Belarusians

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Belarusian, Russian

Russian Orthodox Church, Roman Catholics Greek Catholics and Protestantism[13]

Other Slavic peoples, especially Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, Rusyns

Belarusians (Belarusian: Беларусы, Russian: Белорусы) Bielarusy; also Belarussians, Belorussians, or Byelorussians) are an East Slavic ethnic group (or nationality) who populate the majority of the Republic of Belarus. Introduced to the world as a new state in the early 1990s, the Republic of Belarus brought with it the notion of a re-emerging Belarusian ethnicity, drawn upon the lines of the Old Belarusian language spoken by the Ruthenian ethnic group that ruled (together with ancestors of today's Lithuanians) the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. However, after the creation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, many of the Old Belarusian-speaking Ruthenian nobles would be absorbed by the Polish szlachta in the West and, later, the Russian nobility in the East, leaving only a small rural-dwelling population to be the propagators of a distinct non-literary Belarusian language up until its revival. There are over 8 million people who associate themselves with the Belarusian nationality today.

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Location

Belarusians also form minorities in neighboring Poland (especially in the Białystok Voivodeship), Russia and Lithuania. At the beginning of 20th century Belarusians constituted a majority in the regions around Smolensk.

Noticeable numbers have emigrated to the United States, Brazil and Canada in the early 20th century. During Soviet times, many Belarusians were deported or migrated to various regions of the USSR, including Siberia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

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