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July 30, 2008 Permalink

Daily Life in Belarus

Belarus is a country of 10 million citizens in the heart of Europe. Its president, Alexander Lukashenko, has been in power since 1994, and U.S. Presidential candidate John McCain recently described him as a "brutal dictator" and supports continued U.S. sanctions, imposed in reaction to rigged elections in 2006. This September, over 700 international observers will be on hand to monitor new parliamentary elections, and Lukashenko may be trying to warm up to the West. Here is a look at some recent scenes in and around Belarus. (19 photos total)

A Belarus Interior Ministry soldier runs through an obstacle course during rigorous physical examinations for the "Madder Beret" outside Minsk in Volovshchina on June 5, 2008. Troops who pass the examinations receive a burgundy colored Madder Beret and become members of the special forces. (VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)
more photos
This page lists only comments and the first photo for the entry.
To see the entire entry, with all photographs, click here.

163 comments so far...


Posted by michelle July 30, 08 11:58 AM

plz I can haz some potatoes?

Posted by MarketGarden July 30, 08 12:08 PM

Great set! Love the first shot.

Posted by vFlux July 30, 08 12:10 PM

Great pictures

Posted by Paulo Pereira July 30, 08 12:40 PM

The best reportages from all over the world only on Boston Big Picture!

Compliments for selections

Posted by David La Tache | photo July 30, 08 12:59 PM

Great. I like the cat. Looks peaceful.

Posted by Gary July 30, 08 01:00 PM

"A Belarusian police officer stops photographers from taking pictures"

I liked this shot. The face of the policeman clearly says "Please, I'm just doing my job. Please do not make this hard for both of us. Please."

i like how the guy in the shorts made at least one soldier turn to laugh with him.

i like the motion caught in the honor guard's performance.

i like the river of candlelight.

This whole country seems interesting, and honestly I never new of it before. I'll read up on it a bit now.

Posted by Lesley July 30, 08 01:03 PM

Very nice!

Posted by Dani July 30, 08 01:11 PM

How Gorgeous, different, exotic and rare. The feeling this evokes is a treasure.

Posted by The Baltimore Babe July 30, 08 01:35 PM

What is wrong with these "democracies"? I'm sick and tired of these countries pretending to be democratic. You would think these people have learned communism doesn't work and be happy with a democratic process.

Posted by Cal July 30, 08 01:49 PM

so Belarus is mostly military training, colourful parades, has a borderfence and restricts photography of bomb sites. how does that remind me of the US of A?

Posted by Bernd July 30, 08 01:51 PM

The smoke swirling around the soldier is just awesome.

Posted by Morpheus July 30, 08 01:52 PM

I love this site. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Mike July 30, 08 02:14 PM

Bernd - you can't even imagine how far Belarus is from 'oh-so-undemocratic' US of A. I don't like Bush along with many actions of his government but to making comparisions between USA and Belarus is simply stupid.

Posted by Tomek July 30, 08 02:52 PM

This has to be the best photo blog I have ever found.

Posted by Breck July 30, 08 03:41 PM

I love how this blog shows photographers' more creative shots. This is a fantastic spread that goes well beyond normal news to display a country most Americans know little about.

Posted by Chris July 30, 08 03:54 PM

Picture #11... is that Cheech or Chong?

Posted by me me me July 30, 08 04:08 PM

I would like to visit sometime.

Posted by Scott Kelley July 30, 08 05:03 PM

that place sucks

Posted by dan July 30, 08 05:16 PM

I know when I go to jamaica the only pictures I take are of ganja smoking rasta and the beach.

I think mine are better.

Posted by rob enderle July 30, 08 05:18 PM

I was born in Minsk, Belarus and lived there until I was seven, when I moved to Brooklyn, NY. So these pictures have somewhat a special meaning to me, asides from being fantastically taken. These pictures are very nice.

Posted by Serge July 30, 08 05:21 PM

You do realize that Belarus is a military dictatorship - the only one left in Europe - right? Pictures of poverty and extreme militarism, beautiful?

Posted by From Sweden, knows about other countries July 30, 08 05:21 PM

But somehow, in this beautiful country of theirs, people get stopped on the street, by police, for some stupid activities, like running a news papers, and nobody sees them ever again.... Thats a wonderful country isnt it?

Posted by Lithuanian July 30, 08 05:22 PM

those chicks are hot

Posted by charles July 30, 08 05:26 PM

be more interesting...

Posted by critic July 30, 08 05:34 PM

Beautiful! Most pics gave me a feeling of melancholy.

Posted by Patrick July 30, 08 05:53 PM

Why is it that many of the beautiful places in the world are within military control.
Or is it because of the controlled region, that these places are still pristine.

Either way, these photos say more than they show.

Nice job Alan Taylor and the photo journalists.

Posted by Nirmal Vijay July 30, 08 05:53 PM

these pictures are great... but is this really "daily life" in this country? military parades, festivals and religious ceremonies happen every day there?

Posted by aaron July 30, 08 06:14 PM

Shot 11, has so much going for it drama and serenity all in one.

Posted by Mark. July 30, 08 06:14 PM

Thank you for sharing these magnificent pictures.

Áåëîðóññèÿ c Ðîññèåé - áðàòüÿ íàâåê. Äîëãèõ âåêîâ òåáå - Áåëîðóññèÿ.

Posted by Constantin July 30, 08 06:28 PM

Everybody complaining about military dictatorships... I'm sure the US of A is the greatest democracy in the world (sarcastic). Everybody in the country here are like herds of sheep. US of A is as much controlled by Big Corp. as Belarus is by a "military dictatorship". Maybe they just don't want to sell out their country like the rest of the west has done.

Posted by Zokhe Zeytin July 30, 08 06:39 PM

I usually post comments telling you how stupid or retarded you are at this point, being subjected to reading something irrelevant or looking at some stupid picture of a kitty with less then coherent and even less relevant caption...

but I must truly say thank you... I am of Slavic descent, Polish to be exact...
These pictures are beautiful, in nature of its subjects and as the purpose they serve in being a little window for the shitty world of North American Arrogance... if only to realize there is still a shimmer of real life out there...

