The United Governorates of Bellinsgauzenia (Russian: Соединённые Губернии Беллинсгаузении, Soyedinyonnyye Gubyernii Byellinsgauzyenii), colloquially known as Bellinsgauzenia (Беллинсгаузения, Byellinsgauzyeniya), and abbreviated as the UGB (СГБ, SGB); is a sovereign state located in Eastern Antarctica. Originally part of the Russian Empire, Bellinsgauzenia was established as an independent and unified nation in 1926. While never involving their armed forces into the conflict, Bellinsgauzenia gained infamy during World War II as a supporter of the Axis Powers. The nation remained under military domination until the 1970s, at which time it has become a social democracy.
Bellinsgauzenia is the largest nation in Antarctica (both in area and population) and is regarded as the primary regional power on the continent (as well as within the southern hemisphere). The armed forces of Bellinsgauzenia are regarded as one of the largest in the world, with the military being culturally and politically connected within the nation. Due to its growing economy and military history, Bellinsgauzenia has been regarded internationally as an emerging great power.
- See also: Name of Bellinsgauzenia
The term Bellinsgauzenia gains its origins in the early 19th century. The name is in reference to Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, the Russian officer who led the expedition which discovered Antarctica in 1820. The contemporary spelling is based on the Russian spelling Беллинсгаузения (Byellinsgauzyeniya), and is comparable to the naming of Colombia after Christopher Columbus.
The name was originally a nickname used by the Russian Empire for the continent as a whole. It wouldn't be until 1926 that the name became officially used for the modern day nation. Early drafts of the 1926 constitution referred to the new nation as the "United Governorates of Antarctica," but the name was altered to "United Governorates of Bellinsgauzenia" prior to its adoption. The name was favored among the Russian nationalists as it favored a expressed Russian and continental patriotism among the founding fathers.
Early English translations used the name "Bellingshausenia" over the direct Russian translation, but the name initially never caught on. Instead, many early maps simply referred to the new nation as the "United Governorates of Antarctica" or simply the "United Governorates." It wouldn't be until the Cold War that the current Russified name became the international standard. The only noted exception is the German name of "Bellingshausenland," which gained popularity as Bellingshausen was an ethnic Baltic German, as well as their existing good relations between the two nations during the early 20th century.
The earliest known human settlements within modern day Bellinsgauzenia date back to the later-half of the 1st millennium BCE, in which Fuegian peoples from Patagonia and the eastern islands of the West Antarctic Archipelago crossed the Ross Sea and established settlements as far inland as the Transantarctic Mountains. From around 528 up until 1387, the Ross Sea coast was under the control of the Ogana Empire, which were a proto-Ognic people under conflict with the neighboring Krannkush people. It's believed that continued conflict and a changing climate resulted in the fall of the Ogana Empire, with most of the peoples living around the Transantarctic Mountains becoming scattered tribes.
The region would remain loosely populated until the 16th Century and the arrival of Maori settlers from the Cook Islands and New Zealand. Unlike the Ogana before, the maritime Maori would establish bases across the East Antarctic coast (as war west as the Amery Gulf) and several km inland (via the river systems). The majority of these settlements focused primarily on trade with Krannkush and New Zealand, leaving inland exploration limited prior to European contact. Over the centuries since settling began, these Antarctic Maori began to develop a unique culture compared to the other Polynesian peoples of the Pacific. Communication links between Antarctica and New Zealand remained unaffected for several decades after first contact with Europeans.
While first contact between Antarctica and Europe was made by the Russian-led expedition of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen in January 1820, this was made present day Ognia. The British were the first Europeans to explore the lands of Bellinsgauzenia in the late 1820s, coming over from the Balleny Islands. Dutch and Russian outposts were established in the area by the early 1830s. The Dutch were the first to explore the interior in great detail during this period, helping to establish a footing in what would become known as the Midnight Coast. Dutch control would end in the 1850s when the Russian Empire absorbed these Dutch settlements, thereby establishing Russia's control over Eastern Antarctica from the Ross Sea to the Amery Gulf.
