History UsefulNotes / Belarus

1st Jun '16 1:53:29 AM Doug86
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Although the Belarusian people (sometimes called "Litvins", "White Russians" or "White Ruthenians" in older historical sources) have been around the area some time, there was no state of Belarus until the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne. In fact, while the name of White Ruthenia existed back in UsefulNotes/KievanRus, the region was actually known as ''Lithuania'' for most of the Late Medieval[=/=]Early Modern period.

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Although the Belarusian people (sometimes called "Litvins", "White Russians" or "White Ruthenians" in older historical sources) have been around the area some time, there was no state of Belarus until the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne.UsefulNotes/WorldWarI. In fact, while the name of White Ruthenia existed back in UsefulNotes/KievanRus, the region was actually known as ''Lithuania'' for most of the Late Medieval[=/=]Early Modern period.
23rd Mar '16 8:58:13 AM Synthesis
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Tropewise, most of what applies to Russia will apply to Belarus as well, and you'd be hard-pressed to find many westerners who would be able to tell you anything about the country. This may actually be a bit TruthInTelevision; Belarus has never managed to form a steady identity like Ukraine did. Combine this with the policy of Russification under the Soviet Union and Lukashenko's regime, and you get a country where most of the population speak Russian as a main language.[[note]] To be fair, Ukraine is also like that, but it is limited to the Central and Eastern parts of the country, which have been ruled by the Russian Empire for a looong time, while the western part was for most of its history a part of the Polish Kingdom and thus serves as the outpost of the language. There is no such thing in Belarus.[[/note]] Belarus ''has'' a distinct Slavic language that's actually quite a bit different from Russian, but only the really rural people speak it as a mother language, and speaking the language today automatically marks you as a hillbilly, even though the names of the people are still in it (to give you a distinction, the ubiquitous Slavic masculine name "Vladimir" has the Belarusian form "Uladzimir").

to:

Tropewise, most of what applies to Russia will apply to Belarus as well, and you'd be hard-pressed to find many westerners who would be able to tell you anything about the country. This may actually be a bit TruthInTelevision; Belarus has never managed to form a steady identity like Ukraine did. Combine Historically, this is particularly prevalent in language: in particular, after a few years of attempting to find a compromise between competing languages alongside political representation in newly-annexed Western Byelorussia, the Polish government made speaking languages other than Polish a major crime, often resulting in hanging (on the charges of [[YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters committing treason against the new authorities]]). Every Belarusian language school in the country was shuttered, with Polish becoming the educational standard in the fight against irrendentism in what is generally called ''Polonization'' today. In Soviet East Belarus, a revival of the language was the cornerstone of a short-lived Golden Age of Belarusian-ness (with Russian itself being temporarily banned in civil use as a concession from Moscow!). This came to an abrupt end under Josef Stalin's overriding "Socialism in One Country" policy, with a heavy ''Russification'' campaign coinciding with a bloody purge of the old Belarusian revolutionaries (and their language), going as far as to even liquidate revolutionaries who'd fled from Poland, in favor their younger offspring, conditioned for orthodoxy in the Soviet mixer. A similar process, on a smaller scale, occurred with Belarusian Jews: the 1939 unification of the country saw the old, isolated Jewish communities of Western Belarus replaced with the policy Soviet ideal of the cosmopolitan Belarusian Jew: [[YiddishAsASecondLanguage Yiddish]] rather than Hebrew speaking, possessing citizenship, more secular and anti-Zionist.[[note]]The cultural transformation of a divided Belarusian people is a very rare topic in English, with some of the earliest English sources only appearing in the 1950s from Harvard Professor Nicholas Vakar, who goes as far as to even detail the anti-communist Belarusians who exclusively spoke then-forbidden Russian![[/note]]