"If there is any hope for the future, it lies in the proles."

again thank you...

Posted by Maciek Budzinski July 30, 08 06:48 PM

Great photos

Posted by Indeshaw Adenaw July 30, 08 06:55 PM

This is awful,

The U.S must freedomize and democratize these people, democratize them hard, as hard as possible, they need to feel the raw freedom as the U.S slams it into them. They need to be made as free and democratic as the Serbs, Iraqis, and Afghans, anything less would be offensive to lady liberty. 9/11 never forget.

Posted by Bumble Tickldwarf July 30, 08 07:02 PM

unbelievable again.

yet again boston big picture has blown my mind.

national geographic? life magazine? nope...this is the best place to view incredible photos online!

Posted by JON July 30, 08 07:04 PM

I agree with Aaron. Seems to me like the last photograph is the only one representative of a normal day in the life of an average citizen in Belarus. The photos are captivating, though. Perhaps unsettling...

Posted by TxRx July 30, 08 07:11 PM

To say they are beautiful is not an endorsement of the politics of Belarus, or an acceptance of the human condition in that state.

What is beautiful about this pictures is the stark realism and breathtaking humanity. They have captured the misery and sorrow of the people, but also their hope and determination.

I look at these pictures, and I do not see villains. In the police and soldiers, I do not see agents of an evil regime. All I see are humans, more real and alive than the ones I see every day.

These are some of the most beautiful photographs I have ever seen.

Posted by Andrew Ochtinsky July 30, 08 07:20 PM

no wonder hleb sucks

Posted by Dez Lyman July 30, 08 07:50 PM

Well done Sergei Grits, he took nearly all the pictures!

Posted by ben July 30, 08 07:55 PM

Great photos, I'm impressed by the photographers. Photojournalism at its best!

Posted by Graeme Smith July 30, 08 07:56 PM

fantastic photos

Posted by moll July 30, 08 08:21 PM

In the heart of Europe? You must be American.

Posted by Heartless July 30, 08 08:23 PM

only the chicks with the white hats are hot

Posted by s July 30, 08 08:24 PM

Wow, stunning images indeed. Priceless.


Posted by Jim Jones July 30, 08 08:35 PM

It captures Belarus in an unexpected and rarely seen way. Great photography, great presentation.

Belarus is not a military dictatorship. It is technically a republic led by a president, which is not true of military dictatorships. Although Lukashenko, in practice, very much resembles a dictator, he is elected to his office (albeit unfairly, according to most) and is not currently a military officer.

Posted by adm July 30, 08 08:43 PM

very nice window of the world...

Posted by frettz July 30, 08 09:08 PM

Very nice. Thanks for sharing them.

Posted by Gary July 30, 08 09:10 PM

Captivating...Thank you for sharing the many colors and emotions of Belarus.

Posted by Van Vo July 30, 08 09:37 PM
Posted by Walrusgoat July 30, 08 10:25 PM

Your photos are amazing ... this site is truly a treasure - thank you.

Posted by Jon July 30, 08 10:59 PM

These are amazing, with a really telling juxtaposition at the end. After a couple of truly lovely photos of candlelit Olympic athletes and artists dressed in costume, we see a farming couple who just want to keep the damn horse out of the potatoes. Wow.

And the guy in the shorts cracks me up.

You always do a great job with these posts, but this one is probably my favorite.

Posted by Mark Dodge Medlin July 30, 08 11:11 PM

You know the photographers did an impressive job when pictures of the mundane are captivating.

Posted by Don A. (BC, Canada) July 31, 08 01:05 AM

While the pictures are (mostly) amazing, I don't believe they are useful to give an international audience insight into Belarus.

The country's rich traditions show up in a few glimpses, but its troublesome present is not even touched (the fence and the police officer could - as one commenter wrote - have been in the USA just the same way). Missing are the depressing cities. The stupid soviet-style propaganda in the streets.

Posted by Marc B. July 31, 08 01:38 AM

Fantastic photos, BUT... what's the deal with all the military shots?

I grew up in a military town in Belarus, and even it did not have such a strong military presence as shown in these photos.

I think the pictures, while artistically captivating, show a very bleak perspective of Belorussian life.

For everyone out there saying things like, "We ned to democratilize dis country to maek it more like us" -- you are really ignorant, and arrogant, to boot. If only our great country (I'm a US citizen now) spent a little more money on education instead o f these overseas military campaigns, you would know what I'm talking about.

I love the US, but I hate some of the ethnocentric bastards who live here.

What I love about Belarus is the light-hearted and playful approach to religion -- the Ivan Kupala photo I believe is a bit mis-classified as neo-paganism. Ivan Kupala is no more a pagan holiday than is Halloween. It's a fun reason to dress up, drink yourself silly, and go skinny dipping.

Posted by Heart America July 31, 08 01:56 AM

Heart of Europe? You've got to be kidding me. Have you ever seen Europe (on a map at least)?

Anyway, very nice pictures. As usual, they show only the poor part of the country and war part of the country. So you might think they don't have electricity, still live traditionally and of course, there is a war. NOT..


PS/ I'm not from Belarus
PS/ Keep up the good work, great site

Posted by Dominik July 31, 08 03:40 AM

I like this wonderful country and I live there.
Òàê øòî êàëi ëàñêà ó íàøó êðàiíó! Áóäçåì ïiöü ãàðýëêó i åñüöi äðàíiêi !!!

Posted by Valery Pesetski July 31, 08 03:41 AM

These are i cant wait till i can get a passport...or my sailboat.

I really like the one where there is a border running through town.

Thank you VERY much for showing this

Tacoma, Wa. USA

Posted by damien July 31, 08 04:22 AM

dude the chick on the left in the olympic candle picture,

is ridiculously hott

Posted by Spanks July 31, 08 05:01 AM

belarus in the heart of europe? ... what else nonsense do you expect from america, that puts all the money into war instead of education ... sigh ...

