Death Star of Minsk

Library in Minsk 1

This building was not so long ago erected in Minsk by a personal order of Belarus president Mr. Lukashenko. Locals joke: “Lukashenko had just learned to read and decided to build a library dedicated to this new ability he acquired.”

He wanted to build an impressive building and therefore made everyone in the country pay for it. Students had to bring money to school for several months. Teachers are still having a part of their salary taken out to pay for this building. Well at least that locals say.

Foreign printed guide books also sometimes are not so serious about this structure: “Some say it looks like a diamond. We say it looks like the Death Star. In either case there’s no denying that the collosal, new home for the National Library now being constructed on the city outskirts is an example of the Soviet ‘bigger-is-better’ school of architecture. Worse yet, this pet project of Lukashenko’s is partly paid for by money donated ‘voluntarily’ (meaning not voluntarily) by students and school children. When completed, it’ll be big enough to house a whopping 15 million books. The National Library only has 8 million in its collection, so there should be plenty of space leftover for restaurants, gyms, and for the president to roam the hallways in a black cloak, breathing Vader-like while dramatic music plays in the background.”

Of course, the most nice view of it is at night when its lightning is on. It allows to show animated scenes on its uncommon not flat but polyhedron many-sided polyhedral surface. We have a video down this page too.

Library in Minsk 2

Library in Minsk 5

Library in Minsk 6

Library in Minsk 7

Library in Minsk 8

Library in Minsk 9

Library in Minsk 11

Library in Minsk 12

And the video!

some photos via flickr

110 thoughts on “Death Star of Minsk”

        • No thanks. That would make him a hero to the facists. Would it be justice to see Bush and Cheney impeached, then arrested and tried for war crimes?

          • Yes in an ideological circumstances…The WAR INC,on the back of all Neocons.they never be impeached at name of national interest.please tell me CNB,CNN and FOX NEWS are the independent or government funded channels.every time when i saw these channels i listen the same tune as government.they totally ignored all information and views,which are different from the official line.but i must say,vice would be frightful if did not bear a mark…………

    • The current U.S. policy as practiced by the neoconservative (fascists) is indeed arrogant and imperialistic. The neocons like to call it globalism, and what drives this is corporate profit, especialy in the defense and oil industry. As you have said, these people are using the U.S. military and alliances with other right-wing governments to advance this policy (this is not the first time). They maintain power by using the media to spread doubt and fear among the U.S. population.
      I am certain that most Americans support a non-interventionist policy, to provide help only when it is asked for. The U.S. should not be interfering with other countries such as Russia by funding phony NGOs and political opponents that undermine the political process wether we agree with that process or not.
      As for your question as to why a black American has not been President of the U.S., you know the answer to that question as it pertains to your own country. You know the problems of your country as I know mine. I believe that Russia and the U.S. should be allies not enemies. We have done this before.

      • I belive that chanse is long gone. Right now, Russia and China should be focusing on turning the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)into an efficient effective military block, which would protect or at least deter any potential attacks or meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign states by imperialist NATO. This is the onlly way to protect independant countires from N.1 aggressor in the world.

        • oh really you think that by forming a large power block anyone future conflicts will be detered, i encourage you to look at the build up to world war one for an example of this theory put into practise

    • Wow, you must be brain dead. Each and every one of your arguments is so lacking in common sense and valid arguments that everyone who has read it is now instantly dumber.

      • Yes sir,i come back again.let tolerate my `cool views` again.i have been sick,for a while,but i am ready to `educate`peoples of the new era.i am trying to sell stuff,which is not valid and able to attract common man in this changing and let live.

  1. Is illiteracy in Belarus so alarming that you have to trick people into thinking they are going to the carnival?!

    it reminds me of the Discover Science Center in California that also lights up different patterned colours & is oddly shaped.

  2. Hm, I don’t understand all that gloating in media. The guy decided to build a big library. Well, it’s a good thing, at least it’s better than building another shopping mall, imho.
    You may dislike the design, but that’s the matter of taste. Money issues? In some countries it’s called taxes.