Russia would establish four oblasts in Eastern Antarctica (not including their control over most of Western Antarctica). These included the Midnight Coast, New Ukraine, the Vaiood, and Zamorie. Oodavai was established in the 1870s following the discovery of gold around Lake Vostok and across the Vostok River. The following population boom further helped in the development of the region, which also resulted in tensions between Russia and the United Kingdom (among which border disputes arose). This period would also bring tensions between these Russian settlers and the native Maori. Despite following similar tactics as did the Maori of New Zealand against the British, the low numbers of these Antarctic Maori proved a weakness that the Russian Empire exploited by the 1870s.
By the end of the 19th century, the abundances of coal along the Transantarctic mountains would start to come into play, allowing for a period of industrialization across Russian Antarctica. To help export coal, railways began to be constructed by the early 1900s (which mostly benefited Eastern Antarctica). Despite these early positives, progress was limited following the defeat of Russia in the Russo-Japanese War, slowing down the access between the Russian Empire and her Antarctic colonies by means of the Pacific Ocean. This progress was virtually halted in 1914 as World War I began in Europe, followed by the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917.
Independence and Civil War
Following the February Revolution in 1917, the colonial governments and settlers of Russian Antarctica initially supported the change in government. But following the rise of the Bolsheviks during the October Revolution, Russian Antarctica express their opposition to communism. The following year, representatives from the six oblasts came together in Novopetrograd for the first Continental Assembly, which would act as a provisional government for Russian Antarctica. The assembly proclaimed their support for the White Movement in the Motherland. To help fight the sparse communist revolts in Russian Antarctica, the assembly allowed for Allied forces to intervene in Russian Antarctica (as part of their intervention in the Russian Civil War as a whole).
With a Bolshevik victory in Russia by 1920, Russian Antarctica began to see themselves as the true successor of the Russian Empire. The Second Continental Assembly of 1920 proclaimed the independence of Russian Antarctica as the "United Governorates of Antarctica" and requested the removal of Allied forces from its territories. Despite this, the fear of communism spreading across the continent, combined with border disputes which had existed between Russia and the United Kingdom, Allied troops (predominantly British) would remain stationed in parts of Russian Antarctica. By this time, the more radical elements of the White Movement began to take shape in Antarctica, including continentalism, fascism, and nationalism. Several noted participants of the Continental Assemblies (including World War I general Sergey Gavrilov) began to side with these factions, eventually uniting as the National Movement.
In a campaign more furious and supported than communism, the nationalists began offensives against Allied troops. Considering them no different from the communists, the Allies fight on for the provisional governments of Russian Antarctic. By 1923, the nationalists have ceased control over western Eastern Antarctica (including the major cities of Boersdrop, Mirny, and Vostok). Within a few more years, Allied troops only held control over what would become New Vestfold and much of the Ross Coast. In 1925, an end of the fighting was established in Novopetrograd. With the exception of a few areas, Allied troops would leave Russian Antarctica. Nationalist governments take control over Eastern Antarctica.
Despite the end of Allied occupation, hopes of a fully transantarctic nation soon became dashed. Fighting among the native Ognian peoples soon broke out into a regional civil war. The ongoing civil war also cutoff contact between Eastern Antarctica and Yuzhnaya Zemlya, which would soon fall to communist forces. The subsequent Red Scare in Eastern Antarctica accelerated the formation of a unified government. In September 1926, the five nationalist governments of Lower Vaiood, the Midnight Coast, New Ukraine, Upper Vaiood, and Zamoire came together as the United Governorates of Bellinsgauzenia. The new nation was partially modeled after the fascist movements of Europe (especially that of the Kingdom of Italy under Benito Mussolini). General Sergey Gavrilov would be elected as the nation's first president.