Posted by peace_lover July 31, 08 05:07 AM

Americans! Stay away from this beautiful country.

Posted by Ilya July 31, 08 05:45 AM

amazing, i love photos like these, just makes everything so much more beautiful to the eye, real world sucks, someone give me lenses for eyes and im sorted

Posted by G Reid (Northern Ireland) July 31, 08 06:07 AM

Thank YOU very mach 4 this series from me - Belorussian.
All it's true.

Posted by Mixer July 31, 08 06:20 AM

òåìà ñèñåê íå ðàñêðûòà

Posted by head July 31, 08 06:43 AM

Belarus ... in the heart of Europe ?
Darn, I knew that most americans sucked in geography (esp. those in Fox News :), but here ? Well, check on a map, Belarus is probably among the most eastern countries of the european "continent" (with Ukraine and Turkey).

Again, wonderful set of pictures ; gotta love the kitty pic *smooch*.

Posted by bob July 31, 08 06:44 AM

Now for the reality.........
Belarus took 70% of the Chernobyl fallout, 20% of the country is contaminated and many people still die because of this disaster. We in England host many of the children for one month respite from their contaminated surroundings. Many of the children suffer very poor health and are developing cancer at an early age, their life expectancy is 40 to 50 years at most, one month in England will detox their system and help improve their health, giving them on average two additional years of life.
1000's of people are living off the land which is still very radio active, they grow fruit and vegetables which has absorbed the nutrients from the radio active soil. Over 50 tons of lead was dropped on the reactor and this just evaporated also contaminating the land. These photos are great but do not show the reality of life in much of Belarus, it is a hell hole for 1000's of people who do not even have running water.

Posted by Richard (England UK) July 31, 08 06:50 AM

For those with such a negative reaction to the phrase "heart of Europe", I refer you to this page, where you'll find at least eight different claimants to "the center of Europe", all depending on your definition of "Europe". The list includes a spot in Belarus.

Posted by alan taylor July 31, 08 06:57 AM

Belarus is a geographical center of Europe. Don't believe? - just check out: this link

Posted by Alex July 31, 08 07:24 AM

My mother was born in MInsk. She's coming to see me and I'll show her these pictures.

Posted by Clarice (Cuiabá, Mato Grosso - Brasil) July 31, 08 07:47 AM

Ó íàñ êëàññíî!!!)) Ðåáÿò, íèêòî íå õî÷åò ìàõíóòüñÿ ìåñòîæèòåëüñòâîì: ß â ÑØÀ, êòî-íèòü èç âàñ â Áåëàðóñü. Ììì?!)) Ñ âàøåé äîïëàòîé åñòåñòåííî)) understand?)))

Posted by belarus-man July 31, 08 08:01 AM

@alan taylor 66 : your blog is great. It allows a lot of people to discover parts of the world through amazing pictures. It's just a small detail, but I think it could gain in quality by introducing countries a bit more accurately ; saying that Belarus is in the heart of Europe (even if a bunch of russian scientits say it is) can be quite misleading, particularly for those who lack geographical knowledge. I do agree that it depends on the way you conceive Europe, but quite frankly, ask a 10 years old to point the center on a european map (not mentioning Russia here), he would most likely aim for Austria or anywhere in this area.

Posted by bob July 31, 08 08:16 AM

Is that a "Somerfield" (the UK supermarket chain) bag the guy who is greeting the troops is swinging about ?

Posted by Andy July 31, 08 08:34 AM

USA-> (_o_)

Posted by JimMy July 31, 08 08:57 AM

Daesn't matter where is the center of Europe nobody care here (in europe).

Beautiful pictures, they look like still living in a soviet union style.

Posted by michael July 31, 08 09:04 AM

Great photos. Memories...
I was running through these barriers, smokes and fires 10 years ago.

Thanks a lot.

Posted by sergeant July 31, 08 09:09 AM

Áàòüêà ìîëîäåö!!!

Posted by Anonymous July 31, 08 09:12 AM

I used to train in that sport school when I was a child. (photo #3)

×åòâåðòàÿ ôîòêà êðóòàÿ :-)

Posted by Me July 31, 08 09:34 AM

...the question is...can we show the life of the country in just 12 pictures? If so, I could show you a different life. And even after that there will be so much missing...

what I am most admiring is the young generation trying for a better life in such conditions. And amazingly some of them do get what they deserve. Sometimes they have to go (if lucky) and leave their friends and family... As so many different countries....only more confident and with greater expectations.
This country is amazing.

Posted by I.M. July 31, 08 09:45 AM

Great, great quality of photos.

Posted by Marco S. July 31, 08 09:45 AM

Vita Belorussia!

Posted by Mihas July 31, 08 10:22 AM

How can a country have such beautiful women and such ugly men? ; )

Posted by Tobester July 31, 08 10:47 AM

I love these pictures. I was born in Minsk, Belarus

Posted by Anonymous July 31, 08 11:07 AM

Picture 11; what was the test? Whether the soldier was flammable?

Posted by RP July 31, 08 11:56 AM

I been to Belorussia, this is all BS. People live a free life up there and this American propaganda is just very dirty, i would never expect this from US, but i guess i was wrong.

Posted by RuslanK July 31, 08 12:38 PM

What a miserable propaganda... only soldiers and peasants... where are city downtowns with beautiful buildings, and everyday people with their modern clothes and cars etc?

Posted by Goran from Serbia July 31, 08 04:23 PM

Quit complaining about the photos.

If you don't like them, go elsewhere. Start a blog about how you hate the photos here.


Posted by Hax Or July 31, 08 05:14 PM

Beautiful pictures, interesting stuff.
To #31 I'd just like to propose a test, to see which country is more democratic try this. If you live in the US you're free to leave at any time, if you live in Belarus or know someone who lives there see how easy it is to leave. Get back when you have a conclusion.

