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Who are the Belarusians? -bookcover

By: Alan Adamоŭ

Who are the Belarusians?

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A Guide to Belarusians, Belarus and what makes the country unique.

Being on the crossroads between invading armies since time immemorial, Belarus has emerged with a growing sense of identity that sets them apart from their neighbours. The author opens the lid on the background, attitudes and behaviour of a people about which little is known.

‘Belarusians often describe themselves with the word ‘Pamiarkoŭnasć’. This spans the kaleidoscope of attitudes such as ‘moderation’, ‘self-restraint’, ‘patience’, ‘resignation’, ‘tolerance’ and an excessive interest in what other people think of them.

Whereas in the UK politeness is generally applied in order to preserve a general sense of harmony, in Belarus it is selective and done for specific reasons and in specific contexts. A Belarusian is polite when the situation demands.’

‘In the bus, there may be an empty place in an otherwise crowded interior while many are standing uncomfortably. The empty seat is like the last biscuit on the plate – everybody wants it but are too polite to take it.’

Generally, the Belarusians are a law-abiding folk. This is not necessarily an instinctive need to adhere to the rules or a paranoia about the results of not following them. In fact in most cases, there is a feeling that it is better to stay within the rules which amount to one of the few uncertainties in life than to go out on a limb and risk unforeseen consequences.

ALAN ADAMОŬ is of British and Eastern European descent.

 Having travelled and done business in all the Eastern European countries during and after Communism, Alan has been living in Belarus and has worked closely with Belarusians. This has given him a unique insight into the people and the country behind the news

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