World War II
Under Nationalist rule, Bellinsgauzenia would implement several works projects to help rebuild the colonial infrastructure (much of which had been destroyed during the Civil War). The majority of these projects were to expand and modernize the armed forces of the nation, which was championed by President Sergey Gavrilov, who stated his time in the Russian Imperial Army helped make him and other into better people. It was also no coincidence that the expansion of the military was also inspired by such programs taking place in the Kingdom of Italy (ruled by Benito Mussolini) and later Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. While economic growth slowed during the early years of the Great Depression, Bellinsgauzenia's isolationist policies prevented the depression from crippling the nation as compared to others regions.
Following the election of former Vice President Boris Kovalenko in 1935, the self-imposed isolation of Bellinsgauzenia was laxed in regards to Germany, Italy, and other nationalist governments. The 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin would become the first international games that Bellinsgauzenia would send teams to participate in. It was also during this time that German-designed cycleball would be introduced to Antarctica, which Bellinsgauzenians would soon consider as a national sport.
Along with assimilating their domestic programs, Boris Kovalenko also took to heart the notion of continentalism and the expansion of Bellinsgauzenia by means of force. In 1938, Kovalenko ordered the invasion of Yuzhnaya Zemlya with the hopes of forcing out the communist government and potentially annexing the former Russian colony. Within a year of the invasion, an unrelated revolution breaks out in British-controlled New Swabia, with the former German colony proclaiming a pro-German government. Kovalenko expresses his support for the New Swabians and offers aid in their revolution. These two wars would eventually label Bellinsgauzenia as an Axis sympathizer by the Allied Powers during World War II. Despite Kovalenko expressing his support for the Axis Powers during this time, Bellinsgauzenia would remain out of the conflict, stating they would only declare war if they were directly attacked. Following the unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Empire in 1941, Bellinsgauzenia began to change their outlook in the ongoing conflicts in Antarctica. Rather than risk a war with the Allies, Kovalenko opted for a peaceful solution. In 1944, a treaty was established in which the UK recognizes the independence of New Swabia. In exchange, Bellinsgauzenia agreed to end its war with Yuzhnaya Zemlya (which was demanded by Joseph Stalin).
Bellinsgauzenia, New Swabia, and Spain would become the only fascist states to emerge from World War II in tact (some even referring to the three as the so-called "Fourth World"). Following which, Bellinsgauzenia reinstated its self-imposed isolationism as the Cold War emerged between the United States and the Soviet Union. New Swabia partially becomes a satellite state of Bellinsgauzenia, especially following the establishment of NATO and its alliance with Australia, Eduarda, Maudland, New Devon, New South Greenland, and New Zealand (which includes the nearby Balleny Islands and the Ross Dependency).
Fascism would be short-loved in post-war Bellinsgauzenia, as the atrocities of the Third Reich and other regimes become globally discredited. The fall of Bellinsgauzenian fascism was accelerated in 1951 following the assassination of Boris Kovalenko, who has been in power since the 1930s. The National Party leadership attempts to keep control, but it becomes clear that the people no longer support them. The party dissolves shortly afterwards, with the newly formed Constitution Party filling the political vacuum with a less radical form of conservatism and isolationism. The establishment of a true democracy during the 1950s is regarded as a politically chaotic time in Bellinsgauzenian history. A stagnated economy and global isolationism resulted in the people not trusting their leadership, with a period of single-term rule for the presidency and other offices.
Following decades of containment and internal fighting, the communist government of Yuzhnaya Zemlya collapses in 1969, with the subsequent civil war pitting the minority government forces and the Creole majority. Under the leadership of Presidents Yevgeny Ryakhin and his successor, Vsevolod Onegin strategically aid pro-Bellinsgauzenian forces in the region. Bellinsgauzenia's open participation in the conflict is regarded by many of the nation's equivalent to the Vietnam War, in particular when Onegin supports the deployment of Bellinsgauzenian troops to Yuzhnaya Zemlya in 1972. Combined with economic recession and continued global isolationism, Bellinsgauzenians in the 1970s begin to support a new group known as the Progressives. In 1975, Progressive Oleg Bogomolov is elected to the presidency under the promises of ending the war in Yuzhnaya Zemlya and ending decades of isolationism. The civil war ends in Yuzhnaya Zemlya, which eventually unites with its neighbor to form the Ognian Confederation in 1977. Many of the forces which were aided by Bellinsgauzenia establish a terror organization known as the Russian Continental Army, which aims to liberate the Russian Antarcticans from non-Russian rule. The RCA later becomes notorious for its terrorist attacks in New Devon and Ognia during the 1980s.