Posted by bytes July 31, 08 07:03 PM

I'm from Belarus. These photos are true, but they were made as a set intentionally - to show parade, military training, religion holiday and piece of regular life - that is an artistic rule - combine uncombinable. Of course there are not that much Porsches and Ferraris (actually may be two or three of them) on a streets of Minsk, but people live the same life as here, in LA - going 9-6 work, making parties on saturday nights, growing kids, shopping and all regular life. The best part of it - people have nothing in common with abroad politic of the goverment - they just don't give a s***. So you can judge politicians (they are actually sucks), but regular people - they are the same as you, not better not worse.

Posted by Dennis D. July 31, 08 07:42 PM

amazing content ..... stunning pictures of course. so glad i came upon it

Posted by Terry Free July 31, 08 10:48 PM

I miss my home.
Wanna come back.

These pictures can't show all sides of Belarus, but on other hands they do great job with popularization, cause all around the world people just don't know this name. Belarus.

Posted by Astar July 31, 08 11:48 PM

Ñïàñèáî, ïîäðî÷èë.

Posted by Boolber August 1, 08 01:37 AM

HEY PHOTOGRAPHER!!! WHERE ARE BELORUSSIANS on the Pictures? Why militarists? This is not true.

2 those who wrote

"What is wrong with these "democracies"? I'm sick and tired of these countries pretending to be democratic. You would think these people have learned communism doesn't work and be happy with a democratic process."
"You do realize that Belarus is a military dictatorship - the only one left in Europe - right? Pictures of poverty and extreme militarism, beautiful?"

!!!You don't even know anything about the country. The word COMMUNISM - is the only you were taught by your "democratic" Media.

PS Look at the map. There are some other countries except US

Posted by Rita from Belarus (Grodno)-))) August 1, 08 04:19 AM

Bugaga... really funny pics! It seems like Belarus goin' to to enslave and occupy the whole world. Civilized europeans, be afraid of us!!! False & nonsense! Belarus is not a military dictatorship country? it just trying to protect its internal politics and people from z permanent verbal attacks and threats of US and other "democratic" countries. Protects own interests like Iraq & Afgan. were not able to do.

Posted by Stas August 1, 08 08:31 AM

What a dramatic collection...!!!

Glad to have come by here...!

Posted by Vinod August 1, 08 09:22 AM

What absurd xenophobia runs rampant in these comments. The risk, I suppose, of presenting yourself to the general public.

As a defense of a blog I enjoy reading a great deal, all of you who say this is an unfair or biased representation of the place, keep in mind that the guy who runs this blog doesn't TAKE any photos. He FINDS them on the internet. And on top of that, this blog is not an effort to show all sides of any one story, it's meant to give insight into the "Big Picture," something that the American media at large has forgotten. So, everyone needs to stop being so hateful and prideful and say "oh, what pretty pictures of a country I've never seen or thought about before. That makes me want to learn more about it." Or even if not, at least you saw and learned something. If you're from Belarus, and you're pissed that somehow 19 photographs didn't capture the country (shock), why don't you take it upon yourself to do a better job, instead of attacking "America." This blog is run by one person. Be realistic, please, if nothing else.

Posted by Sam August 1, 08 11:01 AM

Hey, where are the normal faces?

Military guys and rednecks only.... That's not the country I lived in.

Posted by Woloh August 1, 08 11:25 AM

Bravo Sam! Never understimate the "Booo America!" crowd - they always find an angle. Although, I notice the "Heart of Europe" police quickly shut up - LOL!

Keep it up Alan - remember you can't please all the people all the time. Uh-oh, Lincoln philosophy on a Belarus blog entry - more American arrogance I suppose...

Posted by Zippy August 1, 08 12:49 PM

I love the 8th photo, the one of the women conversing through the border fence under the watchful gaze of the guard. Not knowing anything about the country, I'm not sure if there really is this strong of a military presence in Belarus or if that's just the aspect of their society that was focused on.

Political mini-rant (feel free to ignore): Considering the ease with which Bush and McCain are able to point out 'brutal dictators' and despotic regimes, you would think they would have an even greater love and respect for our Constitution and the Rule of Law.

...Just a suggestion, how about numbering the photos to make them easier to reference? That would help make the best photoblog on the Internets even better. :)

Posted by kevjohn August 1, 08 12:56 PM

Áåëàðóñü ó Å¢ðîïó, Ëóêàøýíêó ¢ æîïó!!!
good photos, but they actually don't illustrate the Daily life in Belarus.
If you really want get to know about Belarus, visit our local media, or just livejournal.

Posted by Boolbman August 1, 08 07:28 PM

Belarus is NOT in the heart of the Europe.
Is it so difficult to open an atlas and have a look?

Posted by pulsinger August 2, 08 03:15 AM

à ãäå æå ïüÿíîå áûäëî?

Posted by untiteled August 2, 08 06:02 AM

Its wonderful. The images are awesome, so does the concept
Travel Planner

Posted by Travel Planner August 2, 08 07:47 AM

"What a miserable propaganda... only soldiers and peasants... where are city downtowns with beautiful buildings, and everyday people with their modern clothes and cars etc?"

Posted by Goran from Serbia July 31, 08 04:23 PM

The modern people?
The people who have adopted the 'western' style of life, the American Way of life? Oh, you don't need to show them.
Every child knows that they are everywhere, literally, everywhere on the planet.

This is called cultural distribution and dominance, you know? Americas most successful effort of spreading their ideas so far.. Just happening in China again, big time.

"Belarus is NOT in the heart of the Europe.
Is it so difficult to open an atlas and have a look?"
Posted by pulsinger August 2, 08 03:15 AM

Maybe YOU should open one and have a look...

Posted by Summer of Sam August 2, 08 12:21 PM

Good photos :)
Too much army men, but such is our reality.

Posted by Belarusan programmer August 2, 08 03:50 PM

thanx, the quality of works is evident.
Not every side of our life is shown? but was it the aim? I think, it wasn't.
For me, the citizen of Minsk, the last photo is rather exotic, but on the other hand, it's an everyday life in dying villages in Belarus.
But photos are brilliant!

