There are around 1.2 million Russians in Belarus, which accounts for 11.4% of the population of Belarus and builds up the largest national minority in the country.
Many Russian-Belarusians are descendants of people who migrated to Belarus during the Soviet times, as technical specialists and military or administrative personnel. There is also a minor group of Old Believers who settled in Belarus in the Middle Ages.
In early Soviet times the Moscow-appointed Belarusian government was largely formed from non-Belarusians like the Panteleimon Ponomarenko or Nikolay Gikalo.
There is a large proportion of ethnic Russians among the current political leadership around Alexander Lukashenko.
Censuses show a constant decline of the number of people identifying themselves as Russians in Belarus due to the process of assimilation.