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Belarus Facts

Belarus Facts | Republic of Belarus Information | Belarus Statistics | Belorussian (Byelorussian) Soviet Socialist R

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 BELARUSIAN POLITICAL
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Background: After seven decades as a constituent republic of the USSR, Belarus attained its independence in 1991. It has retained closer political and economic ties to Russia than any of the other former Soviet republics. Belarus and Russia signed a treaty on a two-state union on 8 December 1999 envisioning greater political and economic integration. Although Belarus agreed to a framework to carry out the accord, serious implementation has yet to take place. Since his election in July 1994 as the country's first president, Alexander LUKASHENKO has steadily consolidated his power through authoritarian means. Government restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion continue.
 
 
Common Name: Belarus Local Official Name: Belarus
Abbreviated Name: Republic of Belarus Official Name: Respublika Byelarus'
Official Script Name: Belarus Local Common Name: Belarus
Former Name: Belorussian (Byelorussian) Soviet Socialist R Territory of: NA
 
Head of State: President Aleksandr LUKASHENKO
 
Government Type: republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship
 
Independence: 1991 August 25 (from Soviet Union)
 
Constitution: 15 March 1994; revised by national referendum of 24 November 1996 giving the presidency greatly expanded powers and became effective 27 November 1996; revised again 17 October 2004 removing presidential term limits
 
National Holiday: Independence Day, 3 July
 
International Organization Participation: CEI, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, NSG, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO (observer)
 
Administrative Divisions: 6 provinces (voblastsi, singular - voblasts') and 1 municipality* (horad); Brest, Homyel', Horad Minsk*, Hrodna, Mahilyow, Minsk, Vitsyebsk note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers
 
Dependent Areas: NA
 
Legal System: based on civil law system
 
Suffrage: 18 years
 
Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches: Executive Branch: chief of state: President Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (since 20 July 1994) head of government: Prime Minister Sergei SIDORSKIY (since 19 December 2003); First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir SEMASHKO (since December 2003) cabinet: Council of Ministers elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; first election took place 23 June and 10 July 1994; according to the 1994 constitution, the next election should have been held in 1999, however, Aleksandr LUKASHENKO extended his term to 2001 via a November 1996 referendum; subsequent election held 9 September 2001; an October 2004 referendum ended presidential term limits allowing president to run in a third election held on 19 March 2006; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president election results: Aleksandr LUKASHENKO reelected president; percent of vote - Aleksandr LUKASHENKO 82.6%, Aleksandr MILINKEVICH 6%, Aleksandr KOZULIN 2.3%; note - election marred by electoral fraud Legislative Branch; bicameral National Assembly or Natsionalnoye Sobranie consists of the Council of the Republic or Soviet Respubliki (64 seats; 56 members elected by regional councils and 8 members appointed by the president, all for four-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Palata Predstaviteley (110 seats; members elected by universal adult suffrage to serve four-year terms) elections: last held 17 and 31 October 2004; international observers widely denounced the elections as flawed and undemocratic, based on massive government falsification; pro-LUKASHENKO candidates won every seat, after many opposition candidates were disqualified for technical reasons election results: Soviet Respubliki - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; Palata Predstaviteley - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA Judicial Branch: Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president); Constitutional Court (half of the judges appointed by the president and half appointed by the Chamber of Representatives)
 
Party Leaders: pro-government parties: Agrarian Party or AP [Mikhail SHIMANSKY]; Belarusian Communist Party or KPB; Belarusian Patriotic Movement (Belarusian Patriotic Party) or BPR [Nikolai ULAKHOVICH, chairman]; Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus [Sergei GAYDUKEVICH]; Party of Labor and Justice [Viktor SOKOLOV]; Social-Sports Party [Vladimir ALEXANDROVICH] opposition parties: 10 Plus Coalition [Alyaksandr MILINKEVICH], includes: Belarusian Party of Communists or PKB [Syarhey KALYAKIN]; Belarusian Party of Labor (unregistered) [Aleksandr BUKHVOSTOV, Leonid LEMESHONAK]; Belarusian Popular Front or BPF [Vintsyuk VYACHORKA]; Belarusian Social-Democratic Gramada [Stanislav SHUSHKEVICH]; Green Party [Oleg GROMYKO]; Party of Freedom and Progress (unregistered) [Vladimir NOVOSYAD]; United Civic Party or UCP [Anatol LYABEDKA]; Women's Party "Nadezhda" [Valentina MATUSEVICH, chairperson] other opposition includes: Belarusian Social-Democratic Party Nardonaya Hromada or BSDP NH [Alyaksandr KOZULIN, chairman]; Christian Conservative BPF [Zyanon PAZNIAK]; Ecological Party of Greens [Mikhail KARTASH]; Party of Popular Accord [Sergei YERMAKK]; Republican Party [Vladimir BELAZOR]
 
International Disputes: 1997 boundary treaty with Ukraine remains unratified over unresolved financial claims, preventing demarcation and diminishing border security; the whole boundary with Latvia and more than half the boundary with Lithuania remains undemarcated; discussions toward economic and political union with Russia proceed slowly
 
