Belarus is an independent nation in Eastern Europe. With the capital city of Minsk, Belarus 2020 population is estimated at 9,449,334 according to countryaah. The area that today constitutes Belarus (Belarus) was part of the Kiev Empire in the 9th century and in the 13th and 13th centuries in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which later merged with Poland through the Lublin Union in 1569. Poland’s division in the late 18th century led to Belarussian territory was incorporated into the Tsarist empire. After World War I, Belarus became a republic in the Soviet Union. World War II was devastating; the country was first occupied by Nazi Germany and then re-occupied by the Soviet army.
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The territories of the rivers Dnieper, Pripjat, Dvina and Bug have been populated for millennia. The first East Slavic groups came to what is today Belarus in the 600s and had spread throughout the area in the 800s. They lived as hunters, fishermen and collectors. For Belarus political system, please check computerminus.
During the 9th century, the country was part of the Kiev kingdom, the first East Slavic state formation. When the ruler of the Kingdom of Kiev, Jaroslav den Vise, died in 1054, the kingdom was divided into a number of city states. One of them, Polatsk, became the embryo of today’s Belarus.
Following the Tatars’ invasion of the Kiev kingdom in the 13th and 13th centuries, the Belarussian territories became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. There, Slavic people were in the majority and therefore came to have great cultural influence. The official language was based on Old Church Slavic, a precursor to Belarusian (Belarusian) and Ukrainian.
Part of the Russian tsar empire
At the end of the 1300s, the Lithuanian Grand Prince Jogaila converted from paganism to Catholicism. At the same time he married in 1386 the only twelve-year-old Polish queen Jadwiga. Thus, Poland and Lithuania entered into a personnel union. The new mighty empire stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The Lithuanian Grand Principality merged fully with Poland through the Lublin Union in 1569. The Belarusian nobility transitioned from Orthodox Christianity to Catholicism. Belarussian was gradually replaced as a state language by Latin and Polish.
In the 1600s, social anxiety and distress prevailed. Most Belarusians were poor peasants. In 1648–1654 several revolts against the Polish landowners failed. Many fled to the Ukrainian steppes to become Cossacks.
The three divisions of Poland 1772-1795 would have a decisive influence on history. For each division, Tsarist Russia gained an increasing share of Belarus, and eventually almost all of the country was incorporated into the Russian Empire.
Under the new masters, the autonomy of Belarus under Poland-Lithuania ceased, and in the 19th century a tough policy of reform began. The Greek Catholic Church (see Religion) was dissolved, and in 1840 the name Belarus was banned. The area was divided into Russian provinces. From 1859 to 1906, the publishing of writings in Belarusian was prohibited as well as the use of language in schooling.
Surprise and hard oppression
The peasants were shackled in life trait, which meant that they had to serve a lord of goods and had no right to move. When the living property was abolished in the Russian Empire in 1861, the Belarussian people consisted of farm workers and a few landowners. Although the peasants became free, the vast majority had neither land nor influence. Instead, the Russian language, the Orthodox faith, tangible taxes and, in the case of men, 25 years of military service were imposed on the Tsar.
From the middle of the 19th century, national self-awareness grew. In 1863, the insurgent Kastus Kalinowski (Kastuś Kalinoŭski) called for a revolt against the tsar. Many Belarusians took up arms, but the peasant army was crushed by Russian troops. The leader, now seen as an ancestor of Belarusian nationalism, was hanged in 1864.
At the end of the 19th century, the country began to industrialize, but few benefited from the development of the new age. Instead, unemployment and poverty spread. Many people chose to seek happiness elsewhere. In 1867-1917, almost 1.5 million Belarusians emigrated to the United States and Siberia, primarily.
Since Russia lost in war to Japan in 1905, Belarus demanded increased autonomy. The Russian czar was forced to give in and the Belarusian language was again allowed, as was literature and other cultural expressions.
Socialist Soviet Republic established
The front line of the First World War split Belarus into two parts. During the February Revolution in Russia in 1917, Belarussian nationalists and socialists formed a council in Minsk that sought some self-government. But when the Russian Communists, the Bolsheviks, took power in November 1917, troops were sent to Minsk and the Council dissolved. However, the Bolsheviks were forced to retreat from advancing German troops, and during the Brest-Litovsk peace in March 1918, Germany gained most of Belarus.
That same month, nationalists proclaimed what was known in Swedish as the Belarusian National Republic, also called the Belarusian People’s Republic, but the Germans did not recognize the new state formation. When the Germans withdrew later in the year, the Bolsheviks again occupied Minsk, and a Belarusian Socialist Soviet Republic was proclaimed on January 1, 1919. One month later, Belarus was united with Lithuania in a Soviet republic with Vilnius as its capital.
In April 1919, Polish troops entered Lithuania and Belarus, and both were declared part of Poland. Only on July 31, 1920 did the Bolsheviks return to Minsk, and in August the Soviet Socialist Republic of Belarus (Belarus) was restored, while Lithuania became independent. The Republic covered only the eastern part of the area populated by Belarusians. The western parts fell to Poland through the Riga Treaty in 1921. When the Soviet Union was established in 1922, Belarus became one of the sub-republics. In Swedish, the Belarusian Socialist Soviet Republic or Belarusian SSR was called.
Under the Soviet system, all parties except the Communist Party were banned and all property was nationalized. But the chaos that prevailed after the civil war in the early 1920s led Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin to make some departures from his planning economic principles. Some private enterprise is allowed in agriculture, trade and small industry. During the 1920s, Belarus developed both culturally and economically. Many got it better, their language was allowed and the culture flourished. By the mid-1920s, Belarus also regained lands in the east that the Russians had previously occupied.
Devastation during Stalin’s terror
When Josef Stalin took power at the end of the 1920s, the rule of Moscow hardened. In 1928, a brutal collectivization of agriculture began and private lots were merged into large agricultural collectives. The campaign faced strong opposition from the Belarusian peasants. Farmer rebellion was met with deportations and imprisonment. The history books were rewritten to show that the people always strived to be part of Russia. The persecution in the early 1930s was particularly directed at nationalists and intellectuals, but in 1936-1938 included all groups of the population. Today, Belarussian reports say that two million people fell victim to Stalin’s terror during this period.
The Belarusians in Poland after 1921 had a different history. Initially, this newly formed Polish state was tolerant of minorities, but then the tone was sharpened. Eastern Poland, where the Belarusians lived, was economically decaying and many emigrated to the United States and France. Under Marshal Józef Piłsudski’s rule (1926-1935), Belarusians were persecuted in Poland. When the Soviet Red Army troops marched into eastern Poland in September 1939, many cheered and saluted the Soviet Union as liberators. The Polish, western Belarus was united with the Russian, eastern. But many cheered too soon. About 300,000 people from western Belarus were deported to Soviet labor camps from 1939 to 1941.
World War II was devastating. In 1941, the country was occupied by Nazi Germany. During the two-year occupation, approximately 2.2 million Belarusians were killed, most of them the Jewish population of the Republic. More than a million buildings were destroyed, and cities such as Minsk and Vitebsk were destroyed.
When the Red Army troops again entered the country, many fled west. The abuse continued, but now the Russians were facing the oppression. Stalin ordered extensive deportations of Belarusians who collaborated with the Nazis or sat in German labor camps. At the Yalta conference in 1945, the Allies confirmed that the so-called Curzon line would become Belarus’s western border, which meant that the country’s two halves reunited.