An ex Soviet Republic well known for its continuing close relationship with Russia. It was totally obliterated in World War 2 and Minsk was rebuilt from scratch by Stalin as a show of the fortitude of the Belarusians. The new war museum is well presented including in English. 

The Island of Tears is a small island dedicated to the Afghanistan War. The statue is a water feature and very moving.

I highly recommend renting a bike from the place near the musuem as the city is built for cyclyists with dedicated paths.