    PS. Personally I don’t like the look, but if a good collection of books would be accumulated there, who cares?

    • It’s a bad investment for people of a country that is already poor. Wasted money.. libraries are not in high demand ever since computers and internet gained public access. So in this case, it would probably be better for the people to build a shopping mall instead of this library. But hey, they can convert it later.

      • That’s not what i meant. Opening a big shopping mall is just as useless, but at least it would give some jobs to the people.

        Like you said, it would be money better spent if they were invested in books or equipment for the schools. I don’t know enough about the country to give further advice on how to rule it better, but i know that you certainly can’t compare its needs to your own country’s.
        And why shouldn’t he be criticized? If a random guy on can come up with better ideas than the PRESIDENT of a country, then damn, it’s a real shame.

        That being said, he’s still better than George Bush. Because even a turtle could come up with better solutions and projects than him 😉

        • Ehm, man, shopping malls are built whith private investment. And there are plenty of them in Belarus. Now, a good public library is an investment in education (yes, central librarys lend needed books to schools and universities, it is way more economic), culture, science, technology… Well, better future for EVERYBODY (even those who has NO access to internet or computers at all).

          Play more CIVILIZATION! 😉

      • Are you mad or what?you prefare shopping mall over the library.what a sick mindset of yours.the most lasting monumints are the paper monuments.not new version of x box.if i accept your view,for awhile that the paper age is over instead of we live in e world,so we should shut our all universities,colleges and all traditional way of learning.instead of we change these institutions into dance clubs,sex shops and other commercial centers.where you wanna take us Shizo?in the stone age where all peoples are gamming trade every the last,there are three ways the universities,the sea,the court.

        • YOY ARE FACK AS YOUR PRESIDENT.SHOW YOUR MANHOOD AND COME FORWARD TO SUCK MY COCK…….Texas1.imatition has no intelligence! ! ! ! ! ! !

    • They should have built a real library like Hessburg Library at the University of Notre Dame. A nice mural of touchdown Jesus would be a nice solute to your superiors.

    • Yes all over the world every one copying American culture,like walking on two legs,seeing from two eyes,eating from their own mouth.enough dude come out from your virtual cocoon.face the reality of time,now time is really chnaged.enjoy and let the enjoy.

        • Yes, I guess russia is the one installing the provocative missile defence shield which is bound to start a new arms race. I guess Russia is the one spreading sick anti-russian propaganda in the media to influence and manipulate public opinion. I guess russia is the one spending millions on fake NGO’s in order for them to be used as resources to overthrow government of a ssovereign state. Or perhaps we have already been here before?

  3. What a ghastly looking building. Very ‘soviet’ in design. A very visual example of all that is rotten in Belarus. 🙁

    What a shame.

    • The only ‘soviet’ thing about this building is it’s size… Well, if you think about it, American skyskrapers are not small either, so there’s realy nothing ‘soviet’ about this. Stop thinking in cliches.

        • They know very well about fake and authentics…let start thinking about might be wear wolf skin but never act like that.dear TEXAS1……..SHOW YOUR REAL AMERICAN COURAGE….don`t hide behind the all companies there are more fools than wise.

  4. Would it be better if he just had spent it on expanding the army , like everybody else does?
    Now, people can read for a bit and start thinking for themselves.

      • That looks absolutely hideous! I cannot believe the design of this monstrosity was ever approved. I mean, even rednacks must have some taste..

      • Oh, I see. It actually looks pretty cool. I was wrong.

        • Dear “John from Kansas” impersonator (texas1),
          You have misunderstood my point. The Reunion Tower is just as cool as the Minsk library. Such machine like high-tech structures are in a different catagory compared to “traditional” architecture. These buildings are intended to convey a dynamic optimism. They are meant to say “This is where things are happening (bring money)”. In the late 1800’s the Eiffel Tower was considered both a horror and a marvel.