Take the combination of temporary Polish military rule and Soviet
Russification under (and the Soviet Union and Russian cultural leanings of Lukashenko's regime, government)), and you get a country where most of the population speak Russian as a main language.[[note]] To be fair, Ukraine is also like that, but it is limited to the Central and Eastern parts of the country, which have been ruled by the Russian Empire for a looong time, while the western part was for most of its history a part of the Polish Kingdom and thus serves as the outpost of the language. There is no such thing in Belarus.[[/note]] Belarus ''has'' a distinct Slavic language that's actually quite a bit different from Russian, but only the really rural people speak it as a mother language, and speaking the language today automatically marks you as a hillbilly, even though the names of the people are still in it (to give you a distinction, the ubiquitous Slavic masculine name "Vladimir" has the Belarusian form "Uladzimir").
9th Feb '16 4:19:25 PM Dimas28
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Belarus is the country hardest hit by the Chernobyl disaster, even though it actually occurred in Ukrainian territory. It's estimated that 60% of the fallout alone hit Belarusian lands and almost 5% of the country is contaminated (compare this with Ukraine, where barely 1% is affected); one Belarusian village folk described that there was a year where funerals due to radiation were held everyday. Openness, sadly, isn't one of the lessons learned from the disaster, and unlike in Ukraine where the disaster is a national reminder of its Soviet "colonial" past, the fallout is a big ElephantInTheLivingRoom in Belarus, and the government would rather speak of the disaster as seldom as they could.

Tropewise, most of what applies to Russia will apply to Belarus as well, and you'd be hard-pressed to find many westerners who would be able to tell you anything about the country. This may actually be a bit TruthInTelevision; Belarus has never managed to form a steady identity that could filter foreign influences like Ukraine did. Combine this with the policy of Russification under the Soviet Union and Lukashenko's regime, and you get a country where most of the population speak Russian as a main language. Belarus ''has'' a distinct Slavic language that's actually quite a bit different from Russian, but only the really rural people speak it as a mother language, and speaking the language today automatically marks you as a hillbilly, even though the names of the people are still in it (to give you a distinction, the ubiquitous Slavic masculine name "Vladimir" has the Belarusian form "Uladzimir").

to:

Belarus is the country hardest hit by the Chernobyl disaster, even though it actually occurred in Ukrainian territory. It's estimated that 60% of the fallout alone hit Belarusian lands and almost 5% of the country is contaminated (compare this with Ukraine, where barely 1% is affected); one Belarusian village folk described that there was a year where funerals due to radiation were held everyday. Openness, sadly, Openness isn't one of the lessons learned from the disaster, though, and unlike in Ukraine where the disaster is a national reminder of its Soviet "colonial" past, the fallout is a big ElephantInTheLivingRoom in Belarus, and the government would rather speak of the disaster as seldom as they could.

Tropewise, most of what applies to Russia will apply to Belarus as well, and you'd be hard-pressed to find many westerners who would be able to tell you anything about the country. This may actually be a bit TruthInTelevision; Belarus has never managed to form a steady identity that could filter foreign influences like Ukraine did. Combine this with the policy of Russification under the Soviet Union and Lukashenko's regime, and you get a country where most of the population speak Russian as a main language. [[note]] To be fair, Ukraine is also like that, but it is limited to the Central and Eastern parts of the country, which have been ruled by the Russian Empire for a looong time, while the western part was for most of its history a part of the Polish Kingdom and thus serves as the outpost of the language. There is no such thing in Belarus.[[/note]] Belarus ''has'' a distinct Slavic language that's actually quite a bit different from Russian, but only the really rural people speak it as a mother language, and speaking the language today automatically marks you as a hillbilly, even though the names of the people are still in it (to give you a distinction, the ubiquitous Slavic masculine name "Vladimir" has the Belarusian form "Uladzimir").



