Belarus lies in the transition area between the Polish, Lithuanian and Russian cultures. National identity, culture and language emerged relatively late in the 19th century. Even after Belarus gained independence in 1991, the Soviet and socialist legacy has remained present. The Belarusian language has long been considered underdeveloped and has been replaced by Russian, from 2010 Belarusian is increasingly perceived as a national language. There is also the mixed language Trasjanka. The politics and culture of remembrance promote the national idea. The Khatyn memorial commemorates the extermination policy of the German occupiers. The Kurapaty Memorial is the site of mass shootings by the Soviet Interior Ministry (NKVD) in 1937-41 during the Stalin era.
According to aparentingblog, Jewish life and culture in Belarus had been widespread especially in the cities since the 15th century. In Minsk around 1900, the Jewish population was around 50%. The Jewish tradition was destroyed by the German armed forces. Well-known names are the painter M. Chagall , who was born near Vitebsk, or the expressionist painter C. Soutine from near Minsk (Belarusian art).
The development of its own Belarusian literature began in the 16th century with Bible translations and poetry. The ban on printing fonts in Belarusian language (in 1696 by the Polish and 1867 by the Russian side), however, hindered their further development. In 1906, outstanding poets, artists and historians published in the first legal Belarusian newspaper “Nascha Niwa” and spread the Belarusian national idea. J. Kupala and J. Kolas wrote on the basis of orally transmitted folk poetry at the beginning of the 20th century poems and stories about rural life and created a Belarusian literary language. At the end of the 1920s, literary freedom was increasingly restricted under the dictatorship of Stalin. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a return to Belarusian independence began. Due to the authoritarian rule of President A. Lukashenka since 1994, the country is characterized by strict censorship. One of the most important representatives of contemporary literature is S. Alexievich , who has written documentary novels in Russian about the war in Afghanistan and the consequences of the Chernobyl reactor accident. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2015.
Belarusian folk music is related to Russian, Ukrainian and Lithuanian folk music. Traditional instruments are dulcimer (cymbal), accordion, violin, flute and drum. After the independence of Belarus, pop music experienced an upswing, with a cappella singing enjoying particular popularity. It is mainly sung in Russian. There are also restrictions in music due to political censorship. Some rock bands, such as Ljapis Trubezkoi (dissolved in 2014) and Krambambulya (banned from performing 2011-17), have been banned from radio and television.
The most popular sports are ice hockey, soccer, handball, basketball, tennis and biathlon. Competitive sport is very important in Belarus. The gymnast Olga Korbut (* 1955), the biathlete D. Domratschewa and the tennis player V. Asarenkaachieved great international successes.
Belarusian art, the art on the territory of Belarus. The earliest monuments come from the Paleolithic (bone work) and Neolithic (ceramic products with geometric ornaments).
Middle Ages and modern times: In medieval architecture, which combined Byzantine building principles with those of Slavic timber construction, fortresses, fortifications (including Lida, Grodno) and fortified churches dominated; the Polotsker principality played a central role. In the baroque period, castles (including Grodno, mid-18th century, based on a design by M. D. Pöppelmann), churches were given primarily two-tower facades (Jesuit church in Grodno, consecrated in 1667), but old Russian traditions were also continued (Church of the Redeemer in Vitebsk, 1813), with flat ornamental carvings as architectural decoration. Ornaments dominated the book (including Gospels of Orscha) and icon painting of the early Middle Ages. The wall painting followed the late Byzantine art (frescoes of the Annunciation Church in Vitebsk, 15th / 16th century). In the 17th century, the copper engraving technique flourished thanks to the Voshchanka family. The art of sculpture has been under Western European influence since the Middle Ages. Even before the union with Russia (1772–95) there was a rapprochement with Russian art.
Modern and present: the cities were redesigned in the style of classicism, later eclecticism and art nouveau. Iosif Grigorewitsch Langbard (* 1882, † 1951) combined constructivist and classicist elements at the House of Government (1930–33) in Minsk. Moisey Yakovlewitsch Ginzburg (* 1882, † 1946) influenced Russian constructivism. After the Second World War, general development plans were drawn up for various cities (Vitebsk, Gomel, Mogiljow, Minsk). Uladzimir Federawitsch Danilenka (* 1950) strives for a dialogue between national and modern architecture (e.g. Orthodox cathedral complex in honor of the icon of the Mother of God “Vsech skorbjaščivch radost ‘” and in memory of the victims of Chernobyl in Minsk, 1992–99).
Painting developed into critical realism at the end of the 19th century. Numerous artists received their training at the St. Petersburg Academy of Art, including also Yehuda Pen (* 1854, † 1937), who founded the art school in Vitebsk in 1897. In the 1920s, this played a key role for the Soviet avant-garde (M. Chagall, El Lissitzky, K. Malewitsch and the members of the UNOVIS group he co-founded). The painter W. Strzeminski moved to Poland. The Association of Visual Artists was founded in 1932. In painting, especially after the Second World War, clear traits of a national school developed, which preferred a poetic, symbolic design of the (also Christian) themes (including Zair Isaakowitsch Azgur, * 1908, † 1995). George Pusenkoff (* 1953) joined the non-conformist post-avant-garde in Moscow. Similar to other post-communist countries, the retro avant-garde after 1991 thematizes in a multifaceted, sarcastic and humorous way in painting, sculpture, photography and media art, especially national, political and social influences as well as their own identity in the global society of values (including Artur Klinov, * 1965; Galina Moskaleva, * 1954).