Etiquette in Belarus

Belarus, located in Eastern Europe, is home to approximately 9.5 million people. Over 70% of the population lives in urban areas and about 40% of the nation remains forested and undeveloped.

Belarusian and Russian are the official languages.

Belarus is a presidential republic, governed by a president and the National Assembly. The President is elected for 5 year terms and there are no term limits. Alexander Lukashenko has been the president of Belarus since 1994.

Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the most popular religion in Belarus, although about 40% of the population is not religiously affiliated.

The Belarusian ruble, abbreviated Br, is the currency of Belarus.

General Etiquette

There are a number of obscene gestures in Belarus. The North American ‘O.K.’ sign and any shaking of your fist is considered vulgar.

Whistling at a concert or sporting event is a sign of disapproval. There is also a superstition that whistling indoors causes one to lose money, so it is considered inappropriate.

When sitting, do not have your legs spread apart or your feet propped up on a table. Standing with your hands in pockets, raising your voices, or laughing loudly is also considered inappropriate. However, spitting in public is common.

Wearing an overcoat inside a building is considered ill-mannered and you should leave your coat in the cloakroom.