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Flag of Belarus
Belarus
Adopted June 7, 1995 [1]
Designed by Belarusian government, based on design by M.I. Gusyew
Proportions 1:2 [2]

The flag of Belarus is a horizontal bicolour of red and green, with the green stripe on the bottom one-half the thickness of the red stripe on top. On the hoist of the flag is a vertical red and white representation of the Belarusian national ornamentation. [3]

The current flag is based on the flag of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic of 1951 (with the hammer and sickle removed).

SymbolismEdit

OrnamentationEdit

The national ornamentation was added in 1951 when new pattern of the Soviet flags was introduced [4], it is based on a common pattern on rushnik rugs in Belarus. Its original author was a peasant Ms. Matrona Markyevich from the village Kastsilishcha

The elements of the ornamentation have symbolism as follows:

  • the central rhombic figure symbolises the rising Sun;
  • the horn-like figures to the left and right of it symbolise wealth and welfare;
  • the figure inside of the rhombus there is the "key to happiness";
  • the rectangular figure with the smaller rectangles adjoining from the left and right is the "votive sign", expressing the desire for fulfilling of the hopes;
  • the pattern figure symbolises bread (that was absent from the original embroidery, added after some discussion).

Allegedly the rhombic ornamentation reflects the pattern on a section of a mammoth tusk.[5]

ColoursEdit

coloursymbolism
Red and GreenThe color of the former Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.
WhiteTraditional Byelorussian colors.

[6]

HistoryEdit

The first Belarusian flag was a white-red-white triband, which was adopted by the Belarusian People's Republic (March to December 1918). Its colours were based on those of the Republic's coat of arms Pahonia, which had a white horseman on a red background. The white colour also alludes to the name of the country (Belarus, "White Russia"). Allegedly a similar flag was already in use in the 15th century.

The Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic was formed in 1919 and lasted till 1991. In 1922 it became one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union. In 1919-1951 its flag was a red banner with the golden inscriptions CCРБ (SSRB, Soviet Socialist Republic of Belarus) or БССР (BSSR, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic) in canton.

In 1941-1944 the country was occupied by Nazi Germany, and the occupational administration allowed to use the white-red-white flag of 1918. It appeared on arm patches of Belarusian volunteers in the German Army and Waffen SS.

In 1951 the republic adopted a new flag (similar to the current one) according to the new pattern of the flags of the Soviet republics. It was the only flag of a Soviet republic with a kind of national motifs in it (the ornamentation).

The republic proclaimed its independence in 1991, and the white-red-white flag was re-adopted. It was controversial due to being used by the pro-Nazi collaborationist government. Currently it is officially prohibited, but it is still used by opposition groups.

The current flag (resembling the 1951 version) was adopted in a national referendum on May 14, 1995.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Belarus Flag at Maps of World.com
  2. Belarus at Flags of the World
  3. Flag of Belarus at The World Factbook
  4. Belarus, flag of at the Britannica Online Encyclopædia
  5. "On the official flag of Belarus a mammoth tusk is pictured" on Rupor.info
  6. Belarus Flag at WorldFlags101.com
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