Under the presidency of Oleg Bogomolov and the Progressive Party, Bellinsgauzenia begins an era of internationalism. The 1980s would become notorious as an era of first for Bellinsgauzenia, including Bogomolov becoming the first leader to visit the Soviet Union since the nation was established. The decade would also be known for the importing of Soviet and Western culture into the nation, not to mention the rise of tourism. Bogomolov and his successor, Sergey Fomin, would expand Bellinsgauzenia's participation in regional politics. These include negotiating peace in New Devon and New Swabia (both of which suffered political turmoil) and taking a leading role in the Antarctic Green Movement of the late 1980s.
Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Bellinsgauzenia had already emerged as a regional power. Under the leadership of President Svetlana Lopatina (the first woman president in the nation's history) began a new era of economic and military expansion in the nation. The most notorious program of this era was "Operation Scrap," which was an intelligence project whose aim was to acquire personal and technology from the former USSR. Revealed in the late 2000s, the project was successful in purchasing military equipment from Russia (including aircraft carriers, fighter jets, and submarines) and encouraging ex-Soviet scientists to relocate to Bellinsgauzenia. The main justification of the project was to help prevent terror groups or unfriendly nations from acquiring technology, and to give the [now] unemployed scientists a place for them and their families to live and work. Many believe the only goal of these projects were to expand Bellinsgauzenian technology from the dying superpower.
The most globally significant result of "Operation Scrap" came in January 1999 when a nuclear bomb was detonated in the Transantarctic Mountains. The Vostok Project (as it had been known since the 1940s) had finally created a nuclear device, elevating Bellinsgauzenia into the so-called "Nuclear Club." Bellinsgauzenia had previously been suspected of having an active nuclear weapons program and having possibly detonated a device in the 1970s (potentially with help from South Africa and Israel at the time), but it wouldn't be until the 1990s that this became confirmed. The global response was mostly negative, with relations with neighboring New Zealand (which has declared its territories a nuclear-free zone) being partially severed for the next few years following the test.
Throughout the early years of the 21st century, Bellinsgauzenia became an active participant in the Global War on Terrorism, supporting the United States' wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as Russia's second war in Chechnya and the Caucasus. Despite the nation's expanded use of military power, Bellinsgauzenia also began efforts to expand its regional influence with its neighbors. First begun in 1997, an Antarctic Forum was created between Bellinsgauzenia, New Devon, New Swabia, and Ognia. The remaining Antarctic nations eventually join by 2002. The main goals of the AF are to promote intergovernmental co-operation between the member states, and essentially is Antarctica's response to the European Union and NAFTA. Despite being a major contributor to the AF's formation, most Bellinsgauzenians are split on the issue of Antarctic integration and neo-continentalism.
Following the Great Recession in the late 2000s, Bellinsgauzenia's economy suffered, reaching lows unseen since the 1960s. The Progressive Party would see a decline in the 2010s, with Progressive domination ending in 2011 with the election of Bronislav Vroom (of the center-right Constitution Party) to the presidency. Much like in Europe and the United States, conservatism and neo-fascism has seen a rise in popularity in the nation, with the right-wing New National Party becoming the third most popular political party in Bellinsgauzenia. It is also during this time that Bellinsgauzenia becomes a member of the BBRICS nations (which includes Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa), especially with the economy beginning to recover by 2013.
Government and Politics
The United Governorates of Bellinsgauzenia is a constitutional republic and representative democracy. The government of Bellinsgauzenia is structured as a federation and is divided into three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. The President of Bellinsgauzenia acts as the head of state, the head of government, and the commander-in-chief of the military. The highest legislative body of the nation is the Continental Assembly, which is a bicameral legislature comprised of the State Duma (lower house) and the Senate (upper house).
