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Thread: Belarus!

  1. #1
    Hanna
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    Belarus!

    I don't think there is anyone from Belarus who regularly visits this forum.

    What is typically Belarussian (as opposed to Russian or Ukrainian)?

    Have you been to Belarus and what are some nice sights to see in Belarus?

    What is "white" about Belarus from the name (White Russia?)

  2. #2
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    Re: Belarus!

    I don't think there is anyone from Belarus who regularly visits this forum.
    Они есть, я по крайней мере.

    What is typically Belarussian (as opposed to Russian or Ukrainian)?
    С моей точки зрения, нет никаких отличий, те же люди, только разделенный территориально. К этому же, исторически так сложилось, что на территории Белоруссии живут русский, украинцы, поляки и т.д. так что коренного белоруса встретить очень сложно.

    What is "white" about Belarus from the name (White Russia?)
    Существует несколько вариантов почему именно "Белая Русь", один из них: "белая" в данном случае — независимая, свободная. Согласно другой версии, название происходит от белого цвета волос или одежды жителей этих земель, но это только теории. Никто точно не знает т.к название формировалось в XII—XVI в.
    Please, correct my mistakes.

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    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    Re: Belarus!

    The last time I've been there (I wrote about that trip here), I've got the impression like I've made a time-travel and appeared in the USSR in the middle of 1980s, as I remember it from my early childhood (it's idealized version). I even felt a little nostalgic. My wife was there for the first time and her impressions was the same. Comparing to modern Russia - less advertising at the streets, girls seems to use less cosmetics, I hardly saw one with a tatoo or a piercing (there are plenty with such 'attributes' in Russia), there are no beggars on the streets etc. Maybe I'm wrong but it was my impression.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    What is "white" about Belarus from the name (White Russia?)
    I heard this version from people in Belorussia:

    The ethnographic explanation that the term was applied from the old-Slavonic use of colours for the cardinal points on the compass. The ancient totem-god Svitovyd had four faces. The northern face of this totem was white (hence White Russia), the western face red (hence Chervona (Red) Rus'), the southern black and the eastern green (hence Zelenyj klyn). This, however, makes the placement of Black Ruthenia problematic.

    Full article:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Russia
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    Re: Belarus!

    @alex410 btw, do you know that your city (Polotsk) and my town (Elektrostal) are so-called "twin-towns" or "sister-cities"? It's mentioned in this article:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elektrostal

    There is even a pub wich is called "Полоцк" in my town there I used to drink from time to time (sorry, I couldn't find a closer picture in the net):



    Panoramic view:

    http://www.gdeetotdom.ru/map/#lat=55.79 ... 0,0,180,-2
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Re: Belarus!

    do you know that your city (Polotsk) and my town (Elektrostal) are so-called "twin-towns" or "sister-cities"?
    Yes, I heard something about it.


    Comparing to modern Russia - less advertising at the streets, girls seems to use less cosmetics, I hardly saw one this a tatoo or a piercing (there are plenty with such 'attributes' in Russia), there are no beggars on the streets etc.
    This is close but not exact.


    К сожалению английский я начал изучать совсем недавно, поэтому продолжу на русском.
    Насчет некоторой схожести с СССР и ностальгии, в этом вы правы, по крайней мере я очень часто слышал похожее от россиян. Бомжей (homelesses & beggars) действительно поменьше (на улицах Минска я не видел ни одного), но насчет: косметики, рекламы, татуировок и пирсинга я бы не сказал, 21 век все таки.
    Please, correct my mistakes.

  6. #6
    Hanna
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    Re: Belarus!

    That's interesting to hear! Nice to see that someone from Belarus visits the forum!

    I've got the impression like I've made a time-travel and appeared in the USSR in the middle of 1980s
    But I don't think people in the USSR in the 1980s had computers, broadband internet or opportunities to chat in forums like this...

    All I know about Belarus (specifically) is:

    -It has some very impressive medieval towns / castles... (what are they called?)
    -Lots and lots of untouched forests... (great) with wolves and other wild animals.
    -It makes farming equipment (at least in the past).
    -Lots of people from neighbouring countries live within the borders, like Alex said.

    What about the Belarussian language? Is it used a lot? If I visited there, would I hear people speak Belarussian a lot, or mainly Russian?

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    Re: Belarus!

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    But I don't think people in the USSR in the 1980s had computers, broadband internet or opportunities to chat in forums like this...
    This was true for the rest of the world too. Windows 2.0 was released in 87. Anyone remember DOS? And the good old days when 56bit modem was cutting edge.
    If I was kiddin' you, I'd be wearin' a fez and no pants. (Lennie Briscoe)

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    Re: Belarus!