We don't want to develop this stupid army, we don't want to built the new nuclear power station, we want to learn OUR language and history at schools and universities!

Long live the Independent Republic of Belarus! )))

Long live the Independent Republic of Belarus! )))

Long live the Independent Republic of Belarus! )))

Posted by Alexandra from Minsk August 2, 08 06:36 PM

è î÷åíü ñî âêóñîì .

Posted by Roman August 3, 08 06:11 AM

beautifull but a lot of military presence....

Posted by fravapa August 3, 08 06:28 AM

@ RuslanK

If Belarus is so free, what happens when someone goes out on the street waving a white-red-white flag?

@ Alexandra from Minsk

God Bless You!!!

Posted by DPB August 3, 08 02:22 PM

I am from Belarus. Love the country, hate the so called president. these photos don't reflect the real life. this set is about holidays. and yes, there are a lot of police forces on the streets, especially at Minsk. Lukashenko (president) is dependent upon those police force, and they are grateful to him, because in comparison to the other population they are well paid by the government. Real life is somewhat boring and hopeless, the last pictures has it. these is real life in belarusian villages.lots of social ads on the streets which resembles soviet propaganda that reads about Belarus being the best country in the world.
anyway, love Belarus. and love its women! love the belarusian people!
and one more time, Belarus is the geographical center of the Europe!
the photos are awesome!!!

Posted by mi August 3, 08 02:49 PM

If I had to guess (using Google Earth) where the 'fence' picture (old woman talking to her relatives across the border) I would say it's most likely

54 14' 14.46" N, 25 46' 58.98" E

Looks like a graveyard with a fence bounding it on the north.

Posted by Thom August 3, 08 05:44 PM

Dear Americans,
Visit our country in the heart of "Eastern" Europe-))
Belorussians are very peacefull people and don't even interested in politics as well.
Let's be friends

PS As a journalist i would like to say: Don't read newspapers (meadia) - they are evil


Posted by rita August 4, 08 03:22 AM

I love your topics, you really know how to fire up emotions...

#7, thanks for your comment. Everyone, read it please, and think...

Posted by attila August 4, 08 05:18 AM

Nice fotos of holidays and parades in Belarus. But the real life is quiet the same like in many others countries. The difference is that our people are very quiet and kindhearted.That's why we had no revolutions after breakdown of the USSR. It's a pity, but most of people in USofA and Western Europe think about us as they thought 18 years ago. And their kids too.We have changed a lot. If you think we are military country come and see. I don't like our president, but i hate our opposition.

Posted by Ivan August 4, 08 09:47 AM

ôàéíûÿ ôîòê³

Posted by Äýðâ³ø August 4, 08 03:08 PM

Very pleased to see here photo from Budslav, 'cause Budslau's Mother of God is a careful Mother of all our country and Budslau is a blessed place, where people noticed many miracles.

God bless Belarus!
God bless America!
God bless every man in the world!!! Amen.

Posted by Richard from Miensk August 4, 08 04:49 PM


ßíêè ïèçäóéòå äîìîé!

Posted by Âàñÿ August 5, 08 11:23 AM

Belarus is the armpit of the world. I read people's comments on how beautiful this place is....and how they would like to visit. Hogwash. I have visited there....on my way to St. Petersberg, Russia -- by train. However, the woman (in Warsaw) who sold us the ticket....failed to mention that we also needed to purchase a Belarussian rail pass. The "nice and beautiful" men with guns shoved AK's to our back and marched us to a little room for 8 hours ---- and every hour they would say in a thick accent, "Next train. One Hour." This happened 8 times until we once again had guns to our backs and were escorted, AT GUNPOINT back into Poland.

This place should be wiped off the face of the earth. Never go there. Ever. The people are oppressed, beaten and subjugated. Its terrible. Thank god, everyday, that you dont live in Minsk and that you HAVE a computer to look at "these beautiful pictures."

Posted by Markus Rowe August 5, 08 05:51 PM

@ Marcus Rowe.
dude, I fill sorry about your situation, and really embraced by our authorities! apologies!
but " This place should be wiped off the face of the earth" are you fricking douchebag? you showed your real arrogant face! if you had this attitude on the border I understand officials! blame plz polish cashier!!!
what would american border guards do to a foreigner without proper paperwork?

Posted by mi August 5, 08 10:22 PM

@ Marcus Rowe.
dude, I fill sorry about your situation, and really embraced by our authorities! apologies!
but " This place should be wiped off the face of the earth" are you fricking douchebag? you showed your real arrogant face! if you had this attitude on the border I understand officials! blame plz polish cashier!!!
what would american border guards do to a foreigner without proper paperwork?

Posted by mi August 5, 08 11:57 PM


Posted by Anonymous August 6, 08 04:46 AM

Beautiful and interesting photos, as always. This is kind of irrelevant, but, anyone know what kind of cat that is?

Posted by Sarah August 6, 08 03:07 PM

hahaha, thats funny that they held an american tourist who didn't have visa to go to the country... but so would happen to belarussian trying to go to Canada through America without american visa..... you really made me laugh....

Posted by Kathy Zimerman August 6, 08 05:43 PM

Post's name is Daily Life in Belarus dosn't reflect everythingm only some sides chosen by the post's author. It is the same everywhere: there is no democratic country in the world. It doesn't exist. US or France or Belarus or India or... everywhere it is the same, only under different forms and manifestations. I'm Belorussian. Freedom is the same illusion as communism.
I don't like our President at all. But I don't like those of other contries! The best part of the world is the open, generous, intelligent, shining people from all countries. Unfortunately because of governments there are different percents of "best people" in every country.
I'm happy and proud to be Belorussian!

For foregners who discover Belarus: there is no war, 100% literacy, electricity - everywhere, free medecin, a lot of fresh water. But there are government's politics to make belorussian people alcoholic, blind and fool.

Long live to belorussian people. I love you and cry for you.

