The Belarusian language at Eurovision
The Belarusian language is one of two official languages in the Republic of Belarus, alongside the recognized minority languages of Polish, Ukrainian, and Yiddish.
Despite having taken part sixteen times, the Belarusian language has only been selected to represent the country on two occasions.
Even in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, which still maintains restrictions in regards to the use of national language, Russian has been used on more occasions, with Belarusian, appearing solely three times, and once in conjunction with Russian.
So how successful is the Belarusian language at Eurovision? Let’s take a look below.
Naviband – ‘Historyja majho žyccia’ (‘Story of My Life’)
Final place: 17th
Renamed to ‘Story of My Life’ for the contest, but keeping its lyrics as originally written, ‘Historyja majho žyccia’ was performed at the Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv in 2017 by Arciom Lukjanienka and Ksienija Žuk as the duo Naviband.
‘Story of My Life’ was the first time (and to date the only time) that the Belarusian language has appeared on the Eurovision stage.
Naviband was selected through the Belarusian national final ‘Eurofest’. The song and performance was incredibly popular with fans, especially considering it being the debut of a new language on the stage.
VAL – ‘Да відна (Da vidna)’
Final place: Contest cancelled
‘Da vidna’ (English: ‘Before dawn’) was supposed to represent Belarus’ return to using Belarusian at the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in three years before the 2020 contest was cancelled. The song was intended to be performed by Valeria Gribusova and Vladislav Pashkevich as the duo VAL.
‘Da vidna’ was intended to be the second Eurovision performance to be sung in the Belarusian language before the contest’s cancellation, and was a favourite amongst some fans.
VAL was selected through the Belarusian national final ‘Eurofest’.
Of course, the Belarusian language made its debut on the Junior Eurovision stage, and more of these performances feature the language than at the regular edition.
However, due to Belarus’ dual official languages, entries in either Russian or Belarusian can be sent to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, leading to less than a quarter of their entries featuring the language.
Volha Satsiuk – ‘Танцуй (Tantsuy)’
Final place: 4th
Belarus’ debut performance at any Eurovision event was as one of the sixteen debut nations at the inaugural Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen in 2003, with Volha Satsiuk’s performance of ‘Tantsui’ in Belarusian.
In order to represent the nation at the contest, Volha first had to win the national final ‘Constellation Festival’.
The song performed well at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, coming in fourth with a total of 103 points.
Egor Volchek - Спявайце со мной (Spiavajcie so mnoj)
Final place: 14th
Upon the nation’s return to the Junior Eurovision stage the next year, the general public again selected another Belarusian-language entry through the national final ‘Junior Eurosong 2004’.
Belarus was represented by Egor Volchek and the song ‘Spjavajcie so mnoj’. The song disappointed compared to the previous year, receiving only 9 points and coming in fourteenth place.
Dasha, Alina and Karyna - Сердце Беларуси (Serdtse Belarusi)
Final place: 6th
Belarusian failed to make an appearance on the Junior Eurovision stage for another four years. In the three years in the interim, Belarus managed to take home two wins and a runner-up position with entries sung entirely in Russian.
However, Dasha, Alina and Karyna won ‘Junior Eurosong 2008’ with ‘Serdtse Belarusi’, an entry sung in both Russian and Belarusian, beating out nineteen competitors. Although they did not perform as well as the previous three entries had done, they did still come a respectable sixth in a field of thirteen.
Nadezhda Misyakova – Сокал (Sokal)
Final place: 7th
It wasn’t until another six years later that another Belarusian-language entry was sent to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
Performed by Nadezhda Misyakova, ‘Sokal’ (English: ‘Falcon’) is a song based on the Belarusian fairytale ‘Finis, the Fine Falcon’. The song came seventh at the competition in Malta.
Unfortunately, despite Belarus' many successes at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, an entry sung in the Belarusian language has failed to win either the junior or adult competitions.