Belarusians (Belarusian: , romanized: bie?arusy, Russian: , romanized: byelorusy), also known formerly as Byelorussians (from the Byelorussian SSR), are an East Slavicethnic group who are native to modern-day Belarus and the immediate region. There are over 9.5 million people who proclaim Belarusian ethnicity worldwide, with the majority residing either in Belarus or the adjacent countries where they are an autochthonous minority.
The major discrepancy between Karsky and Dovnar-Zapolsky is due to Karsky's identification of transitional Ukrainian-Belarusian dialects
Some Belarusians in Rudna in 1960
Belarusians are an East Slavicethnic group, who constitute the majority of the Belarus population. Belarusian minority populations live in countries neighboring Belarus: Ukraine, Poland (especially in the Podlaskie Voivodeship), the Russian Federation and Lithuania. At the beginning of the 20th century, Belarusians constituted a minority in the regions around the city of Smolensk in Russia.
Significant numbers of Belarusians emigrated to the United States, Brazil and Canada in the early 20th century. During Soviet times (1917-1991), many Belarusians were deported or migrated to various regions of the USSR, including Siberia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.
Since the 1991 breakup of the USSR, several hundred thousands of Belarusians have emigrated to the Baltic states, the United States, Canada, Russia, and EU countries.
The two official languages in Belarus are Belarusian and Russian. Russian is the most spoken language, principally by 72% of the population, while Belarusian is only used by 11.9% in daily life. According to a study, in varying degrees, a majority of residents speak the Belarusian language: 29.4% are fluent, being able to read and write, 52.5% can speak and read the language, 8.3% can understand it but cannot speak or read it, while 7% are able to understand the some parts of Belarusian language that are similar to Russian. Belarusian is a language of the East Slavic group.
The name Belarus can be literally translated as White Ruthenia, which is a historical region on the east of the modern Republic of Belarus, known in Latin as Ruthenia Alba (English: White Rus). That name has been in use in western Europe for some time, along with White Ruthenes, White Russians (though not to be confused with the political group of White Russians that opposed the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War) and similar forms. Belarusians trace their name back to the people of Rus'.
The term Belarusians was promoted mostly during the 19th century by the Russian Empire. For instance, this can be traced by editions of folklorist Ivan Sakharov, where in the edition of 1836, Belarusian customs are described as Litvin, while in the edition of 1886, the words (Lithuania) and ?- (Lithuanian-Russians / Ruthenians) are replaced by respectively ? (Byelorussia) and (Byelorussians).
Baltic populations in the 12th century
Many scholars believe that the ancestors of the modern Belarusians settled in the region of what is now Belarus between the sixth and eighth centuries; three early Slavic tribes that settled there were the Dregovich, Krivichi, and Radimich.
Between 1791 and 1917 much of Belarus, with its Christian and Jewish populations, was acquired by the Russian Empire in a series of military conquests and diplomatic maneuvers, and was part of the region of allowed permanent residency of the Jews known as the Pale of Settlement.