The idea of the paper is to show the historical changes that took place in the social and ethnic structure of Minsk during the past two centuries and discuss how these changes have influenced the social capital of the city dwellers. In the 19th century Minsk radically changed its structure: it underwent a civilization shift. After partitions of Poland, Minsk was forcefully turned from the Central European political and cultural environment into a Russian provincial city. Polish population decreased, while Russian military and bureaucracy grew. Still, Jewish population dominated while Belarussian ethnic group was very small among the city dwellers. By the end of the 19th century Minsk experienced industrial development, therefore the working class increased. Social capital of the population grew steadily. Then, through the whole 20th century, Minsk experienced even more radi- cal transformation: there were two large social shifts: from capitalism to socialism, and back to capitalism. After WWII, Jewish population of the city shrank, while Belarusian population increased. Contemporary Minsk, still being a typical city of the Central-Eastern European borderland, can be considered as one of many other cities of this region. Social capital of its dwellers has typical features of the borderland region.