“Minsk” and “Mensk” are two forms of the name of the Belarusian capital. “Mensk” is the historical name from the times of Magdeburg Law, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the era of national renaissance of Belarusians. “Minsk” is a “russified” version of the name from the times of the Russian Empire and the USSR. Both names are deeply ingrained in the Belarusian culture. Minsk became the official name of the Belarusian capital, while Mensk remained in the oral tradition and has become a symbol of the national urban identity for the community of patriotic intellectuals. The existing two forms of the name accurately reflect the dualism of the Belarusian cultural codes. Minsk is a utopian socialistic city rebuilt on the ruins of old culture. Mensk is the ideal of a city of modern European culture. Between these two urban theories is where the average resident of the capital dwells. Mi(e)nsk is an urbanistic image of a mixture of cultures – the city and the village, the old and the new, the private and the collective, the metropolis and the periphery. The streets of Mi(e)nsk and the city resident are two independent entities of urban space. It is possible that this juxtaposed state is the true urban identity of the residents of the Belarusian capital.
2013 - present