The current national flag of Belarus (Belarusian: Сцяг Беларусі, Stsyah Byelarusi; Russian: Флаг Беларуси, Flag Belarusi) is a red and green flag with a white and red ornament pattern placed at the staff (hoist) end. The current design was introduced in 2012 by the State Committee for Standardization of the Republic of Belarus, and is adapted from a design approved in a referendum in May 1995. The current flag is a modification of the 1951 flag used while the country was a republic of the Soviet Union. The changes from the Byelorussian SSR was to not only remove symbols of communism (the hammer and sickle and also the red star) but it reversed the colors of the ornament pattern from white on red with red on white. Since the 1995 referendum, several flags used by government officials and agencies were modeled from the national flag.
This design replaced the historical white-red-white flag used by the Belarusian People's Republic of 1918, before Belarus became a Soviet Republic, and again after it regained its independence in 1991. A few groups have continued to use this flag, though its display in Belarus has been restricted by the government of Belarus ostensibly due to its association with Nazi collaboration during the Second World War. The white-red-white flag is used in protests against the government and by certain groups of the Belarusian diaspora.
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