Bellinsgauzenia constitutionally allows for a multiparty system within the nation, but functionally exists as a two-party dominated state. The main political parties include the Constitution Party (which is a center-right political party) and the Progressive Party (a center-left to left-wing political party). The largest minority political parties in the nation include the Continental Party (centrist), the Greens (left-wing), and the New National Party (right-wing); with many regional parties existing across the nation.
Prior to the 1950s, Bellinsgauzenia existed as a single-party state dominated by the National Party (a fascist and nationalist political party) under a quasi-federal structure. The global discrediting of fascism following World War II became a major push for reforms in Bellinsgauzenia.
The armed forces of Bellinsgauzenia is the largest in Antarctica and one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Much of the nation's military traditions stem from the White Movement of the 1920s and from the Third Reich of the 1930s. The armed forces are divided into three main branches: the air force, the army, and the navy. Each governorate separately operates their own militias within their boundaries.
Conscription is required under Bellinsgauzenian law, in which all citizens over the age of 18 must serve in the armed forces for a minimum of two years. Conscripts receive basic military training and participate in military and non-military duties during their tour of duty. Many conscripts choose to continue their participation in the armed forces and may choose to take part in foreign wars. Bellinsgauzenia roughly include an active military strength of roughly 500,000 personnel.
The foreign suppliers of Bellinsgauzenia currently include Germany, the United States, as well as Russia and the former Soviet Union. Though since the 1930s, Bellinsgauzenian companies have produced domesticated hardware.
Under fascist rule, Bellinsgauzenia established good relations with other fascist and nationalist nations in Europe and Latin America. The Third Reich would become the primary partner of Bellinsgauzenia throughout the late 1930s, with both nations becoming the primary supporters for the independence of New Swabia in the 1940s. With the start of the Cold War, Bellinsgauzenia initiated a policy of self-isolationism (with the exception of a few cases). It wouldn't be until the administration of Oleg Bogomolov in the 1970s and '80s in which Bellinsgauzenia adopts an internationalist foreign policy.
As of today, Bellinsgauzenia retains friendly relations with a majority of nations (especially in Antarctica). Relations with the former Soviet Union remained negative until the 1980s, with Bellinsgauzenia becoming a major partner following the collapse of the USSR in 1991. Relations with New Zealand remained mixed, with both nations having positive trading relations but some tensions exist over border disputes (in which Bellinsgauzenia formally claims the Ross Dependency) and their differing views on nuclear power and weapons.
Bellinsgauzenia is one of the founding members of the Antarctic Forum, and remains one of the most influential member states. Bellinsgauzenia, New Devon, New Swabia, and Ognia form a political block in Antarctica which rivals the remaining pro-Western nations. Bellinsgauzenia also holds close relations with the other BBRICS nations (including Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa).
- Main article: Governorates of Bellinsgauzenia
The United Governorates of Bellinsgauzenia is a federal state currently comprised of 10 governorates (Russian: губернии, gubyernii) and one federal district (федеральный округ, fyedyeral'nyy okrug). Bellinsgauzenia was established in 1926 with the unification of five governorates, which previously constituted four oblasts of Russian Antarctica. Five additional governorates were split from the founding five between the 1930s until the 1970s. The Federal Okrug of Concordia was established in the 1930s as a capital district for the nation.
Under its constitution, Bellinsgauzenia proclaims all the territories of Russian Antarctica to be under the nation's claims. Though these claims have gradually been recanted since the 1950s as formal relations and compromises were established. The only exception to this is the Ross Dependency (currently a territory of New Zealand), which Bellinsgauzenia claims as being part of its Ross Coast governorates. Bellinsgauzenia's claims to the Ross Dependency are currently inactive as part of its foreign policy with New Zealand.
Bellinsgauzenia is one of the wealthiest nations in the southern hemisphere. The nation has a market economy which is predominantly privately owned. The national currency of Bellinsgauzenia is the chervonets.
