The article examines the demographic and national structure of Belarus in light of the national census which took place in early 1999. That census demonstrated how the political, social, and economic transformation of the last decade influenced demography and ethnic composition in Belarus, as well as the national identity of its citizens. One such example is the Chernobyl catastrophe, which spurred migration within the Republic and also awakened the Belarusians' consciousness of national distinctness. In the period between the census of 1959 and the recent one, a permanent and significant increase in the Russian population and a limited growth of the Belorussian population were observed; simultaneously, the Polish and Jewish populations declined. The 1999 census demonstrated that this tendency was halted: the number of Russians declined (they left Belarus), while the Belarusian population...