When it was first independent, English-speaking media couldn't quite decide what to call it - Byelorussia or Bielorussia was popular at first but we seem to have settled on Belarus (pronounced "Bella-'''roos'''", or "byella-'''roosh''' if you're trying to impress someone[[note]]the last consonant is actually not a sh-sound, but a palatalized s, sometimes transliterated with an apostrophe. The distinction is important in Belarusian, where the word Belarus' means the country and the word Belarus means a Belarusian man[[/note]]).

to:

When it was first independent, English-speaking media couldn't quite decide what to call it - Byelorussia or Bielorussia was popular at first but we seem to have settled on Belarus (pronounced "Bella-'''roos'''", or "byella-'''roosh''' if you're trying to impress someone[[note]]the last consonant is actually not a sh-sound, but a palatalized s, sometimes transliterated with an apostrophe. The distinction is important in Belarusian, where the word Belarus' means the country and the word Belarus means a Belarusian man[[/note]]).
man[[/note]]). The problem is because everyone generally agreed on "Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic" when it was a part of the Soviet Union, Russian then being the main language for even the separate republics, but since the breakup there's much more debate on that (to this day, Russia still refers to the country as "Byelorussia"). Actually, the problem extends to place names and even people's names, too, since to this day outsiders use the Russian translation for famous figures, yet they use the Belarusian translation (using the Russian translit scheme) for place names, and that's not mentioning the Belarusian ''translit scheme'' used by the Belarusian government, which is another beast entirely.[[note]] Belarus uses two different translit schemes, each for geographical and non-geographical names.[[/note]] So it's like the whole Kiev/Kyiv thing, except much worse. Some of the difference in spellings are listed here:
* Grodno (Russian) / Hrodna (Belarusian)
* Gomel (Russian) / Homyel' (Belarusian) / Homiel (Belarusian gov.)
* Mogilev (Russian) / Mahilyow (Belarusian) / Mahilioǔ (Belarusian gov.)
* Vitebsk (Russian) / Vitsyebsk (Belarusian) / Viciebsk (Belarusian gov.)
* The name of the president: Aleksandr[[note]] Transcribed as "Alexander" in foreign press, for some reason[[/note]] Grigoryevich Lukashenko (Russian) / Alyaksandr Ryhoravich Lukashenka (Belarusian) / Alâksandr Rygoravič Lukašènka (Belarusian gov.)



* Andrei Gromyko (''Andrej Hramyka'' in Belarusian[[note]]the names of many famous Belarusians are more commonly transliterated from Russian, even though sometimes their Belarusian spelling differs significantly. Also, Belarusian has its own transliteration system that is quite different from the conventional Russian translit scheme. Incidentally, the placenames on the map above are written in Belarusian, but using the Russian translit scheme.[[/note]]), Soviet Minister for Foreign Affairs, a member of Brezhnev's inner circle and the face of Soviet diplomacy for nearly thirty years. His obstinate negotiating style earned him the nickname "Comrade Nyet" in the West.

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* Andrei Gromyko (''Andrej Hramyka'' in Belarusian[[note]]the names of many famous Belarusians are more commonly transliterated from Russian, even though sometimes their Belarusian spelling differs significantly. Also, Belarusian has its own transliteration system that is quite different from the conventional Russian translit scheme. Incidentally, the placenames on the map above are written in Belarusian, but using the Russian translit scheme.[[/note]]), Belarusian), Soviet Minister for Foreign Affairs, a member of Brezhnev's inner circle and the face of Soviet diplomacy for nearly thirty years. His obstinate negotiating style earned him the nickname "Comrade Nyet" in the West.
8th Feb '16 8:56:14 PM Dimas28
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Tropewise, most of what applies to Russia will apply to Belarus as well, and you'd be hard-pressed to find many westerners who would be able to tell you anything about the country. This, sadly may actually be a bit TruthInTelevision; Belarus has never managed to form a steady identity that could filter foreign influences like Ukraine did. Combine this with the policy of Russification under the Soviet Union and Lukashenko's regime, and you get a country where most of the population speak Russian as a main language. Belarus ''has'' a distinct Slavic language that's actually quite a bit different from Russian, but only the really rural people speak it as a mother language, and speaking the language today automatically marks you as a hillbilly, even though the names of the people are still in it (to give you a distinction, the ubiquitous Slavic masculine name "Vladimir" has the Belarusian form "Uladzimir").

