1939-1945 since 1991

Belarus 1945-1991

After World War II, Belarus was granted a seat in the UNITED NATIONS. However, the BSSR enjoyed political autonomy within the USSR only by name. The cultural policy of RUSSIFICATION continued; the settlement of ethnic Russians in Belarus was promoted.
Belarus shared the fate of other parts of the USSR - an industrialization policy focussing on heavy industry lead to the growth of an arms industry in the country; the growing number of workers in the cities was housed in socialist-style apartment complexes which rapidly deteriorated. Nuclear power stations were built in a republic that has neither resources in oil nor in coal.
In 1986 the nuclear power station at CHERNOBYL experienced a meltdown in two of its four reactors. Chernobyl is located in Ukraine, just beyond the Belarusian border. This being the worst accident of any nuclear power station in history, large tracts of Belarusian territory have been contaminated for a long time to come. The desaster is typical for the tendency of Soviet officials to disregard public safety, hope that nothing serious will happen and cover up anything that happens; it only underlined the necessities of Mikhail Gorbachev's policies of Glasnost and Perestroika.

When, with the resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev in December 1991, the USSR ceased to exist and Belarus became independent, the republic's administration and population, accustomed to be ruled from Moscow, were unprepared for the situation.

A Long Way to the Fall of the Soviet Era, from Notes from the History of Belarus by Jauhen Reshatau; scroll down
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Belarus, by Ben Cahoon
REFERENCE Jan Zaprudnik, Belorussia and the Belorussians, pp.49-72 in : Zev Katz et al. (ed.), Handbook of Major Soviet Nationalities, NY : The Free Press 1975 [G]
Minsk, Kiev and Yalta, pp.169-192 in : John Gunther, Meet Soviet Russia, I : Land, People, Sights, NY : Harper & Bros. 1962 [G]
Article : USSR : Belorussia, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1970-1971 pp.1420-1421, 1975-1976 pp.1425-1426, 1976-1977 pp.1422-1424, 1978-1979 pp.1242-1244, 1979-1980 pp.1251-1253, 1980-1981 pp.1247-1249, 1981-1982 pp.1255-1257, 1983-1984 pp.1251-1253, 1984-1985 pp.1249-1250, 1985-1986 pp.1250-1251, 1986-1987 pp.1249-1250, 1987-1988 pp.1253-1254, 1988-1989 pp.1257-1258, 1989-1990 pp.1263-1264 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on April 28th 2002, last revised on March 13th 2007

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