Bellinsgauzenia is the largest energy generator in Antarctica, and one of the largest in the world. The majority of power production is done by domestically obtained coal, natural gas, and petroleum. The governorates of the Ross Sea produce the overwhelming majority of the nation's coal (which is abundant across the Transantarctic Mountains). Bellinsgauzenia lays claims to one of the largest oil reserves on the planet, with the Ross Sea estimated to have a reserve of about 3 billion barrels of curd oil.
Following the Green Movement across Antarctica in the 1980s, Bellinsgauzenia gradually began to transition away from fossil fuels and has look towards alternatives. It was during this time that the civil nuclear power industry saw a rise in popularity by both the energy companies and the citizens. As of 2010, Bellinsgauzenia had 47 nuclear reactors in operation, with about 12 being either proposed or under construction. The expansion of nuclear power throughout the 1990s has become an icon of Bellinsgauzenia in culture, foreign relations, and military.
Despite the rise of nuclear power, Bellinsgauzenia has also began expansions towards renewable energy during this same time. Hydroelectric and thermoelectric together produce over 10% of the nation's power. Construction projects to have been taken since the early 2000s to expand Bellinsgauzenia's power output of solar and wind. The largest project currently underway is the joint Bellinsgauzenian-New Devonian Uranga Energy Park along the border of the two nations. To become one of the largest solar farms on the earth, the site is designed to take advantage of the endless polar days during the summers, and will produce power for residence on both sides of the border.
According to the 2008 census, Bellinsgauzenia had a recorded population of 27,081,694 residence, though current estimates show the population is closer to 29 million (roughly similar in population to Venezuela). The majority of the population is located within 30 km of the Southern Ocean and the Ross Sea.
Much like the other nations of the New World, Bellinsgauzenia has a diverse (melting pot) population comprised mostly of Europeans settlers. The majority of Bellinsgauzenians trace their ancestry to the former Russian Empire; with Armenians, Belarusians, Cossacks, Estonians, Finns, Georgians, Jews, Latvians, Lithuanians, Russians, Poles, and Ukrainians being prominent. Other prominent European peoples include Bulgarians, Czechs, English, Dutch, French, Germans, Greeks, Italians, Spanish, Portuguese, and Yugoslavs. The Dutch especially have a historic presence in Bellinsgauzenia, with those of Dutch and Afrikaner ancestry making up the majority in the Midnight Coast.
Non-Europeans peoples who have an extensive presence in Bellinsgauzenia include Arabs (primarily Egyptians, Lebanese, and Syrians), Ethiopians, Han Chinese, Indians, Iranians, Japanese, Koreans, and Ognians. The Japanese population constitutes the largest non-European group in Bellinsgauzenia, with the nation containing the third largest concentration of Japanese people outside Japan.
Making up about 2% of the population includes the native Maori people of Bellinsgauzenia, most of whom living in the northeastern portions of the nation.
The Russian language is recognized as the sole official language for the federal government of Bellinsgauzenia. Though regionally, Dutch is an official language of the Midnight Coast, while Maori is the official language of several uyezds across the nation. Other languages commonly spoken in Bellinsgauzenia include Armenian, English, German, Japanese, Ognian, Serbo-Croatian, Ukrainian, and Yiddish to name a few.
The standard form of Russian in Bellinsgauzenia is said to have similarities to the Northern Russian dialects, though has been heavily influenced by Dutch and Maori words being introduced into everyday speech. Bellinsgauzenian Russian is also known for continuing some grammar and spelling rules which were standard in the Russian language prior to the reforms of 1918. This is most noted by the constant use of the letter "Ъ" in some Bellinsgauzenian spellings (despite the letter having no sound). Bellinsgauzenian would not officially adopt the language reforms of the Soviet Union until the 1950s, when fascist-rule ended and the Russian language was becoming a global language. Prior to which, there was a minor effort to proclaim a separate "Antarctican language" (similar to the divide between Afrikaans and Dutch).