  5. I think this building looks cool. It’s a bit squarish but that gives it character… in 10 years the western “soft” look will wane and everyone will love this building.

    Anyway, kinda reminds me of the Shanghai Pearl with the lights… just that this bldg has a “chin” (some edges).

  6. Reminds me a little bit of the library at the U of San Diego:
    Library at U of SD

    Though I admit, it was a LOT smaller, still quite an amazing structure.

  7. I just like the music on the video clip…

    and is it coincidence or irony (or too early in the day)that my anti-spam word was “lenin”?

  8. Coolest Hack Ever: Hack into the light system of the library, and use it to display a pornographic movie for the whole city to enjoy.

    CAPTCHA: vodka


  10. It’s better than spending 300 million pounds on a tramline and then closing 20 schools (Edinburgh).

    I wouldn’t mind visiting it just for a holiday.

  11. Well, it’s not Calatrava, but it’s not a simple box, either!
    The lights are a brilliant touch!
    It’ll show up in some future Sci-Fi movie, I’ll bet.

  12. Just be glad you don’t live in Prague…

    Future Systems wins Czech National Library Competition

    Fortunately, there are plenty of better-looking ones!

    Librophiliac Love Letter: A Compendium of Beautiful Libraries

  13. Well I have noticed that people dont get that the main point isnt in architecture but in library itself… I dont know why people see all the negative sides about this library when there are only positives….

    Why build library??? My reasoning that the president just wanted to be in history books for building something usefull for the country….. Trust me the best investment is library and not some gym’s, hotels, airports, and malls.
    They only better way he could have spent the money if he improved education and build more free universities which they lack.

    I myself from belarus and for those who dont know….

    7 years ago the prices where increadebly low compare to the rest of Europe….And now they are on high standards…

    exsample: 7 years agop you could buy 1 room apartment for 8-15 grand now it will cost 60-100 grand… The prices went up crazy for the past few years… So those who are smart found the way out, those who arent are alcoholics…

    My view about Lukashenko is that yes he is a dictator but he is a good patriot and will lead and have lead Belarus out of it’s poverty and make it profitable and on the same high standards as the rest of Europe.

    At least Belarus has a culture(a noticable one) unlike America

    This library is great at least its better than nothing…

  14. It’s a library, people. How ironic.

    I think everyone who has demonstrated an unusually limited vocabulary in these discussions (i.e. using foul language), and an unusually limited imagination (i.e. hurling immature insults in lieu of using reason and intellect to respond to differing opinions) should immediately trot themselves over to their local library to:

    1. find a dictionary, build their vocabulary, and learn to express themselves more eloquently, and

    2. find a book about the art of debate, to learn how to partipate in vibrant discussion – stating and listening to opposing points of view in a productive and respectful manner.

    NO wonder the world is in such a disheveled state!

    • Very well put.
      Hmm… So I’m replying to a comment made quite a few months ago.

      My old town/city, built a newer library which wasn’t all that great looking, but stood out like a sore thumb and made people notice it.
      The benefit of that is everybody got used to it after a while, and it became a place for kids and other groups to hang out.
      They provided comfortable chairs, beanbags, headphones near every seat for radio. And tv in a few sections.
      Computers with some great learning aids.
      In short, it is now a very enjoyable place to hangout in.

      Now, the library in my new hometown, is just as cool.
      Nothing flash to look at, basically an old building really, but with one huge metal… facade of sorts, bolted to the front.
      What makes it cool, is it has a cafe, free internet use, a very striking kids section.
      Also, attached to a museum of sorts, one that has some rather fun exhibitions on at times, such as a t.rex skeleton, and best of all, the young inventors show!

  15. I think the buiding is neat. Now, would someone who ‘d like to earn $500.00 U.S. tell me if Luda (last name unknown) lives at 2460045 Byelorussia; HOMYEL, Olimpik St; House 16; apartment 96. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY! NOT a joke whatsoever. If you don’t believe me, leave message and I will allow yoou to call me. A close up photo of this person would also help immensely. She is missing. This is very important. Thank You.

