Belarus/Belarusians


Belarus/Belarusians:
Development of a Nation
How Belarus became Belarus,
and how the Belarusians became Belarusian.


BelarusHow
Belarusians as a people, and the country of Belarus as a nation-state,
evolved and materialized into current form, in terms of ancestral
bloodlines, the Belarusian language, borders, culture, and even how they
received their name.


Ancestral Background
Development of Language
Formation of Borders
Etymology (How Name Received)
Culture
Belarus in 2008


Belarusian Ancestral Background:


  1. Kievan Rus
    3000
    BC – The Proto-Balto-Slavic population (based on speakers of the
    Proto-Balto-Slavic language) materialized around modern Lithuania.
  2. Around 1000 BC, a group splinters from the
    Proto-Baltic-Slavic people near the shores of the Baltic Sea
    (centered around modern Lithuania). This group becomes the Slavic
    people, settling around modern Ukraine. After becoming a distinct
    people, they begin to spread in all directions.
  3. By 750 BC, a group splintered off, migrating
    west, becoming ancestors to the modern Poles, Czechs and Slovaks,
    forever being separated and distinct from those that would remain in
    the original homeland, who would become known as the East Slavs, the
    predecessors to the modern Ukrainians, Russians and Belarusians.
  4. 1-200 AD: Dacians (a sub-branch from the
    ancient Thracians, who inhabited the eastern Balkan peninsula in
    ancient times) inhabited western Ukraine. They were eventually
    absorbed by the Slavs in the region, leaving a minor genetic imprint
    on Ukrainian people.
  5. In the 6th century, another group of Slavs
    would splinter from the original group centered around modern
    Ukraine, diffused east toward Russia and north toward modern
    Belarus. This branch would migrate south into the Balkan peninsula,
    filling the void left by the migrating Germanic peoples, who had
    evacuated the region for crumbling Roman lands to the west. This
    Balkan Slavic group would become known as the South Slavs, and would
    become forever separated and distinct from the East Slavs after
    groups such as the migrating Magyars (predecessors to modern
    Hungarians) settled between them.
  6. 860 – A Swedish Viking tribe migrated south
    into modern Kiev (Ukraine), subduing the Slavs in the area, founding
    the loosely organized Rus Khaganate, the predecessor to the Kievan
    Rus’ state.

  7. Europe 1050 AD
    By the 10th century, the Rus Khaganate had
    evolved from a Swedish-ruled state to a purely Slavic nation, known
    as Kievan Rus. The Swedish Vikings had been completely absorbed into
    the local populace by this point, adding another trace element to
    the Ukrainian genetic composition. The Kievan Rus became the
    premiere Eastern European power, dominating trade routes from Baltic
    to Black Sea, and from the Khazar Kingdom in the east to the
    Germanic states to the west.
  8. After about 100 years of civil war within the
    Kievan Rus, the consolidated East Slav state finally fractured into
    three principle successor states around 1150: Novgorod Republic,
    Vladimir-Suzdal Principality and the Kingdom of Halych-Volynia.
    Vladimir-Suzdal and Novgorod would later combine to form the Grand
    Duchy of Moscow (the predecessor to Russia), and Halych-Volynia
    would later evolve into Ukraine. Another group of former Kievan Rus
    Slavs in the northwest portion of the former kingdom would be
    absorbed into the Kingdom of Lithuania. This group was the
    predecessor to the modern Belarusians.

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Development of Belarusian
Language:

