Upon the independence of Belarus from the Soviet Union, the country resurrected national symbols that were used before the Soviet era. These included a flag of red and white stripes and a coat of arms consisting of a charging knight on horseback. These national symbols were replaced by Soviet-era symbols in a disputed 1995 vote. Those two symbols, along with the national anthem, are the constitutionally defined national symbols of Belarus.
The symbols of the Republic of Belarus as a sovereign state shall be its national flag, national emblem and national anthem.
Each national symbol is further defined by their respective laws. Uses of the national symbols are covered in the relevant law of each symbol.
The National Flag of Belarus
The National Flag of the Republic of Belarus is a symbol of the sovereignty of the Republic of Belarus. It represents a rectangular panel consisting of two horizontal colour stripes: a red upper stripe and a green lower stripe, which are 1/3 and 2/3 of the flag’s width accordingly. Near the flagstaff there is a Belarusian national decorative pattern of red colour arranged vertically, making 1/9 of the flag’s length. The proportion of the width of the flag to its length is 1:2. The flag is fixed to the flag base (flagstaff) which is painted in golden (ochre) colour.
During ceremonies and other official events, the National flag of the Republic of Belarus is used with a diamond-shape tip with a five-pointed star, which is analogous to the one depicted on the National Emblem of the Republic of Belarus. Tips of the star are made of the yellow metal.
The National Emblem of the Republic of Belarus
The National Emblem of the Republic of Belarus is a symbol of state sovereignty of the Republic of Belarus.
The National Emblem of the Republic of Belarus represents a green-coloured contour of the Republic of Belarus in golden rays radiated by the sun over the globe. The contour is put over golden rays of the sun rising over the globe. At the top, there is a five-pointed red star. The Emblem is framed by the wreath of golden wheats which are interlaced with clover flowers on the right and flax flowers on the left. The wreath is interlaced by a red-green ribbon three times on each side. Wheat-ears are interlaced with a red-green ribbon carrying two golden lines “The Republic of Belarus” in the middle part of the foundation of the National Emblem.
The only symbol that hasn’t changed over during independence is the national anthem. Adopted during the Soviet era, “My Belarusy” was used provisionally until 2002. The only change that occurred was dropping the Soviet-era lyrics and choosing just to use the music, composed by Nyestar Sakalowski. On July 2, 2002, President Lukashenko issued a decree adopting new lyrics to the anthem, written by Uladzimir Karyzny. Klimkovich also wrote the lyrics to the Anthem of the Byelorussian SSR. Not only the lyrics were chosen, but a protocol guide related to the national anthem was also released by Lukashenko. The reason that was given for keeping Sakalowski’s music was to keep the historic traditions of the country. While references to Lenin, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the idea of Soviet brotherhood were dropped, the general idea of a “friendship of peoples” still remains present. According to the Belarusian Government, once the national anthem was adopted, the long process to adopt the three national symbols of Belarus was completed.
Other than the national flag, anthem and emblem, Belarus has several unofficial symbols. The Cross of Saint Euphrosyne, a 12th-century relic which disappeared during the Second World War, is considered a spiritual symbol of Belarus. The European bison, commonly called the wisent, is seen as a symbol of Belarus and the Belavezha Forest. It is also featured on the symbols of Brest Oblast. Other widely known mascots of Belarus are stork and cornflower.