence. The area of ​​present-day Belarus was first inhabited by Baltic tribes in the 3rd century. Around the 5th century, the area was taken over by Slavic tribes. The takeover was partly due to insufficient Baltic military coordination, but the gradual assimilation of the Baltics into Slavic culture was peaceful. Three Slavic tribal unions settled in this area: Krivichi, Dregovichi and Radimichi. [Source?]

Kievan Rus

However, the first mention of the Belarusian principalities dates back to the 9th century. Specifically, it is the Principality of Polotsk, one of the three main units of Kievan Rus; later other powerful units were formed: the Turovské, Grodecké and Novogrodecké principalities. Around 992, Christianity arrived in Belarus. The missionaries were sent from the Kiev center by Vladimir I. Svatý. After the demise of Kievan Rus (definitely 1240) under the onslaught of the Mongols, Lithuanian princes began to penetrate the fragmented area. The territory of the so-called Black Russia (near Novogrodek) was conquered by the prince, later king, Mindaugas in the middle of the 13th century. After 1316 (the beginning of Gediminas), the Lithuanian rulers systematically annexed the individual Belarusian and Ukrainian countries to their headquarters. The growing pressure of German troops (the Teutonic Knights and the Teutonic Knights) and the Tatar / Mongol raids also contributed to the formation of Lithuanian-Belarusian unity. The White Russian formed a substantial part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The capital was initially Novogrodek, from 1323 then Vilnius (Vilnius). The golden era of this state unit began especially during the reign of Vitold the Great. (The symbols of this state unit, the emblem called the hawk and the white-red-white flag, are now being pushed out of the public by the state authorities in Belarus.

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