to:

Tropewise, most of what applies to Russia will apply to Belarus as well, and you'd be hard-pressed to find many westerners who would be able to tell you anything about the country. This, sadly This may actually be a bit TruthInTelevision; Belarus has never managed to form a steady identity that could filter foreign influences like Ukraine did. Combine this with the policy of Russification under the Soviet Union and Lukashenko's regime, and you get a country where most of the population speak Russian as a main language. Belarus ''has'' a distinct Slavic language that's actually quite a bit different from Russian, but only the really rural people speak it as a mother language, and speaking the language today automatically marks you as a hillbilly, even though the names of the people are still in it (to give you a distinction, the ubiquitous Slavic masculine name "Vladimir" has the Belarusian form "Uladzimir").
8th Feb '16 8:46:34 PM Dimas28
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Meanwhile, the main Russian stereotype about Belarus is that they all [[TrademarkFavoriteFood eat lots of potatoes]]. Russian media tends to portray Belarus as a [[SwampsAreEvil swampy]] {{Ruritania}} where everyone speaks [[strike:Belarusian]] [[JustAStupidAccent Russian with a funny accent]] (TruthInTelevision to some extent, since Russian is the first language of more than 70% of Belarusians) and is [[NeverLiveItDown constantly short on]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Russia%E2%80%93Belarus_energy_dispute (Russian) gas]]. Russians generally treat Belarusians like brothers, maybe strange and rustic but still beloved (unlike people from that certain other former Soviet republic with a history of bad blood with Russia); Belarusian citizens are even exempt from most laws limiting migration to Russia. A nationalistic minority in Belarus does not like Russians, but most of the people in the country are glad to reciprocate the friendship. Also, quite a lot of Soviet films that are set in Belarus are about UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and the [[LaResistance Belarusian partisans]].

to:

Meanwhile, the main Russian stereotype about Belarus is that they all [[TrademarkFavoriteFood eat lots of potatoes]]. Russian media tends to portray Belarus as a [[SwampsAreEvil swampy]] {{Ruritania}} where everyone speaks [[strike:Belarusian]] [[JustAStupidAccent Russian with a funny accent]] (TruthInTelevision to some extent, since Russian is the first language of more than 70% of Belarusians) and is [[NeverLiveItDown constantly short on]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Russia%E2%80%93Belarus_energy_dispute (Russian) gas]]. Russians generally treat Belarusians like brothers, maybe strange and rustic but still beloved (unlike people from that certain other former Soviet republic with a history of bad blood with Russia); Belarusian citizens are even exempt from most laws limiting migration to Russia. A nationalistic minority in Belarus does not like Russians, but most of the people in the country are glad to reciprocate the friendship. Also, quite a lot of Soviet films that are set in Belarus are about UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and the [[LaResistance Belarusian partisans]].
8th Feb '16 8:45:39 PM Dimas28
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The Soviets, of course, won and took over Poland's bit, dumping the substantial Polish population into eastern Germany, now conveniently part of Poland, in order to straighten up the borders. Post-war Soviet Byelorussia had to be rebuilt largely from scratch (as did much of the USSR), and little resembled the pre-war nation: huge urban projects turned Minsk into a modern Soviet metropolis, and industry (traditionally concentrated in certain parts of Russia and Ukraine) was brought to the republic. State planning meant that Belarus would have an emphasis largely on ''light'' industry, not heavy or military industry, producing a disprorportionate part of the country's larger consumer products (refridgerators, televisions, washing machines, etc.) Consequently, with some mondery industry, a large agricultural base, and not being invaded by Poland, Germany, or the Tsars, the BSSR was considered to have one of the highest standards of living in the USSR. Since independence, though, Belarus' pre-war image as {{Ruritania}} has come back into vogue--outside the USSR, where Belarus was largely unknown, that has always been the image. It still has a higher HDI and IHDI than Russia, however.

to:

The Soviets, of course, won and took over Poland's bit, dumping the substantial Polish population into eastern Germany, now conveniently part of Poland, in order to straighten up the borders. Post-war Soviet Byelorussia had to be rebuilt largely from scratch (as did much of the USSR), and little resembled the pre-war nation: huge urban projects turned Minsk into a modern Soviet metropolis, and industry (traditionally concentrated in certain parts of Russia and Ukraine) was brought to the republic. State planning meant that Belarus would have an emphasis largely on ''light'' industry, not heavy or military industry, producing a disprorportionate part of the country's larger consumer products (refridgerators, (refrigerators, televisions, washing machines, etc.) Consequently, with some mondery industry, a large agricultural base, and not being invaded by Poland, Germany, or the Tsars, the BSSR was considered to have one of the highest standards of living in the USSR. Since independence, though, Belarus' pre-war image as {{Ruritania}} has come back into vogue--outside the USSR, where Belarus was largely unknown, that has always been the image. It still has a higher HDI and IHDI than Russia, however.



Tropewise, most of what applies to Russia will apply to Belarus as well, and you'd be hard-pressed to find many westerners who would be able to tell you anything about the country. The main Russian stereotype about Belarus is that they all [[TrademarkFavoriteFood eat lots of potatoes]]. Russian media tends to portray Belarus as a [[SwampsAreEvil swampy]] {{Ruritania}} where everyone speaks [[strike:Belarusian]] [[JustAStupidAccent Russian with a funny accent]] (TruthInTelevision to some extent, since Russian is the first language of more than 70% of Belarusians) and is [[NeverLiveItDown constantly short on]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Russia%E2%80%93Belarus_energy_dispute (Russian) gas]]. Russians generally treat Belarusians like brothers, maybe strange and rustic but still beloved (unlike people from that certain other former Soviet republic with a history of bad blood with Russia); Belarusian citizens are even exempt from most laws limiting migration to Russia. A nationalistic minority in Belarus does not like Russians, but most of the people in the country are glad to reciprocate the friendship. Also, quite a lot of Soviet films that are set in Belarus are about UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and the [[LaResistance Belarusian partisans]]. When it was first independent, English-speaking media couldn't quite decide what to call it - Byelorussia or Bielorussia was popular at first but we seem to have settled on Belarus (pronounced "Bella-'''roos'''", or "byella-'''roosh''' if you're trying to impress someone[[note]]the last consonant is actually not a sh-sound, but a palatalized s, sometimes transliterated with an apostrophe. The distinction is important in Belarusian, where the word Belarus' means the country and the word Belarus means a Belarusian man[[/note]]).

to:

Belarus is the country hardest hit by the Chernobyl disaster, even though it actually occurred in Ukrainian territory. It's estimated that 60% of the fallout alone hit Belarusian lands and almost 5% of the country is contaminated (compare this with Ukraine, where barely 1% is affected); one Belarusian village folk described that there was a year where funerals due to radiation were held everyday. Openness, sadly, isn't one of the lessons learned from the disaster, and unlike in Ukraine where the disaster is a national reminder of its Soviet "colonial" past, the fallout is a big ElephantInTheLivingRoom in Belarus, and the government would rather speak of the disaster as seldom as they could.

Tropewise, most of what applies to Russia will apply to Belarus as well, and you'd be hard-pressed to find many westerners who would be able to tell you anything about the country. The This, sadly may actually be a bit TruthInTelevision; Belarus has never managed to form a steady identity that could filter foreign influences like Ukraine did. Combine this with the policy of Russification under the Soviet Union and Lukashenko's regime, and you get a country where most of the population speak Russian as a main language. Belarus ''has'' a distinct Slavic language that's actually quite a bit different from Russian, but only the really rural people speak it as a mother language, and speaking the language today automatically marks you as a hillbilly, even though the names of the people are still in it (to give you a distinction, the ubiquitous Slavic masculine name "Vladimir" has the Belarusian form "Uladzimir").

