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Minsk or Mensk?

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Veronika Veronika | 22:01 UK time, Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Abigail asked to tell more about Minsk and Mensk. Though it is quite a complicated question and I'm not a historian I'll try in short ;)

It is supposed that the city's name comes from the name of the river Menka. In ancient times 'Minsk' was used too (depending on the influence of other languages on Belarusian in different periods), but 'Mensk' was being kept in spoken language. And at the times of BSSR (Belarusian Soviet Socialistic Republic) there was a period when 'Mensk' was an official name of the city, though in 1939 it was renamed by the government to 'Minsk'. Russification and repressions of national activists are among the versions of its reasons... In 1991 some deputies wanted to return 'Mensk' but the proposal was rejected since there were not enough votes. So Minsk is Minsk now, but some media (opposition especially) still use 'Mensk' and pre-reformed language, which seems to be just more natural

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