Posted by Lana August 7, 08 05:44 AM

ì-äà, êàêàÿ-òî ëåâàÿ âûáîðêà, âñ¸ íàìíîãî ïðîçàè÷íåå, ïðèåçæàéòå è ñàìè ïîñìîòðèòå!!! õåõ.

Posted by Anonymous August 7, 08 07:17 AM

Those who say the life in Belarus is normal... have you ever been there? I mean Americans, not Russians. Do you know how many homeless and alcoholics Belarus has got for the last 14 years? The nation is dying out, there are nearly NO healthy children born in the country, more and more people die of cancer. And NOTHING is being done to stop it. They only lie, lie, lie, lie... everywhere - TV, radio, newspapers. And those damn parades and festivals the only consequence (and purpose) of which is crowds of drunk people who swear and pee and vomit.... Sounds nice? Wanna visit Belarus? You're... NOT welcome, because this state is not planned to receive foreigners. Nobody speaks English, nobody smiles. Belarus is NOT a free country. It's a decaying country. Thank Lukashenka for that.

Posted by Nenna August 7, 08 08:15 AM

Nenna, you're being too pessimistic, it's not so awful in Belarus, as you say. And I can bet a dollar that there a much more homeless in US then in Belarus.
What about photos-everything is alerady said-we are not so militarized, and this sight on Belarus isn't as wide as it could be.

Long Live Belarus!!

Posted by Vivendi August 7, 08 02:31 PM

Nenna made me smile. ))). we are not dying. People are dying of cancer because of Chernobyl. Children study English or other western european language in every school. Besides governmental TV we have sattelite broadcasting .Yes, the life is not easy. But ,anyway , don't help us like US helped Afghanistan,Iraq. Today Georgia began the war against Osetia ,the opening day of Olympic Games. And the whole western community agrees- that's good , that's right. This is called democracy. Do you think we need such democracy?

Posted by Ivan August 8, 08 05:30 AM

These photos are beautiful and captivating. I visited Belarus a month before the change in power within the country, and have not returned or heard much about Belarus since. There is so much captivating about this region and its people that I someday hope I have a chance to return. Thank you for bringing up old memories and reinciting a desire to travel more and experience more. This country and its people are in my prayers.

Posted by Heather Rigney August 8, 08 10:41 PM

The 8-ht picture shows paradoxal situation how politics can divide people. The only road from that village (from Lithuanian side) many years was thru Belarussian theritory, only a few years ago they can go to shop not to another country. every time when you want to go somewhere you must pass the border control. All the history of Lithuania and Belorussia was as they were one country - Lithuania. Less than one age ago they were divided into 2 countries and now how much differencies we can find there... But the relationship between people (not politics) are still very warm.

Posted by August 13, 08 07:38 AM

Markus Rowe, you say "The people are oppressed, beaten and subjugated." well sweetie, how do you know? They wouldn't let you in because you didn't have the intellignece to say "hmm, I wonder if I need a visa to go to an independent sovereign country wihtha reputation for frosty relations with the west". Shame, you might have enjoyed yourself... there's more than one McDonalds to keep your brain fed. It seems "mi" is right, and you really are a "fricking douchebag". Oh, thanks for precising that you wre eon your way to St Petersburg, Russia by train from Poland. As opposed to St Petersburg Florida. That might have weally weally confused us poor, oppwessed Euwopeans. Stay in America, and keep your foreign policy there too. We have seen this week how impotent you really are, you can't even help a sympathetic state like Gerogia, let alone bring peace to Iraq.

Posted by Joe Lowry August 19, 08 05:47 PM

can you move your military photos in different set ?
because those photos have different thematic
military force in belarus less then police .....

Posted by alex August 19, 08 06:00 PM

Interesting, because a lot of often "hidden" things (it is not easy to make fotos of police officers and border territories in Belarus). And generally interesting and fine. But there is a lack of fotos, for example, from celebrating of March, 25...

Posted by Scriptor August 19, 08 08:03 PM

Third Pic down is either "Kolca Slavi" or "Olimpiskiy Reservi" - both gymnastics training fascilities. Most of you think the photographer was trying to tell you a story of some sort - "what life is life in Belarus" - however I think photos are just photos and we should just enjoy the art picture taking by these talanted photographers. Belarus is my home country and I miss it very much. Thank you for wonderful work of art, a truly faschinating photo collection.
where can I find more?

Posted by Vitiaz88 August 26, 08 10:18 AM

Thank you for these photos - not often do I see some coverage of my motherland, let alone such beautiful pictures.
I was born in Minsk but moved to New York 5 years ago at age 18. Not that I was miserable in Belarus - actually my living conditions were probably better then here in NY, but I definitely felt a bit claustrafobic there - the everyday life is quite bleak - most people are rather close-minded and concerned only with the mundane - you can understand them because poverty has always been a norm of life for many. There is still a number of very bright young people (and the most beautiful girls yes:), but they increasingly look for realization elsewhere. Unless you are a child of wealthy/connected parents you are not going to get far.Also people are unfortunately very apathetic of politics - everybody knows that Lukashenko is a mad dictator whose each new law or decree is more ridiculous then the previous one, but very few want to put their life on the line to protest or do at least something about it - understandable again, because large police and army forces are there mostly to protect the regime from the people and repercussions of dissent can be very severe - you can be expelled from university, fired from job or even jailed. Several oppositional journalists and politicians have vanished with no trace and its not hard to guess who's behind it...
Belarusian language is still taught in school but in reality is dying along with the whole independent culture - few use it in everyday life as a result of Russian and Soviet policies for the past few centuries.
Then there is Chernobyl and its impact on people's health...
Well, at least one thing Belarusian people know how to do is how to endure and adjust to whatever hardships government and life throws at them, although many try to escape the reality by drinking themselves to death.
Oh, did I paint it darker then I was going to? Don't get me wrong - there are many people who live there happily ...ever after ...their expected lifespan of around 50 years - they just learned not to see and not to worry about all those issues.
Nevertheless I miss my country, I dream of it and I hope to come back one day (to visit).