Within Bellinsgauzenia there exists three main dialects of Bellinsgauzenian Russian: New Ukrainian, Oodavaian, and Rossian. The New Ukrainian dialects are spoken in the western governorates, the Oodavaian dialects are spoken in the south, while the Rossian dialects are spoken in the east. Among the more notorious accents of Bellinsgauzenia is the Transantarctic dialect (within the Rossian group), which is spoken in Novopetrograd and has been regarded by some (especially in Russia) as the personified Bellinsgauzenian dialect.
The largest non-Slavic language of Bellinsgauzenia is Dutch. The Dutch language gains its origins from the early Dutch settlements located in the Midnight Coast. Under Russian rule, the language continued to hold official say in the region as Boer and Dutch settlers were encouraged to settle there. The common dialect of Dutch spoken in Bellinsgauzenia, commonly known as Antarktikaans, has more in common with Afrikaans than standard Dutch spoken in the Netherlands. Despite being an official language within the Midnight Coast, a little more than a quarter of Midnight Coasters states they had any understanding of the Dutch language.
Bellinsgauzenia is a Christian majority nation, with over two-thirds of the nation having some form of affiliation with a Christian church. The largest Christian denomination of Bellinsgauzenia is the Eastern Orthodox Church. Eastern Orthodoxy dates back to the first missions established by the Russian Empire in the early 1800s. Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Russian Orthodoxy across Antarctica became autonomous from Russia. The Antarctic Orthodoxy Church is currently a autocephaly under the Patriarchate of Moscow and all Russia. Under the constitution of Bellinsgauzenia, the Eastern Orthodox Church is granted special statuses within the nation. Despite these special statuses, the freedom of all religious organizations is constitutionally protected.
The second largest Christian denomination is protestantism, which together makes up about a third of the total Christian population. The largest protestant denominations include Calvinism and Lutheranism, with Anglicanism, Baptism, and Methodism having a minor following. The Catholic Church also has a following in the nation.
The largest non-Christian faith in Bellinsgauzenia is Judaism, which gains most of its origins from the Jewish people leaving Eastern Europe following World War II. Buddhism is the third largest religion, followed by Islam and Hinduism. While no longer mainstream, the indigenous religions of the Maori also exist within Bellinsgauzenia. As of the 2006 census, about 27% of Bellinsgauzenians claim to be either irreligious, agnostic, or atheist.
Bellinsgauzenia is only one of only four countries (including Burma, Liberia, and the United States) which has not adopted the metric system, and instead continues to use the Russian Imperial units of measurement. Following the Soviet Union's adoption of the metric system in 1924, the former Russian colonies of Antarctica began to use both metric and Russian Imperial. It wasn't until 1926 that Bellinsgauzenia officially barred the adoption of metric, due in many ways to the new nation's strong opposition to the USSR. A national movement to adopt the metric system took place in the 1990s, but much like in the United States, the majority of Bellinsgauzenians were either unsupportive or indifferent to metrication. Though since the 1990s, a level of metrication has taken place and is comparable to that within the United States (in which both Bellinsgauzenian and metric are shown).
Much like the United States customary units, the Bellinsgauzenian units are similar to many European units of measurement. Many names are similar to their European counterparts (e.g., funt = pound; millia = mile), but the Russo-Bellinsgauzenian units have differing values in comparison. The most noted example is a Bellinsgauzenian millia (mile), which is roughly 7 km (about 5 miles). Whereas the Bellinsgauzenian verst (lit. "turn") is more comparable to a km (0.6 miles) and is thereby the Russo-Bellinsgauzenian choice of distance (especially in directions and vehicle mileage).
Since the 1950s, cycleball has ranked as the most popular sport within the nation. Originating in Germany, the cycleball became active in Bellinsgauzenia during the 1930s as relations between the two countries good. Popularity gradually grew, reaching its zenith in 1979 when Bellinsgauzenia won the UCI World Championship (becoming the first non-European team to do so). Bellinsgauzenia continued to win later championships over the decades, as well as hosted the games in 1994 and 2006. Many have credited the popularity of the games in both Bellinsgauzenia and New Swabia as helping make cycleball more mainstream.