Updated at 17:11,20-07-2018

Belarus and neighbouring states: immigrants and emigrants

Ales Piletski, Euroradio

The number of immigrants exceeds the number of emigrants in Belarus. National awareness is often awaken in Belarusians living abroad.

“I am one of those people who do not care about leaving the country. Surprisingly, such people are offered an opportunity to do so. I left because I was constantly given opportunities to do it," says Alyaksandr Kuznyatsou, a programmer from Minsk who has lived and worked in London for three and a half years.

Alyaksandr was one of the seven people who officially left Belarus for Great Britain in 2010. On the whole, 7 thousand Belarusians left the country that year. It is not much in comparison with our northern neighbour - Lithuania. Lithuania "is losing" 4 thousand people every month.

34 thousand people left the country in the first 9 months of 2012. Lithuania had 3 million citizens in 2011. Now it doesn't. Even the population of Vilnius keeps reducing by 2 thousands a year.

The situation in Poland is similar - there are more emigrants than immigrants: 17 vs. 15 thousands in 2010.

The situation is Russia is completely different. 191 thousand people came to the country last year and only 34 thousands left. The situation in Belarus is similar. 8 thousand people left the country last year. And 18 thousand came.

Programmer Alyaksandr says that he did not have any major adaptation problems. There is a huge Russian-speaking community in the UK and the association of Belarusian emigrants was created in the post-war time. It is so successful that even the Belarusians who used to be indifferent to their national traditions and culture start visiting Kupala parties in London.

“Who does it in Belarus? Almost no one. Why would you go to traditional events in Belarus? However, it is something exotic here. Even for us. You cannot resist coming."

The programmer does not want to come back. At least in the next few decades. He wants comfort for his children.

“I do not want to come back now. And not because of myself. It would not be good for my child and my future children. It is much better to be born and grow up here. There is no pressure exercised by the state or the society. The Belarusian society is poisoned."

Whether the society is poisoned or not is a disputable issue. Maybe the Belarusian "poison" does not matter for the 18 thousand people who came to our country last year. Almost 10 thousands came from Russia and 2500 - from Ukraine. Lithuania is in the third position with 900 people.