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    I've got the impression like I've made a time-travel and appeared in the USSR in the middle of 1980s
    But I don't think people in the USSR in the 1980s had computers, broadband internet or opportunities to chat in forums like this...
    Of course there are plenty of modern cars/equipment/computers/internet etc. Everything looks pretty modern. When I mentioned nostalgic feeling I meant general atmosphere. Maybe the smell of brutal capitalism is not so stinky there comparing to other places/countries where I've been.

    What about the Belarussian language? Is it used a lot? If I visited there, would I hear people speak Belarussian a lot, or mainly Russian?
    I didn't hear anyone speaking Belorussian when I was there, only Russian, but some people have Belorussian accent/pronunciation.
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

  9. #9
    Hanna
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    Re: Belarus!

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil77
    Maybe the smell of brutal capitalism is not so stinky there comparing to other places/countries where I've been.
    Good for them....

    But seriously I don't know - and I read two versions of the situation in Belarus:
    1) they avoided the total chaos and tragedies that hit Russia in the 90s by preventing fast privatisation.
    2) it's "the last dictatorship in Europe"....

    Not sure which is true; one, all or neither.

    Very practical for a learner of Russian if they stick with the Russian language!

    The reason I thought about it was because I was reading a Swedish paper that had a quiz "What do you know about Belarus?"

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    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    Re: Belarus!

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    But seriously I don't know - and I read two versions of the situation in Belarus:
    1) they avoided the total chaos and tragedies that hit Russia in the 90s by preventing fast privatisation...
    More or less true. There was some chaos in early 90s while Shushkevich was the president (as it was all around former USSR and Eastern Europe), but it quickly ended with Bat'ka's coming in power in 1994.

    2) it's "the last dictatorship in Europe"....
    It depends on what exactly you call a 'dictatorship'. Comparing to ultra-liberal conditions in some Western European countries Lukashenko's Belarus may seems a bit authoritarian (not much criticism of the president on state TV and papers, several dozens of prisoners are supposed to jailed for political reasons, the lack of free and open elections, etc.), but AFAIK at least there are not such a things like Guantanamo or secret CIA jails (or even something close to that) in Belarus, so it's a big question for me who is a 'dictatorship' and who is not. Besides, if you just living your life and don't mess with big politics all this 'dictatorship' buisness doesn't affects you at all. Moreover, as I mentioned before, social conditions for ordinary people in Belarus are noticeably better than in, say, Russian or Ukrainian province, so Lukashenko's policies have pretty much support among Belorussian society.
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Re: Belarus!

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil77
    More or less true. There was some chaos in early 90s while Shushkevich was the president (as it was all around former USSR and Eastern Europe), but it quickly ended with Bat'ka's coming to power in 1994.

    It depends on what exactly you call a 'dictatorship'. Compared to ultra-liberal conditions in some Western European countries, Lukashenko's Belarus may seems a bit authoritarian (not much criticism of the president on state TV and papers, several dozens of prisoners are supposedly jailed for political reasons, the lack of free and open elections, etc.), but AFAIK at least there are not such _things like Guantanamo or secret CIA jails (or even something close to that) in Belarus, so it's a big question for me who is a 'dictatorship' and who is not. Besides, if you are just living your life and don't mess with big politics all this 'dictatorship' business doesn't affect_ you at all. Moreover, as I mentioned before, social conditions for ordinary people in Belarus are noticeably better than in, say, Russian or Ukrainian province, so Lukashenko's policies have _much support in ("among Belorussian people" but "in Belorussian society") Belorussian society.
    If I was kiddin' you, I'd be wearin' a fez and no pants. (Lennie Briscoe)

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    Re: Belarus!

    Thanks, quartz !
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Re: Belarus!

    2) it's "the last dictatorship in Europe"....
    I can't call myself a supporter of the president, because I don't like some moments of his politics, but "dictatorship" and other things such like "NOT Freedom of Speech", "the lack of free and open elections", etc. This is Bullsh*t.

    several dozens of prisoners are supposedly jailed for political reasons
    Do you know theirs? I don't.

    Moreover, as I mentioned before, social conditions for ordinary people in Belarus are noticeably better than in, say, Russian or Ukrainian province, so Lukashenko's policies have _much support in ("among Belorussian people" but "in Belorussian society") Belorussian society.
    If you compare social conditions Belarus with all Russia, yes. it's better. If with Moscow or St.-Petersburg... I don't think so.


    P.S. Sorry for the messy English Language. I'm very much still learning.
    Please, correct my mistakes.

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    Re: Belarus!

    Quote Originally Posted by alex410
    "NOT Freedom of Speech", "the lack of free and open elections", etc. This is Bullsh*t.
    If you refered to my post, I had written nothing about "not freedom of speech", I agree that this therm is bullsh*t. And about "the lack of free election", do you really going to say that there are free elections in Belarus? I say - there aren't. In Russia there aren't either.

