Stereotypes can be fun and informative but some of them can be offensive and even spark fierce arguments. So if you are not a fan of disputes you better avoid certain aspects of life, culture, and history of Belarus.
Here are 7 things you shouldn’t say to a Belarusian: Take note!
1. Belarus is a part of Russia
Belorussia with double ‘s’ and ‘o’, Belarus is a part of Russia, a city in Russia or even White Russia.
These are just some of variations that come to minds of many foreigners who never heard about Belarus or know about it from some dubious news outlets.
Let’s make it clear once and for all, we are NOT Russia. The Republic of Belarus has been an independent country since 1991.
Okay, we share some major historic events, language, and even gas but we are two completely different nations.
If you are still in doubts, check out how foreigners picture Belarusians, Russians and Ukranians.
2. Belarus is Europe’s last dictatorship
Belarus has been labeled “Europe’s last dictatorship” by some Western media for many years on account of Lukashenko’s self-described authoritarian style of government.
However, we believe that our country doesn’t equal its government.
So if you expect to see North Korea styled country in the middle of Europe, we will have to dissapoint you – you won’t.
Well, if you are still looking for some thrill and ready to tickle your nerves, we advise you to read a guide for tourists on how to enjoy Belarus’ dictatorship.
3. Belarusians still live in USSR
There is no sense to deny that many Belarusian cities preserved Soviet legacy more than any other cities of ex-USSR.
4. Belarusians are all alcoholics
Imagining that our country is full of alcoholics walking like zombies along the streets?
Well, this is simply not true. We admit that we have some problems with alcohol consumption but most people drink socially.
So there is a small chance for you to bump into an incredibly drunk person on the street.
The youth prefer to have a glass of good wine or craft beer when partying with friends to old-school vodka binge drinking at the kitchens.
5. Belarus is too cold for me
Eastern European countries are usually seen as Siberia-like places covered in snow where people wear fur coats on a daily basis.
Contrary to these beliefs our winter are not as severe as you picture them and Belarusian summers, springs, and autumns can be friendly and warm. And most likely, rainy.
Anyway, don’t forget to check a local weather forecast before booking your tickets!
6. Belarusians are too gloomy
Some believe that if a foreigner smiles at strangers while walking down the street in Belarus people may look at him as if he is retarded.
Even if you got into such kind of situation don’t jump into conclusions too fast. We are not grumpy or gloomy, we are just a bit slower on our toes than other nations in this respect.
Read also: Typical problems foreigners face in Belarus
We don’t smile at everyone, don’t hug strangers and don’t easily say “Hello, come and join the party!” to someone we’ve just met.
Mind that with Belarusians it takes time to break the ice and this guide with non-trivial tips will help you with that!
7. Belarus is boring!
This is probably the most rude thing one might think about.