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Today, both Belarusian and Russian are considered official languages of the country. Street names and many signs are in Belarusian, as are some broadcast and print media, official documents, and many official meetings. In spite of efforts to revive Belarusian, Russian is spoken as the primary language of communication, except perhaps in the very rural countryside. Belarusian is closely related to Russian and Polish, all with Slavic origins. It is written using the Cyrillic alphabet, with two letters different from the Russian alphabet.

The national referendum held on 14 May 1995 resulted in that the Russian language was given the equal status alongside Belarusian. The Law on National Minorities in the Republic of Belarus guarantees the right of each of the ethnic minority living in the Republic to learn and use its native language.