  1. 3000 BC – The Proto-Balto-Slavic language
    (branch of

    Proto-Indo-European
    ) is spoken by Proto-Balto-Slavic group
    centered around Lithuania.
  2. After a split in the Proto-Balto-Slavic nation
    around 1000 BC, the language of those that migrate east and south
    evolves into Slavic (thus the origin of Slavic peoples). The
    language of those that remain in the Baltic region evolves into
    Baltic.
  3. By approximately the 9th century,
    the Slavic language in the Kievan Rus kingdom evolves into Old East
    Slavic. Several dialects of this language develop during existence
    of Kievan Rus.
  4. Kievan Rus splinters into multiple states in
    the 12th century due to civil war. The Eastern
    territories (including Moscow) come under rule of Mongols by 13th
    century, creating partition between eastern and western territories
    of former Kievan Rus state, causing Belarus and Ukrainian languages
    to develop in isolation from what would become Russian.
  5. By 14th century, Ukraine and
    Belarus were conquered by Lithuania, further isolating the evolution
    of their language from the Russian language spoken by East Slavs to
    the east. This “western” East Slav variation would be known as
    Ruthenian, which was influenced by Lithuanian and Polish (as
    Lithuania would join with Poland to form the Polish-Lithuanian
    Commonwealth in 16th century).
  6. After the Polish-Lithuanian Union was formed
    in 1569, most of Ukraine would be under Polish administration, while
    Belarus was largely under Lithuanian administration, isolating the
    two from each other enough to cause a split in the Ruthenian
    language, beginning the divergence of the Ukrainian and Belarusian
    languages. Ukrainian assimilated more Polish influence while
    Belarusian more Lithuanian influence. The two languages were no
    longer mutually intelligible by the 17th century.



Kievan Rus successor states
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Formation of Belarus
Borders:

  1. 860 – A Swedish Viking tribe migrated south
    into modern Kiev (Ukraine), subduing the Slavs in the area, forming
    the loosely organized Rus Khaganate, a Swedish-ruled political
    entity among the East Slavs (predecessors to modern Russians,
    Ukrainians and Belarusians).
  2. By the 10th century, the Rus Khaganate had
    evolved from a Swedish-ruled state to a purely Slavic nation, known
    as Kievan Rus. The Kievan Rus became the
    premiere Eastern European power, dominating trade routes from Baltic
    to Black Sea, and from the Khazar Kingdom in the east to the
    Germanic states to the west.
  3. 1016 – Collapse of Khazar Kingdom as a result
    of military defeats at the hands of the Kievan Rus. Kievan Rus
    expanded southward.
  4. 1050 – Kumans (aka Kipchaks), a Turkic tribe
    from central Asia, migrated west,

    Mongol Golden Horde conquests
    conquering the southern part of
    modern Ukraine.
  5. After about 100 years of civil war within the
    Kievan Rus, the consolidated East Slav state finally fractured into
    three principle successor states around 1150: Novgorod Republic,
    Vladimir-Suzdal Principality and the Kingdom of Halych-Volynia.
    Vladimir-Suzdal and Novgorod would later combine to form the Grand
    Duchy of Moscow (the predecessor to Russia), and Halych-Volynia
    would later evolve into Ukraine. Another group of former Kievan Rus
    Slavs in the northwest portion of the former kingdom would be
    absorbed into the Kingdom of Lithuania. This group was the
    predecessor to the modern Belarusians.
  6. 1241 – The Mongol Empire (Golden Horde)
    conquered the Kipchak/Kuman Empire. The Golden Horde advanced as far
    as the eastern edges of Austria, submitting Poland and Hungary. They
    also conquered the Rus principalities. They retreated from their
    outermost territories when Genghis Khan died, which split the Mongol
    Empire among his four sons. The western portion that encompassed
    eastern Europe, including the Rus principalities (Ukraine, Belarus,
    Russia) is referred to as the Golden Horde. Turkics (Kipchaks)
    comprised the majority of the constituency in modern Southern
    Russia, but the Mongols were the ruling class throughout all of
    modern Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

  7. Europe 1500 AD
    1307 – Lithuania conquered the Principality
    of Polotsk (Rus), consisting of northern-central Belarus.
  8. 1385 – A merger between Poland and
    Lithuania formed the Polish-Lithuanian Union. The two kingdoms still
    operated independently, but formed a defensive alliance against
    the Germanic Teutonic Knights and Moscow, common threats to both. It
    included large
    portions of both modern Belarus and Ukraine.
  9. 1569 – Establishment of
    Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This new political entity covered modern Poland, Lithuania,
    Belarus, Latvia, large parts of Ukraine and Estonia, and parts of
    Russia. Poland would be the dominant entity.
  10. 1654 – 1657

    Russia gained control over Ukraine from the Polish-Lithuanian
    Commonwealth in the Russian-Polish War.
  11. 1725 – A weakened and disorganized
    Poland-Lithuania comes under Russian domination, serving as a
    client/buffer state.