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  17. The fourth photo was taken by Aleks Dorohovich. Original you can see here –

  18. I only dropped in, to look at this building. FWIW it’s impressive. I hope the people whose public funds built it can make something positive of that.

    The peculiar dialect of English in most of the comments is familiar. I take it this Lukashenko is disapproved-of by the same party that disapproves of George W. Bush. The vocabulary is nearly identical. The “facts-being-exposed” are nearly identical. Somehow a vast-but-politically-insignificant conspiracy can steal an election from the self-evident will of the obvious majority, in both countries.

    As remarkable as the parallels may be, I only came to see the pictures of the building. I’m a Gearhead–not an artist or an architect. So my opinion might not be worth as much as that of a more evolved person. But the building looks impressive. I hope the people whose Library it is–keep it well. Best regards.

  19. Holy Jedi Abraham! It’s the Magnificent Matzo Ball of Minsk come to take my people home. Beware Luke Steinwalker, light two candles to keep the Dark Side away and may The Farce be with you. Amen.

  20. so.. anyone wanna talk about a library?

    1. democracy and capitalism aren’t the same thing
    2. neither are communism and dictatorship
    3. democracy is at least as aggressive as dictatorship
    4. There have been many successful and peaceful dictatorships
    5. American foreign policy is violent gun totting and mainly based around oil… not the safety of american citizens, if you disagree then you are probably watching from inside america, where you can’t see it properly
    6. democracy by definition, can’t be forced upon a people at gunpoint. (“Vote, or don’t vote… or I kill you” ??)
    7. Just as there are no real examples of communism, neither are there any real democracies. British democracy was killed by Thatcher.. a policy perpetuated by every government since. Now more people choose not to vote, than actually bother to vote.
    8. I’ve never been to Belarus, but they’ve got a great looking library.

    • SKBZ How nice is to read smart person through all that madness. I didn’t even hope to read something smart after that BS article, so you really did surprise me, WOW!

  21. Lukashenko – best president. He has restored our country after communists and democrats. Has constructed excellent library – is not “death star”, but brilliant of knowledge. The belarussian people are very grateful to Lukashenko.

  22. I’ve been to this library. Rumors in Belarus say many years ago, Saddam Hussein donated millions towards the construction. Lukashenko was buddies with Saddam and Belarus was a large trading partner with Iraq.

    Lukashenko is also great buddies with Hugo Chavez and Chavez visits Belarus regularly. Unfortunately, Belarus is not on friendly terms with many world governments because of Lukashenkos policies, government, associations and dictatorial powers. He’s been listed as one of the worlds top 10 dictators for years.

    Minsk is a very clean, modern and beautiful city, but you go to smaller cities and villages and it’s like you go back in time 50-75 years. No indoor plumbing or running water….no indoor toilets. The people I visited were happy because they finally got natural gas hooked up to their house and was only one of a few in the village. They were also finally getting a water line buried along their street and about 10 homes in the area were to get water & indoor plumbing, rather that relying on an outdoor well.

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  24. I voted for Lukashenko in 2010 🙂 I am 25. All my friends did. All my family did. Why insulting our treasure and knowledges naming it death-star? democracy in simple words is excepting the rights and differences of every individual. So why all the “democrates” like to judge Belarus? Except it and be happy for us Belarusians. Looks like democracy being used by people who like double standards. the definition for that what happens in masmedia towards Belarus is a simple BS, not journalism, check the facts, people, and be responsible for information.

  25. And I approve this message !! Love that place ) We give visas to everybody, so come and see our country and you will be surprized how bright and beautiful our belarusian eyes are and you will probably try to sniff the pictures you’ll make of our nature to get that pine and fresh cut grass scent again, you are always welcome here! Love Belarus!


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