Welcome to Belarus
Belarus may technically be a young nation, having declared its independence only in 1991, but it is a country that is very rich and culture, and here people can find out more about it. As a matter of fact, contemporary Belarusians can trace their origins back to the Slavic peoples that migrates en expanded throughout Easter Europe between the 6th and 8th centuries. Even though the Belarusian principalities were soon absorbed by the Kingdom of Lithuania, the latter's lack of demographic and language development meant that the former played a major role in shaping up Lithuanian political, religious and cultural life.
Of course that that was way back in the day, before Belarus was annexed by the Russian Empire, a state of affairs that lasted over a hundred years. Nowadays, Belarus is a republic ruled by the president and the National Assembly. Its second and current president was democratically elected in 1994, but since then modifications have been made to the Constitution that have allowed him to remain in office up to this day. Coincidentally, the majority of the country's economy is controlled by the state. The economy is based on exports like heavy machinery (especially tractors), agricultural products, and energy products; and imports like oil from Russia.
But Russia is not only the country's largest business partner, it also has influence on other spheres, such as religion. As a matter of fact, the Russian Orthodox Church has more followers than any other denomination, some of which include Catholicism, Protestantism and Judaism. Related to the topic of religion, it is worth mentioning that Belarusian literature began with religious writing in the 11th century. There was however a modern movement that started in the 19th century, spearheaded by Yanka Kupala, nom de plume of poet and writer Ivan Daminikavich Lutsevich.
Music is another major facet of Belarusian culture, so much so that a decree signed in 2002 required that 50% of music broadcast on FM radio had to be Belarusian in origin, a quota that was later increased to 75% in 2005. The country has a rich tradition of folk and religious music, but as of late other genres usually associated with the Western Hemisphere have gained a following, like rock and rap. Furthermore, Belarusian representatives have taken part in both the Junior Eurovision Song Contest and the regular Eurovision Song Contest, winning the former in 2005.
This has been just an overview of some aspects related to the country known as Belarus. There is much more to learn in the pages of this website about cities, demography, and other related subjects so that people who are interested in this land are invited to browse around and find the topic that calls their attention the most, and enjoy it for free.