    [quote:m1rqj760]several dozens of prisoners are supposedly jailed for political reasons
    Do you know them? I don't.[/quote:m1rqj760]
    Several names were mentioned in media. But I don't think all these facts are true. So I wrote 'supposed(ly)'.

    If you compare social conditions in Belarus with in Russia in general, yes. they are better. If with Moscow or St.-Petersburg... I don't think so.
    That's exactly my statement. I wrote about Russian or Ukrainian province.

    P.S. Sorry for correcting you, my English is not so good either to do proper corrections, I just corrected the most conspicuous mistakes. I didn't swich to Russian in my replies to you because the topic starter (Johanna) may be interested in our discussion and her original post in this thread was in English (though I'm certain she is already able to read in Russian, Johanna, am I right? ).
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

  15. #15
    Hanna
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    Re: Belarus!

    Thanks Alex410 for your responses.
    (I have no view on politics in Belarus -- It's not my business... I am more interested in the country, its' traditions, the people and how people live. )

    But from what everyone is saying, it seems that Belarus is almost the same as Russia with no important differences at all? Perhaps the two countries might unite in the future? What do you think?

    If you were asked to give an example of something that is typically Belarussian, then what would you say?


    About my skills in Russian: Actually, when it comes to Russian I can only read simple sentences. Not serious comments about politics etc! But I have vowed to continue my studies until I can speak with people. But I just realised that I could have written most of this post in Russian!! Although I would have made some grammatical mistakes probably. Very soon I will try it.

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    Re: Belarus!

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil77
    And about "the lack of free election", are you really going to say that there are free elections in Belarus?

    If you compare social conditions in Belarus with those in Russia in general, yes.
    If I was kiddin' you, I'd be wearin' a fez and no pants. (Lennie Briscoe)

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    Re: Belarus!

    Interesting questions, Johanna. Most people here don't even know there is such a country. All I know about Belarus is that it took majority of nuclear fallout from Chernobyl. And the only movie (since that is my stock in trade, so to speak) I can think of that has to do with Belarus is a Soviet film called "Come and See" (it's set in Belarus). If you are interested in cinema, I highly recommend it -- it's one of the best war movies ever made, in my opinion.
    Oh and Mark Chagal was born in a shtetl in Vitebsk, but he's not Belorussian as such. Olga Korbut is though (the only famous Belorussian I can think of )


    alex, who are your famous writers?
    If I was kiddin' you, I'd be wearin' a fez and no pants. (Lennie Briscoe)

  18. #18
    Hanna
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    Re: Belarus!

    Vitebsk has a music festival in the summer, and a castle. A friend of mine went to that music festival a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Has anyone else been there? I think it's a festival of Eastern European music.

    I think Vitebsk may be one of the medieval towns that I have heard about, in Belarus. I like well-preserved medieval towns, that's why I remember it.

    Omg I always thought Marc Chagall was Polish...

    Olya recommended a war film called "Belarussian station" but I have not watched it yet.

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    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    Re: Belarus!

    About writers, Vasil Bykov is surely one of most famous. I used to read some of his novels in my teenage years, it's a very strong literature.

    My favorite Belorussian song, I even can sing it in Belorussian :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnXKyBTapbw

    Lyrics:

    Вы шуміце, шуміце нада мною бярозы,
    Калышыце, люляйце свой напеў векавы,
    А я лягу-прылягу край гасцінца старога,
    Hа духмяным пракосе, недаспелай травы.

    А я лягу-прылягу крaй гасцінца старога,
    Галaвой на пагорак, на высокi курган,
    А стамлёныя рукi вольнa ўшыркi раскiну,
    А нагамi - ў далiну, хай нaкрые туман.

    Вы шуміце, шуміце нада мною, бярозы,
    Асыпайце, мiлуйце ціхай ласкай зямлю,
    А я лягу-прылягу край гасцінца старога,
    Я здарожыўся трохi, я хвiлiнку пасплю.
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Re: Belarus!

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Vitebsk has a music festival in the summer, and a castle. A friend of mine went to that music festival a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Has anyone else been there? I think it's a festival of Eastern European music.

    I think Vitebsk may be one of the medieval towns that I have heard about, in Belarus. I like well-preserved medieval towns, that's why I remember it.
    If you check my thread with photos about a trip to Belorussia, you can find several photos of Vitebsk there, including the picture of the stage where the festival takes place. I also mentioned there that although Vitebsk is rather ancient city (it was founded more than a thousand ago), it was almost completely razed during WWII. So most medieval buildings were completely lost. Some were restored though.

    Olya recommended a war film called "Belarussian station" but I have not watched it yet.
    It's not about Belarus exactly. The plot of the film is about several WWII vets who meet at the funeral of their friend in some Russian town. The movie called so after the Moscow's Белорусский вокзал. It's the station in Moscow from wich mobilized soldiers departed to the front. Very good movie, I am adding my recomendation to watch it to Olya's.
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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