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Belarusian is closely related to both Russian and Ukrainian. Today Russian dominates nearly all aspects of social life and has been the second official language since 1995. There is little state support for keeping Belarusian alive and flourishing. While much of the sign-age is in Belarusian (street signs, inside train and bus stations), usage is indiscriminate, and speaking it in public attracts attention. There is a small but strong and growing group of student nationalists who are working to support the use of Belarusian, and it is now considered to be the country’s language of the intellectual elite.

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