Illicit Drugs: limited cultivation of opium poppy and cannabis, mostly for the domestic market; transshipment point for illicit drugs to and via Russia, and to the Baltics and Western Europe; a small and lightly regulated financial center; new anti-money-laundering legislation does not meet international standards; few investigations or prosecutions of money-laundering activities 
 
 
 BELARUSIAN GEOGRAPHY
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Location of Belarus: Eastern Europe, east of Poland
 
Continent: Europe Land Area Total: 207,600 sq km 
Region: Eastern Europe Land Area Land: 207,600 sq km
Capitol City: Minsk Land Area Water: 0 sq km
      
Latitude: 053 00 N Border Boundary Land: 2,900 km
Longitude: 028 00 E Border Boundary Coastline: 0 km 
  
Arable Land: 26.77 % Pastures: 0.00 %
Crops: 0.60 % Woodlands and Forests: 0.00
  
Highest Elevation: 346 m Location: Dzyarzhynskaya Hara
Lowest Elevation: 90 m Location: Nyoman River
  
Largest City in Belarus: Minsk Minsk Largest City Population: 1,758,000
  
Threatened Species: 15
 
Environmental Issues: soil pollution from pesticide use; southern part of the country contaminated with fallout from 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chornobyl' in northern Ukraine
 
Environmental Agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
 
Irrigated Land: 1,310
 
Bordering Countries: Latvia 141 km, Lithuania 502 km, Poland 407 km, Russia 959 km, Ukraine 891 km
 
Natural Resources: forests, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, clay
 
Geographical Terrain: generally flat and contains much marshland
 
Comparative Area of Belarus: slightly smaller than Kansas
 
Belarus's Geography: landlocked; glacial scouring accounts for the flatness of Belarusian terrain and for its 11,000 lakes
 

 BELARUSIAN CLIMATE
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General Climate: cold winters, cool and moist summers; transitional between continental and maritime
 
Natural Hazards: NA
 
 
 BELARUSIAN ECONOMY
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Economic Overview: Belarus's economy in 2005 posted 8% growth. The government has succeeded in lowering inflation over the past several years. Trade with Russia - by far its largest single trade partner - decreased in 2005, largely as a result of a change in the way the Value Added Tax (VAT) on trade was collected. Trade with European countries increased. Belarus has seen little structural reform since 1995, when President LUKASHENKO launched the country on the path of "market socialism." In keeping with this policy, LUKASHENKO reimposed administrative controls over prices and currency exchange rates and expanded the state's right to intervene in the management of private enterprises. During 2005, the government re-nationalized a number of private companies. In addition, businesses have been subject to pressure by central and local governments, e.g., arbitrary changes in regulations, numerous rigorous inspections, retroactive application of new business regulations, and arrests of "disruptive" businessmen and factory owners. A wide range of redistributive policies has helped those at the bottom of the ladder; the Gini coefficient is among the lowest in the world. Because of these restrictive economic policies, Belarus has had trouble attracting foreign investment, which remains low. Growth has been strong in recent years, despite the roadblocks in a tough, centrally directed economy with a high, but decreasing, rate of inflation. Belarus continues to receive heavily discounted oil and natural gas from Russia. Much of Belarus' growth can be attributed to the re-export of Russian oil at market prices.
 
 
GDP: $70,680,000,000 USD Currency: Belarusian ruble
GDP per Capita: $6,900 USD Currency Code: BYB/B
GDP Growth Rate: 8.00 %
  
Currency Exchange Rate History: Belarusian rubles per US dollar - 2,150 (2005), 2,160.26 (2004), 2,051.27 (2003), 1,790.92 (2002), 1,390 (2001)
  
  
GDP of Agriculture: 9.30 % GDP of Industry: 31.60 %
GDP of Services: 59.10 %  
   
Inflation Rate: 10.30 % Population in Poverty: 27.10 %
Unemployment Rate: 1.60 % Tourism: 355,000.00 visitors each year
   
Consumption by lowest 10%: 5.10 % Budget Revenue in USD: $5,903,000,000 USD
Consumption by upper 10%: 20.00 % Budget Expenditures in USD: $6,343,000,000 USD
   
Electricity Production: 30,000,000,000 kWh Electricity Exports: 800,000,000 kWh
Electricity Consumption: 34,300,000,000 kWh Electricity Imports: 7,000,000,000 kWh

Electricity Production by Source:
 
Fossil Fuel Electricity Production: 99.51% Nuclear Electricity Production: 0.00%
Hydro Electricity Production: 0.08% Other Electricity Production: 0.41%
   
Oil Production: 36,000 barrels per day Natural Gas Production: 250,000,000 cu m
Oil Consumption: 252,000 barrels per day Natural Gas Consumption: 20,500,000,000 cu m
Oil Exports: 14,500 barrels per day Natural Gas Exports: 0 cu m
Oil Imports: 360,000 barrels per day Natural Gas Imports: 20,500,000,000 cu m
Proven Oil Reserves: 0 barrels Proven Natural Gas Reserves: 0 cu m
   
