Flag of Belarus

Flag of Belarus
Country Belarus
Population 9,498,238 (2023)
Area (Km²) 202,910 (2023)
Сontinent Europe
Emoji 🇧🇾
  hex rgb
#D22730 210, 39, 48
#00AF66 0, 175, 102
#FFFFFF 255, 255, 255

The flag of Belarus consists of two horizontal stripes: the upper one is red and the lower one is green, in a ratio of 2:1. On the white field - 1/9 of the flag's length - is a red Belarusian national ornament.

The coat of arms of the country is a golden outline of the state border of the Republic of Belarus, placed in a silver field, superimposed on the golden rays of the rising sun over the globe. In the upper part of the field is a five-pointed red star. The coat of arms is framed by a wreath of ears of gold intertwined with clover flowers on the right and flax flowers on the left. The wreath is tied three times on each side with a red and green ribbon, in the middle part of which, at the base of the State Emblem of the Republic of Belarus, the words "Republic of Belarus" are written in two lines in gold.

What does the flag of Belarus mean?

  • The red color symbolizes blood ties, brotherhood, and the struggle for justice. The red color on the modern flag of Belarus symbolizes the banners of the victorious Battle of Grunwald, the color of the flags of the Red Army and Belarusian partisan brigades, and the blood shed for the Fatherland in the fight against the occupiers by the faithful sons of the people. At the same time, red has long been considered a sign of the Sun, the color of happiness and life.
  • Green is the color of Nature. It is the color of the fertile fields, meadows and forests that Belarus is so rich in. Green is traditionally considered the color of goodness, growth, development, prosperity and peace. It symbolizes hope, spring and rebirth.
  • White is, above all, the color of freedom. No wonder the name of the country - Belarus - is associated with the people's unquenchable will to freedom. White is also the color of moral purity and wisdom. The red pattern of the ornament on a white field is a symbol of the ancient culture of Belarusians, spiritual wealth, national unity and loyalty to national traditions.

The basis of the flag's ornament is the "Rising Sun" pattern woven in 1917 by Matryona Markevich, a peasant woman from the village of Klimovichi, Sennensky District, Vitebsk Region. This ornament, which was used in light industry, was chosen by a working group of the Academy of Sciences in the early 1950s as the basis for the design of the BSSR State Flag. 

  • The rhombus in the center of the ornament is an ancient symbol of the sun, which gives warmth, light and harvest;
  • The "horns" symbolize wealth and prosperity;
  • The sown field is indicated by two crossed lines and dots near these lines. The rhombuses, which are interconnected and located at the top and bottom of the ornament, symbolize the continuation of life and the renewal of bread. 

Belarus is the first country in the world to use the national ornament as an element of the national flag.

Each element on the coat of arms has its own meaning:

  • The outline of Belarus in the center symbolizes the country's territorial integrity within the borders recognized by other countries;
  • the images of the Earth and the Sun reflect the ancient traditions of the people, who worshiped Mother Earth and the Sun in pre-Christian times. 

In the modern interpretation, these symbols signify the prosperity of Belarus based on a strong connection with Mother Earth. The earth in the rays of the sun is the main sign of life.

The five-pointed red star is a symbol of humanity, a sign of courage and high thoughts. For thousands of years, the five-pointed star has also been considered a symbol of safety and security. 

The idea of inexhaustible fertility and generous prosperity is embodied in the frame of the coat of arms - a wreath of ripe ears of rye, decorated with clover and flax flowers, and wrapped in a ribbon of the colors of the National Flag. Since ancient times, the wreath has been a symbol of glory, honor, and greatness, as well as a sign of the connection between descendants and ancestors. The composition of the wreath is also not accidental. Rye has been and remains one of the main grain crops in Belarus. The most important fodder and industrial crops, clover and flax, are traditional components of agriculture. Together, they symbolize the wealth generated by labor.

The history of the flag of Belarus

In 1991, the state symbols of Belarus were approved: the white-red-white flag and the Pogonya coat of arms. These symbols have a long history: the white-red-white flag was created before the October Revolution of 1917 and was used as a symbol of the Belarusian national movement, and the Pogonia coat of arms has been known since the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Later, during the Nazi occupation in 1941-1944, the white-red-white flag and the Pogonia were used along with the swastika by local collaborators with the permission of the German administration. 

White-red-white flag with the Pogozha emblem

In 1995, the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, proposed a referendum during which the population of the country was asked to choose a new flag and coat of arms. In the referendum, 75% of voters supported keeping the red and green state symbols. The previous version of the flag, a white-red-white combination, was associated with dubious and tragic periods in the history of Belarus. In 1918, it was used by the BNR Council, which tried to create a state in German-occupied Belarus. 

Initially, the flag and coat of arms of the Belarusian SSR, adopted in 1951, became the symbols of the state of Belarus. Initially, the flag of the young republic was the same as the flag of other Soviet republics: red and green stripes, a hammer and sickle, and the inscription "BSSR". However, since Belarus was one of the founding members of the United Nations, it was decided to change the flag to reflect the national identity and characteristics of the national population. Thus, in 1951, a new national flag of Belarus was created, consisting of red and green stripes and a national ornament. This flag became the basis for the modern flag of Belarus, which differs from the flag of the BSSR by the image of a golden hammer and sickle with a star, as well as a red ornament on a white background. Thus, the current national flag of Belarus can be considered a version of the BSSR flag without Soviet symbols.

The coat of arms of Belarus is virtually identical to the coat of arms of the BSSR, which was the symbol of the Soviet Republic since 1927. The description of the coat of arms, which was enshrined in the 1978 Constitution of the USSR, included the image of the sun, sickle and hammer surrounded by rye ears and flax. At the top of the coat of arms was a five-pointed star. Instead of the inscription "BSSR," the coat of arms of Belarus read "Republic of Belarus," and instead of the outline of the territory of the BSSR, the contours of modern Belarus were displayed. Thus, the coat of arms of present-day Belarus can be considered a de-Sovietized version of the BSSR symbol.

In 1995, the state symbols were adopted, which received public support in a referendum. This decision was accompanied by other ideological changes, including the postponement of Independence Day to July 3, the granting of Russian as an official language on a par with Belarusian, and the announcement of a course of integration with Russia. 

The legitimacy of these decisions depended on the fact that the Belarusian population did not want the collapse of the Soviet Union and separation from Russia, which was implemented by the Supreme Soviet between 1991 and 1994. The people became poorer during those years, were not interested in the Belarusianization of that time, but wanted to preserve the ability to use the Russian language and saw strengthening ties with Russia as a way to solve many problems, including economic ones. These sentiments were expressed in a negative attitude toward the new state symbols, and the white-red-white flag and the Pogonya coat of arms were given the status of anti-Soviet symbols.