Comparing Belarus and Russia is like comparing Germany and Austria. Only minor differences exist between the two countries.
They look minor to you
Everyone in Belarus speaks russian and many people in the villages also speak ukrainian since Belarus and Ukraine were part of the same country at one time. Culturally, it would not be wrong to call belorussian women russians.
Well, I think it still would be. Let me give you a better analogy than Germany and Austria. Take Ireland for one. Most everyone there speaks English as their first language, more so than the number of Belarusians who speak Russian. But the accent is different and the expressions are different. Even the IRA meetings are held in English, arent' they? Now, if I did not speak English, and did not even know what Gaelic was, the Irish to me would seem indistinguishable from the English. However, it would not be for me to decide if they are English or not or consider them English. It is not my place to do that. Plus it would show my total disregard for/ ignorance of the history of Ireland or their own self identification.
Try to go to an IRA meeting in a pub in Cork somewhere and openly declare in front of all the members there that it is not wrong to culturally declare them English.
It is not for any of us to decide what to call the Belarusians. They are an independent country, they have their own flag and language which is distinct from Russian and is not a dialect. It has its own grammar and literature. They also have their own history and national character. Because they speak Russian as a lingua franca, it does not make them Russians. Just like when the Scotts in Glasgow speak English, it does not make them English, does it?
Heck, we are all carrying on this discussion in English, Does that make us English?
And when you go to Mexico and fail with a woman there, would you now talk about Spanish
women being no good? After all, everyone there speaks Spanish? Or if Mexico and Guatemala have minor differences
, does that make Guatemalans Mexicans?
Here is an article on Belarusians.
Both wikipedia as well as even the Soviet government considered them a separate nationality/ethnic group.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Be ... nic_group)
Their names are also different from Russian names. Just like Patric O'Hara is different from John Smith. But again, if you do not speak those languages and do not know the history of those places, they would seem very similar to you with only minor differences.
Here are some Belarusian names:
Francysk Skaryna â€¢ Leŭ Sapieha â€¢ Mikałaj Sudziłoŭski â€¢ Kastuś Kalinoŭski â€¢ Vincent Dunin-Marcinkievič â€¢ Stanisłaŭ Bułak-Bałachovič â€¢ Ałaiza PaÅ¡kievič â€¢ Janka Kupała â€¢ Jakub Kołas â€¢ Branisłaŭ TaraÅ¡kievič â€¢ Piatro MaÅ¡era â€¢ Paveł Suchi â€¢ Maksim Tank â€¢ Volha Korbut
Any Russian would immediately see them as very foreign.
They speak Russian? So? Russian is a colonial language just like English or Spanish. That is why there is a term Russophone population
. Russophone does not mean Russian, just like English speaking Scotts and Welsh as well as Malaysians, Filipinos and Singaporeans does not mean English ethnically or even culturally.
Some 140,000,000 people speak Russian outside of Russia and most of whom are not Russian ethnically or culturally.
The Belarusians are not citizens of Russia and they have a distinct identity as well as heroes who died for the independence of their nation. Again, it is not for us to decide who is Russian and who is not. The Russians decide that. The Russians call themselves 'russki' and they call these people 'belarusy'. Two different nations. The three East Slavic nations are:
and they all descend from the Kievan Rus- the originally Swedish -led principality.
Here is a good article on East Slavs.
The three West Slavic groups are:
This is what is taught in schools there. And that is how they are listed officially in official books/encyclopedias, their government records and documents of their very much sovereign nations. They are also described like that in red-blooded, corn-fed, mom and apple pie, all American dictionaries and encyclopedias.
What they are called/considered by you or me, is of little significance.