Posted by Andrey R. August 29, 08 10:59 AM

Thank you for these really fantastic pictures!! i was born in Belarus and still live there. It's strange that there are so many solgers on the photos - i don't think we even have so many in Belarus=))) it's a peaty that there are too little photos reflecting our old traditions and just our way of life....i want to say thnka you one more time - i have neer thought my country is so beautiful=))

Posted by irka September 9, 08 03:14 PM

To 99: Thanks Andey, you have described the situation here very precisely. I love this strange country in this weird world. "Je Reste"(c) =)

Posted by Yourassique September 22, 08 11:00 AM

Beautiful Belarus!!

Posted by w September 23, 08 08:40 AM

The geographical center of Europe is between Poland, Lithuania and Belarus, in depends on which method is used to calculate it, just read before talking:
While in many "democratic" countries it is not so perfect, democracy in Belarus doesn't exist, people afraid even to talk about politic. For some aspects it is not so bad: for example it is a very safe, quite and clean country.
Very few people in Belarus knows English, there are many beautiful girls, many of them hunting money. I was there twice, and i have friends there, so it's my opinion.
These photos are beautiful...

Posted by Luca November 12, 08 04:12 PM

Beautiful pictures. I have visited Belarus twice and experienced its wonderful culture,. You have captured some very interesting moments,,but i feel the most important thing people need to know about is the effects the explosion of the nuclear power station in the Ukraine had on its population.The Chernobyl disaster had an enormous impact on Belarus, a small country in Eastern Europe with a population of 10.4 million. 70 percent of the total radioactive fallout from the accident descended on nearly one-fourth of the country. The fallout affected more than 2.2 million people, including 500,000 children. Immediately after the accident, UN system organizations sought ways to provide emergency assistance to those exposed to massive amounts of radiation. Also, the UN system remained actively involved in dealing with the long-term effects of the disaster in Belarus. However, despite the assistance the international community has provided, the region still suffers from the consequences of Chernobyl today. I am part of the Chernobyl Children Lifeline charity in England which brings children out of the contaminated regions of Belarus for one month. The reason for this is to give their bodies a break from radiation. Many of the children who come to the UK may appear normal and healthy, but they are all subjected to the effects of radiation, and that is increasingly obvious by the numbers of children born with deformities, or suffering from cancers and other radiation related illnesses. Their plight is often worsened by lack of medical facilities, contaminated food, shortage of medicines, lack of nutrition, poor and over crowded living circumstances... What is certain, is that the parents and guardians of these children are desperate to send their children abroad for this once in a lifetime opportunity to come to the UK for a months respite care where they can benefit from good, uncontaminated food, clean water, fresh air, and a chance for respite from all these concerns and difficulties.
Doctors and scientists are now also discovering that many of the children are not only battling thyroid cancer and leukaemia as a result of the Chernobyl disaster, but are now finding that they are ingesting so much contamination there is a steep rise in reported cases of intestinal cancers and heart defects. Post mortem examinations on children are revealing that their organs resemble those of 70-year old people rather than young children.
You are a fantastic photographer it would be nice if you could capture some images of the normal everyday life of the villagers and the plight of the children in the cancer hospitals. Thankyou for sharing your images

Posted by Sarah November 15, 08 06:09 PM

i like the pic.s

Posted by Anonymous March 13, 09 08:25 AM

Great photos!
Marcus Rowe is an ass. I had an experience similar to his when I visted Belarus for the first time. In fact, everytime I've been to Belarus (3 times) it has been interesting trying to leave. That said, having a negative or frightening experience while traveling is no excuse to damn a country.

Belarus is a dictatorship. The country has many problems, but there are also many very nice people and beautiful things to see. Belarus is much safer than many other parts of the world, but like many non western countries is is not a good place to make a stink about your rights or the way you do things at home.

To all the fools who bash America, think for a minute where you would be without American intervention. There is only one reason that all of Europe doesn't speak either Russian or German, that is America. Its true many of my countrymen are are less than ideal representatives, but one a whole America's contributions to the world have been much greater than any of its misteps.

FYI- If you plan to visit Belarus make sure you have a relatively new passport and get your Belarussian visa before you go.

I've visited Belarus

Posted by John March 16, 09 03:41 AM

"Heaven" on earth.i love world`s only "peaceful and calm country".God bless them.

Posted by Zafarad April 15, 09 11:48 AM

@ 42 > lol *thumbs-up*

Posted by rex April 15, 09 07:55 PM

You've captured nice scenes... Thank you for sharing.. As a Belarusian girl I don't see my country the way you do, but I enjoyed your work a lot.
P.S. And .. you are a great photographer!

Posted by tatianaby April 21, 09 10:13 AM

Coming back to the question if Belarus is in the heart of Europe.. OUF COURSE IT IS!!!! I mainly address to the people above who don't know the difference between Europe as a continent and Europe as a political entity. You made me smile:) Seriously:)
Quotation from encyclopedia --
Europe (pronounced /ˈjɜrəp/, /ˈjʊərəp/) is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally divided from Asia to its east by the water divide of the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian Sea, and by the Caucasus Mountains to the outheast. Do you know where the Ural Mountains are? Please, check the map:)

Posted by tatianaby April 24, 09 11:20 AM


Posted by adriana April 24, 09 01:16 PM

As a reply to the comment #124,
An advice to everybody: wherever you live, whatever language you speak, learn to smile and speak English asap, for some day an American might come to visit ;-)

Posted by Fulbert August 12, 09 05:53 PM

I loved these pictures - My husband and I are planning a trip to Minsk and Gomel next year (ancestor type thing). We have seen many pictures of the more modern buildings already and wanted to see some of the people. Everyone likes different things and everyone takes pictures of things they found interesting to them. I think all this talk about what is "real" is terrible. This is one person's snapshot of what he liked. I'm sure our pictures will be different, too. The photography with this pictures is fantastic!

