3rd largest ethnicity in Latvia


Belarusians are the Latvia’s 3rd largest community (3,3% of total population).

They are little visible as a separate community, however, as they commonly share the culture and opinions with Russians. Most of Latvia’s Belarusians even speak Russian as their native language. This is true not only in Latvia but also in Belarus itself where russification has been rampant.

Most of the Latvia’s Belarusians arrived as Soviet settlers during the Soviet occupation (1940-1990) and they live in the cities.

However, as Latvia and Belarus share a boundary, there were also rural Belarusian communities in Latvia even before the occupation. In 1935, Belarusians made up 1,38% of total population (2,45% in Latgale region that borders Belarus). Belarusian population peaked at 4,5% in 1989. While some Belarusians departed after independence, the community may now have already resumed growth due to new migrants from a poorer Belarus into a richer Latvia.