Welcome! Have you ever wondered why Belarus is often referred to as “White Russia”?
Well, we’ve got all the answers here. This article will cover everything you need to know about the origins of this nickname, and why it is still used today. We will also explore the diverse history of Belarus, and how this has helped shape its current identity.
So, sit back and get ready to broaden your horizons as we answer the age-old question: why is Belarus called White Russia?
Why is Belarus Called White Russia?Belarus, formerly known as White Russia, is a country located in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia on the east, Ukraine on the south, Poland on the west, and Lithuania and Latvia on the north.
Despite belonging to the former Russian Empire, the country has had a long and distinct history. The term “White Russia” was coined in the Middle Ages and has been used over the centuries in different contexts.
What Does “White Russia” Mean?The concept of White Russia or “Belovezha” (in Russian) has many meanings, depending on who uses it and what era it’s from. While Belarus is the most common contemporary description of the country today, in English-speaking countries it was largely known as White Russia in the past.
This term is derived from an ancient legend which has been intertwined with the history of the region.
The Origins of White RussiaThe word “White Russia” is believed to have originated during the Middle Ages as a reference to “White Rus,” a term used to refer to the region in the Russian Empire.
The legend is that the area that is now Belarus was associated with a powerful and mysterious tribe called the ‘White Ruses’ (Belovezhtsi) which became associated with a white horse and a sacred fire. It was thought that this white horse carried the souls of the dead and guarded the five pools at the source of the local river.
This legend has been used by generations of local inhabitants to explain their cultural identity and sense of nationhood.
White Russia and the Soviet UnionDuring the Soviet era, the term “White Russia” was used to refer to the Belarussian Soviet Republic. It was one of the constituent republics of the USSR.
This usage became popular as it was seen as a more descriptive and patriotic name for the region. This name was then adopted by other countries in the region, such as Poland and Lithuania.