Posted by Lynne, US August 22, 09 04:15 PM

realy amazing pics , very attracting and natuarly

Posted by jaseem August 30, 09 12:11 AM



Posted by OLGA September 15, 09 01:16 PM

To Markus Rowe: you pretend to be an expert on a country that you admitted refused you entry. Do not pretend to be an expert on a place you've never visited. Grow up and stop your fellow embarrassing Americans with your childish comments. Next time, get your paperwork together before you try visiting a country that requires a visa. You screwed up and you want to blame Belarus for your ineptitude. I suppose you expect the entire world to bow down to you because you are an American tourist. Ugh.

Posted by Andrew September 26, 09 05:46 PM

Beautiful Belarus women!

Posted by Gurpreet Sohal November 4, 09 04:45 AM

hey, looked at the pics, i really think they're awesome, though im getting mixed messages from other people who comment. I live in Canada, and I am doing a (high school) social project on Belarus ie, economy, lifestyle, military etc.
Just wondering if there are any specifics about Belarus that might be handy for my project.

Love the pics and comments and this blog!!
ps. Canada says hi!!

Posted by Gwen December 5, 09 06:56 PM

Gwen #152,

I ran across this article after Googling the photographer. You may want to do the same for your project. The comments also give a good idea of some of the current issues. However, you may want to put things into perspective by looking at the history. This is a key geographic area and has been an important crossroad for thousands of years. Two huge factors altered the country and the scars and bruises are still there. The first was Stalin's killing and repression of intellectuals, leaders, generals, etc. anyone who could weaken his authority before WWII. Hitler moved in soon after and destroyed most of the physical city. Now all the buildings are modern, rebuilt by the Soviets, and they have a clean efficient subway in Minsk. There are many political challenges, you can research what happened after the elections, the U.S. embassy's closure, and the disputes/alliance with Russia. One fact that I thought was amazing, is that they used to use Latin characters for the Belarusian language. They were forced to change to use Cyrillic after the Russian Revolution by using phonetic representations. You can imagine how the adults and children could have struggled when all of a sudden they not only had to learn a new language (Russian), but that all the official business, sign, etc... in their original language needed to be written using Cyrillic instead of Latin letters. Good luck with your paper.

Posted by Sobaka December 11, 09 11:41 AM

Interesting pictures. What was the point of the military exercise pics? Looked like creepy propaganda.

I was really interested in Belarus because I have friends from all over Eastern Europe (living here in Chicago) but NONE from Belarus... and no one's even mentioned Belarus. Looks like a very interesting blend of ethnicites. Some people look Turkish. Others almost look Scandanavian. Good stuff.

Posted by Kathleen December 13, 09 10:12 AM

Someone did not agree with Belarus located at the heart of Europe. Well, that is heart of geographical Europe. Ural mountains being the easternmost margin of Europe it is exactly at the center of geographical Europe.

Posted by Parisa December 19, 09 11:31 AM

Its really a nice country.. Nice and beautiful peoples and their traditions. Soon i am coming to study in Minsk... Belarussian National Technical University Minsk. JUST WAIT FOR ME MINSK i am coming to you...

Mobile: 00971509241284

Posted by IMRAN SHAHID BALOCH February 8, 10 01:40 PM

Belarus doesn't look that bad..

Posted by ion July 27, 10 12:29 PM

Hi all,

just to clarify that the number of children who get chance to go abroad is shot listed, they also include quite healthy and wealthy children whose parents can afford to buy tickets and take their children and they do it! I do not deny that they might need help too.

there are so many who are really sick … their parents might try to push the investigation but... i do not think it would help.

Now I live in Minsk, I used to live in a few kilometres away off forbidden area… I am not a child any more I REMEMBER Chernobyl disaster, I remember horrible 90ties, and I remember that my sister was very sick and we hoped that she would get any treatment like Chernobyl Children Life Line. But she wasn’t and to be honest, I personally knew some of those children who were … and compared to my sister they were healthy - BUT the difference was that they were from very wealthy (important) families or they were somehow related to the people who chose children on this programme.
Now she is an adult, never was taken for any treatment abroad - she still has problems with her health and doctors do not know the answers.

Medicine is a family run business!


To succeed in Belarus in your career it is not enough to be cleaver and bright. Relationships - that is an answer! Money also does magic!

Your management team can tell you to learn to SUCK if you want to keep your place at work.

Unfortunately for us, People put in a position to be concentrating on SURVIVAL instead of living. They do not care now about politics - we are care to cope with day to day survival.

Did you know that people take loans to meet their friend from abroad? Aren’t we good!

That is the reality of life in Belarus.

Life is tough in here.

Haven’t you known that guys!

Posted by Anonymous August 6, 10 05:41 PM

If McCain got to be president, we'll probably already have a Belarus War.

Posted by Ted August 7, 10 02:06 AM

Photo "A Belorussian police officer stops photographers from taking pictures". This picture started an interesting topic about a bomb explosion that happened in Belarus before the last election date.

Not many people on the West know that the entire management team of one wholesale company (11 people in total) came to jail for one year just because the company had a misfortune to sell the same fruit juice, package from which terrorists used in order to prepare the explosion. Government was unable to find terrorists and they channeled anger on innocent people who had nothing to do with the event. To be concrete name of the company is Vladprodimport and it was first investigated for terrorism but than with luck of evidence it was reclassified to some economical crime (quite common way to harass the business in Belarus).

It is how business is run in Belarus. If authorities are after you, for whatever reason, no justice exists. If they are not then life is great and business goes just perfect.

Also like to say that downtown of Minsk capital of Belarus looks the way nicer than a downtown of typical US city like Philadelphia for example. Minsk is a very nice city and is worth couple of pictures to be published.

Posted by Stan September 6, 10 02:58 PM

I like Belarus Minsk its very very beautiful and i wish come to seen this
Country and visit the Cities,

Posted by Imran Robert November 6, 10 06:24 PM

Serbian people supports Lukashenko! We don't want another ''democratic promotion'' as in Serbia.

Posted by Milan April 8, 11 08:00 AM

God bless this Holy Land and its painstaking people.

Posted by Dmitry Sokolov April 25, 11 06:56 AM
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