External Debt: $4,662,000,000 USD Received in economic aid: $194,300,000 USD
  Donated in economic aid: $0 USD
   
Agricultural Products: grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk
 
Primary Industries: metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, televisions, chemical fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators
 
Industrial Growth Rate: 15.60 %
  
  
Import Amount in USD: $16,940,000,000 USD - mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals
 
Import Partners: Russia 57.9%, Germany 9.7%, Ukraine 6.4%, Poland 5.2%
 
Export Amount in USD: $16,140,000,000 USD - machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
 
Export Partners: Russia 38.5%, Ukraine 7.8%, Poland 7.1%, Latvia 4.2%, UK 4.1%, China 4.1%
 
    
GINI Index: 30.40%
 
Labor Force Number of People: 4,300,000
 
Labor Force by Occupations: agriculture: 14%, industry: 34.7%, services: 51.3%
 
  
 BELARUSIAN COMMUNICATIONS
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Radio Broadcast Stations: 76 Number of People with Radios: 3,020,000
Television Broadcast Stations: 47 Number of People with Televisions: 2,520,000
Number of People with Mainline Telephones: 3,284,300 Number of People with Mobile Phones: 2,147,483,647
 
Internet Service Providers: 20,937 Internet Users: 1,600,000
 
Internet Country Code: .by Newspapers: 152
Two Letter Country Code: BO Weights and Measures:
Phone Country Code: 375 Electricity Voltage: 220 Volts
  
Telephone Systems: general assessment: Belarus lags behind its neighbors in upgrading telecommunications infrastructure; state-owned Beltelcom, is the sole provider of fixed line local and long distance service; modernization of the network to digital switching progressing slowly domestic: fixed line penetration is improving although rural areas continue to be underserved; four GSM wireless networks are experiencing rapid growth; strict government controls on telecommunications technologies international: country code - 375; Belarus is a member of the Trans-European Line (TEL), Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic line, and has access to the Trans-Siberia Line (TSL); three fiber-optic segments provide connectivity to Latvia, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine; worldwide service is available to Belarus through this infrastructure; additional analog lines to Russia; Intelsat, Eutelsat, and Intersputnik earth stations
 
  
 BELARUSIAN TRANSPORTATION
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Highways: 66,100 km Railways: 5,512 km
Gas And Oil Pipelines: 9,352 km Waterways: 2,500 km
Airports: 41 Heliports: 1
 
Motor Vehicles: 132 per 1,000 people CO2 Emissions: 103,609,000 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  Per capita CO2 emissions: 5.90 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  
Merchant Marines: NA
 
Ports and Harbors: Mazyr
 
  
 BELARUSIAN PEOPLE
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Population: 10,293,011 people type - nationality Birth Rate: 11.16 births per 1,000 people
Population Density: 48.00 people per sq km Death Rate: 14.02 deaths per 1,000 people
Population Growth: -0.06% per year Fertility Rate per Women: 1.43 babies born per woman
 
Population Male 0-14: 825,823 Population Female 0-14: 791,741
Population Male 15-64: 3,490,442 Population Female 15-64: 3,682,950
Population Male 65+: 498,976 Population Female 65+: 1,003,079
 
Population 0-14: 15.70% Literacy Rate: 99.60%
Population 15-64: 69.70% Literacy rate of Males: 99.80%
Population 65+: 14.60% Literacy rate of Females: 99.50%
 
Population that is Male: 44.00 % Population that is Female: 56.00%
Life expectancy at birth in years: 69.08 years Infant mortality rate - baby deaths per 1000 births: 13.00 Babies die per 1,000 births
Life expectancy at birth for Males: 6.47 years Life expectancy at birth for Females: 74.98 years
 
Rate of AIDS/HIV infection: 0.30% Number of people living with AIDS or HIV: 15,000
Number of people who died of AIDS: 1,000
   
Disease Risk:
 
Diseases:
 
Net Migration Rate per 1,000 people: 2.30
 
Nationality: BELARUSIAN
 
Ethnic Groups: Belarusian 81.2%, Russian 11.4%, Polish 3.9%, Ukrainian 2.4%, other 1.1% 
 
  
Primary Language: Belarusian
 
Other Languages: Belarusian, Russian, other
 
 
Primary Religion: Eastern Orthodox
 
Other Religions: Eastern Orthodox 80%, other (including Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim) 20%
 
  
 BELARUSIAN MILITARY
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Branches: Belarus Armed Forces: Land Force, Air and Air Defense Force
 
Manpower Fit to Serve: 18 years
 
Manpower Available: 5,085,340 People
 
Manpower Fit to Serve: 3,760,777 People
 
Amount of Manpower Available each Year: 167,239 People per year
 
Expenditures: $420,500,000 USD per year
 
Expenditures as a Percentage of GDP: 1.40
 
 
Note: Phrasebase uses a variety of sources when compiling the facts and information presented above. This information is continually updated throughout the year.
 BELARUSIAN RESOURCES
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