Belarus’s Contributions: Did you Know?

If you have never heard of Belarus, Belarus is a former USSR territory that gained independence in the early 1990s and borders five countries: Latvia to the north, Lithuania to the northwest, Poland to the west, Russia to the north and the east, and Ukraine to the south. Belarus actually means “White Russia” but is not connected to the American “White Russian” drink. Many Belarusians emigrated to the United States after World War 1 and World War II and now speak Belarusian, Russian and American English.

This article focuses on a few of Balarus’s contributions to our lifestyle, business,

and culture. For example, did you know?

Significant populations of Belarusian Americans live in New York, New Jersey, Cleveland, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Detroit, according to Although this article highlights a few topics, please refer to this site for more information about Belarus.

1. What are some of Belarus’s contributions
trade and business

• The Belarusian Embassy that officially represents the Belarusian Government in the United States has an office in Washington, D.C.

• The Consulate of Republic of Belarus, that provides diplomatic representation of Belarus, has an office in Houston. Visas applications are processed here for those wishing to visit Belarus.

• Travel to Belarus offers opportunities to enjoy the culture and learn about its history.

2. What are some of the Belarusian
contributions to
lifestyle in the U.S?

Although there are many notable Americans with Belarusian roots, below are a two you may recognize.

• Harrison Ford’s maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Minsk, Belarus. Harrison Ford gained worldwide fame for his starring roles in the Star Wars and Indiana Jones film series. His career as an actor and movie producer spans six decades. Harrison Ford is now the highest-grossing actor in U.S. box office history” (according to article by Will Robinson in Entertainment Weekly. January 8, 2016). Ford received an Academy Award for “Best Actor” for Witness, three additional Best Actor Golden Globe nominations, and the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2002 Golden Globe Awards. (For more information, go to

• Kirk Douglas, whose parents were Jewish immigrants from a region in present-day Belarus, is an American actor, producer, director, author, and philantropist. He became a leading box-office star throughout the 1950s and 1960s. He received three Academy Award nominations and an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Taken from

3. What are some of the Belarusian
contributions to American

• Belarusian Americans predominantly practice Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Judaism religions.

• St. Euphrosynia Belarusian Orthodox Church was created in South River, New Jersey in the 1950s.

• The Belarusan American Association and other organizations teach the language, culture, and religious traditions of Belarus and represent the culture in choirs, theatrical groups, and musical and dance ensembles.

• Belarusian cuisine has Russian influence and includes even more dishes that have potatoes that Irish cuisine. Belarusian vodka is the popular drink.

This month, we celebrate with appreciation the many contributions of our Belarusian American community.

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