  12. Russia expansion
    1772 – First Partition of Poland.
    Poland became a protectorate of Russia, but its ill-protected
    western territories were now threatened by Prussia and
    Austria. Prussia, Austria and Russia agreed to a partition, as
    Russia realized it did not have the resources to
    defend entire nation. The bulk of Poland-Lithuania remains
    intact, but largely under foreign domination. The extreme west of
    Ukraine was allocated to Austria. Both
    Austria and Russia would attempt to end Ukrainian culture and
    language.
    Most
    of modern Belarus would end up as part of Russia.
  13. By the Third Partition of Poland in 1795,
    Austria would gain the very southwest corner
    of
    modern Belarus, which it would lose to France in 1807 during the
    Napoleonic Wars. France combined it into the Duchy of Warsaw, the
    French-ruled Polish puppet regime. All of Belarus was annexed into
    Russia following the defeat of France in the Napoleonic Wars in
    1815.
  14. By 1918, Belarus had declared
    itself as an independent republic. By 1921, Poland captured western
    part of Ukraine (Galicia),

    Russia
    while Russia incorporated the larger
    part of Ukraine into the newly-formed USSR. Belarus was also regained
    by Russia, and
    incorporated into the Soviet Union.
  15. In 1939, as part of the Secret Nazi-Soviet Pact,
    the USSR received
    Galicia (western Poland), which it took by force, adding it to
    Ukraine.
  16. 1940 –The USSR also partitioned
    Northern Bukovina and Budjak from Romania, assigning them to Ukraine
    SSR.
  17. 1941 – 1944: Nazi occupation of Ukraine and
    Belarus. Regained by USSR in 1944.
  18. 1990 – Belarus and Ukraine break away as
    the USSR
    fell into collapse, forming respective, independent republics.

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Etymology (How
Name Received):

Belarus
translates into “White Rus”, making reference to the original, medieval
East Slav kingdom of Kievan Rus, the predecessor to Russia, Belarus and
Ukraine. White was possibly used by Russian Tsars, who saw themselves as
the Third Rome (after the Latins


Russia
and Byzantines), and used the adjective
of “white” to differentiate themselves from the Latin and Byzantine
Romans. The Tsars wore white robes, and referred to themselves as the
Great White Tsar. The Belarus took this name upon themselves at some
point during their captivity in Lithuania, in order to differentiate
themselves from the Lithuanians.

Belarusian Culture:

Closely tied to Russian, due to strong ethnic link as East Slav peoples,
and a lengthy existence under Russian rule. Belarusians were generally
allowed to maintain their specific, Rus culture under Poland-Lithuania
rule (12th to 18th centuries). With such a long period of separation
with other East Slavic peoples (Russians and Ukrainians), their culture
took on its own unique flavor. When Belarus came under the rule of the
Russians in the late 18th century, their culture was suppressed, as the
Russians attempted to “Russianize” the Belarusians.

Belarusian culture
has survived, especially now that it has its own nation-state.


Soviet Bloc

Belarus in 2008:


Economy:
Initially after the
collapse of USSR in 1990, Belarus began taking steps toward democracy
and capitalism like other former socialist republics. But since the mid
1990s, Belarus has taken steps back towards socialism and a
state-planned economy. It has re-nationalized many private companies,
imposed price controls and expanded the state’s right to take over
controls of private companies. It has also increased the communist
practice of redistributing wealth and income. As a result, foreign
investment has been discouraged. Despite this, the economy has exhibited
strong growth in recent years, in large part due to heavily discounted
oil and natural gas it receives from Russia, as a result of remaining
aligned with Russia.
Government: Dictatorship (officially a republic, but dictatorship
in reality)
Religion: Eastern Orthodox 80%. Constitution protects freedom of
religion, but in reality, due to dictatorial tendencies of the current
regime, the state reserves the right to prohibit religious practice
deemed harmful.
Demographics: Belarusian 81%, Russian 11% (long part of Russian
rule, population redistribution in an attempt to “Russianize”,
especially during the era of the USSR), Polish 4% (fluctuating borders
with Poland throughout history, up through WWII), Ukrainian 2% (closely
related, part of USSR together). Population has been in decline in
recent years due to low birth rate and net emigration.
Foreign Policy: Leans heavily toward Russia. Highly reliant on
Russia politically and economically, as Russia is its largest import and
export partner. Recent socialist and dictatorial policies have distanced
Belarus from the West and the rest of Europe, causing it to cleave even
tighter to Russia.
Population: 9,685,768 (2008)



Formation of Nations (All European Nations)


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