The flag of Belarus consists of two horizontal stripes of blue on top and red at the bottom, and a vertical red-ornament-pattern stripe on the staff end. The current flag was introduced by the State Committee for Standardization of the Republic of Belarus in 2012 although the design was approved as the country’s national flag during the 1995 referendum. The design replaced the white-red-white flag that was adopted by the country in 1918 by the Belarusian People's Republic before it was conquered by the Soviet Union and after independence in 1991.
There are two horizontal stripes on the flag of Belarus, a red stripe which covers two-thirds of the flag and a green stripe which covers the remaining third. A vertical red-ornament-pattern stripe is found on the staff end. The green color represents the future of Belarus. It is associated with hope and the forests and fields of the country. The red color symbolizes the struggle for independence and the blood that was shed by those who fought for freedom. The vertical decorative stripe symbolizes the country’s rich cultural heritage, unity and the spirit of continuity.
Belarus held a referendum on May 14, 1995, to determine four contentious issues among the national symbols. The current flag was among the suggested designs. The voter turnout was 64.7%, 75.1% of whom voted to adopt the design as the national flag. The referendum was criticized by the opposition who termed it illegitimate and illegal.
Several flags have been hoisted in Belarus in an official and unofficial capacity. Apart from the current flag, other flags recognized as the national flag included the former white-red-white flag used in 1918, and then from 1991-1995. Before 1918, the Lithuanian-Byelorussian SSR used a plain red flag as the national flag. After Russia conquered Belarus in 1919 the Byelorussian SSR flag was used. It consisted of a plain red flag, and with the lettering, ССРБ (SSRB) on the top left part. In 1937, a hammer and sickle star was placed on the upper part of the writing.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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