Country Listing

Belarus Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Belarus


St. George, patron saint of Belarus

Chronology of Important Events

Period      Description


Late           Emergence of Kievan Rus', the first East Slavic
               state, which soon splits into a number of
               principalities. One, Polatsk, becomes nucleus of
               modern-day Belarus.


1240           Belorussia and part of Ukraine come under control
               of Lithuania. Resulting state is called Grand
               Duchy of Lithuania, Rus', and Samogitia.


1385           Union of Krevo joins Poland and Grand Duchy in a


1569           Union of Lublin unites Poland and Lithuania into a
               single state, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

1596           Union of Brest unites Roman Catholic Church with
               the part of the Orthodox Church existing within
               Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.


1772, 1793, and 1795          Russia, Prussia, and Austria carry
                              out three partitions of Poland.
                              Belorussia, formerly part of
                              Poland, now almost entirely within
                              Russian Empire.


1839           Tsar Nicholas I abolishes Uniate Church and forces
               Uniates (three-quarters of Belorussians are
               members of Uniate Church) to reconvert to
               Orthodoxy; bans use of name "Belorussia" and
               replaces it with name "Northwest Territory."

1861           Serfdom is abolished in Russian Empire.

1863           Kastus' Kalinowski inspires uprising in Belorussia
               in support of Polish-Lithuanian insurrection
               against Russia. Insurrection fails, and Polish
               territories are absorbed into Russian Empire.

1864           Kalinowski, considered founding father of
               Belorussian nationalism, is hanged in Vilnius.


1905-18        Ban on Belorussian language is lifted; Belorussian
               culture flourishes; period of nashanivism.

1918 March     Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is signed, putting most of
               Belorussia under German control. Central Executive
               Committee of All-Belorussian Congress (Rada)
               nullifies treaty and proclaims independence of
               Belorussian National Republic.

1919 January   Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republican
               (Belorussian SSR) is established by force of arms.

1921 March     Treaty of Riga divides Belorussia among Poland,
               Belorussian SSR, and Russia.

1922 December  Belorussian SSR is incorporated into Soviet Union.

1928           Forced collectivization starts.

1935           Belorussians in Poland opposing Polish
               government's policies on ethnic minorities are
               placed in concentration camp at Byaroza-Kartuzski.

1941           Nazis create Weissruthenische Generalbezirk
               (Belorussian Military District) in central part of
               Belorussia, establish German military regime in
               eastern part, and parcel out remaining Belorussian
               territory to Lithuania, Ukraine, and East Prussia.

1944 Summer    Red Army "liberates" Belorussian SSR from Nazis;
               Stalin orders sweeping purges and mass

1986 April     Chornobyl' nuclear power plant in Ukraine
               explodes; radiation mainly falls on Belorussian
               SSR. Secrecy surrounding disaster galvanizes
               Belorussians to mount protests against Soviet

1988 June      Mass graves of Stalin's victims are found at
               Kurapaty, near Minsk. Discovery of some 250,000
               bodies brings denunciation of old regime and
               demands for reform.

October        Belarusian Popular Front is formed.

1990 June      Supreme Soviet of Belorussian SSR adopts
               Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Belarusian
               Soviet Socialist Republic; Belarusian is declared
               the official language.

1991 April     Demonstrations are held in several cities over
               economic and political issues.

August         Coup d'état takes place in Moscow; Estonia,
               Latvia, and Ukraine declare independence.

               Supreme Soviet of Belorussian SSR declares
               independence on August 25 and changes name of
               country to Republic of Belarus. Communust Party of
               Belarus is temporarily suspended.

December       Belarus signs Minsk Agreement, establishing
               Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

               Eleven former Soviet republics expand CIS by
               issuing Alma-Ata Declaration; Minsk becomes
               headquarters of CIS.

1994 March     Supreme Soviet adopts new constitution; office of
               president is created.

July           Alyaksandr Lukashyenka is elected president.

1995 May       Parliamentary elections are held; results of two
               rounds of elections are insufficient to seat new
               Supreme Soviet.

Data as of June 1995

Country Listing

Belarus Table of Contents