Meanwhile, the
main Russian stereotype about Belarus is that they all [[TrademarkFavoriteFood eat lots of potatoes]]. Russian media tends to portray Belarus as a [[SwampsAreEvil swampy]] {{Ruritania}} where everyone speaks [[strike:Belarusian]] [[JustAStupidAccent Russian with a funny accent]] (TruthInTelevision to some extent, since Russian is the first language of more than 70% of Belarusians) and is [[NeverLiveItDown constantly short on]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Russia%E2%80%93Belarus_energy_dispute (Russian) gas]]. Russians generally treat Belarusians like brothers, maybe strange and rustic but still beloved (unlike people from that certain other former Soviet republic with a history of bad blood with Russia); Belarusian citizens are even exempt from most laws limiting migration to Russia. A nationalistic minority in Belarus does not like Russians, but most of the people in the country are glad to reciprocate the friendship. Also, quite a lot of Soviet films that are set in Belarus are about UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and the [[LaResistance Belarusian partisans]].

When it was first independent, English-speaking media couldn't quite decide what to call it - Byelorussia or Bielorussia was popular at first but we seem to have settled on Belarus (pronounced "Bella-'''roos'''", or "byella-'''roosh''' if you're trying to impress someone[[note]]the last consonant is actually not a sh-sound, but a palatalized s, sometimes transliterated with an apostrophe. The distinction is important in Belarusian, where the word Belarus' means the country and the word Belarus means a Belarusian man[[/note]]).
14th Jan '16 7:41:21 AM MarqFJA
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In the havoc of the Russian Civil War, a German backed National Republic (actually called the People's Republic but idiomatically translated here as it was decidedly un-Bolshevik), flying a new white-red-white flag. When Germany left, the BNR found itself with about as much credibility as their German backers, and lasted only as long as it took the Red Army to arrive. The republic was carved up between the USSR (who commified it) and Poland (who denied its existence, considering it to be Poland, but swampier). Wars were fought between the USSR and Poland ([[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII no, not that one]]), which brought the Byelorussian SSR as it was called closer to its modern geographic divisions.

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In the havoc of the Russian Civil War, a German Germany backed a Belarusian National Republic (actually called the People's Republic but idiomatically translated here as it was decidedly un-Bolshevik), un-Bolshevik) flying a new white-red-white flag. When Germany left, the BNR found itself with about as much credibility as their German backers, and lasted only as long as it took the Red Army to arrive. The republic was carved up between the USSR (who commified it) and Poland (who denied its existence, considering it to be Poland, but swampier). Wars were fought between the USSR and Poland ([[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII no, not that one]]), which brought the Byelorussian SSR as it was called closer to its modern geographic divisions.
2nd Jan '16 5:28:46 AM Morgenthaler
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* AlexanderRybak (''Aliaksandar Rybak''), Belarusian-Norwegian musician and the record-breaking winner of the 2009 EurovisionSongContest.

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* AlexanderRybak Music/AlexanderRybak (''Aliaksandar Rybak''), Belarusian-Norwegian musician and the record-breaking winner of the 2009 EurovisionSongContest.
7th Aug '15 10:31:11 AM SilentHunterUK
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* Also features in the ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' episode "The Great Game", where an English murderer is about to be hung. Sorry, [[InsistentTerminology hanged]].

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* Also features in the ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' episode "The "[[Recap/SherlockS01E03TheGreatGame The Great Game", Game]]", where an English murderer is about to be hung. Sorry, [[InsistentTerminology hanged]].
7th Aug '15 10:30:06 AM SilentHunterUK
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Probably Europe's most authoritarian state and the only UN member on the continent still to use the death penalty.



* ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' episode "Eye Spy" takes place in Belarus.

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* The ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' episode "Eye Spy" takes place in Belarus.


Added DiffLines:

* The opening of ''Film/MissionImpossibleRogueNation'' takes place in Minsk.
* Also features in the ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' episode "The Great Game", where an English murderer is about to be hung. Sorry, [[InsistentTerminology hanged]].
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