source : World Fact Book 2008 (October 2008)


   Introduction    Belarus
Definition Field Listing 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, Alexandr LUKASHENKO has steadily consolidated his power through authoritarian means. Government restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion continue.
   Geography    Belarus
Definition Field Listing Eastern Europe, east of Poland
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing 53 00 N, 28 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing Europe
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 207,600 sq km
land: 207,600 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing slightly smaller than Kansas
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing total: 3,306 km
border countries: Latvia 171 km, Lithuania 680 km, Poland 605 km, Russia 959 km, Ukraine 891 km
Definition Field Listing 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing none (landlocked)
Definition Field Listing cold winters, cool and moist summers; transitional between continental and maritime
Definition Field Listing generally flat and contains much marshland
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing lowest point: Nyoman River 90 m
highest point: Dzyarzhynskaya Hara 346 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing forests, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, clay
Land use:
Definition Field Listing arable land: 26.77%
permanent crops: 0.6%
other: 72.63% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing 1,310 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
Definition Field Listing 58 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
Definition Field Listing total: 2.79 cu km/yr (23%/47%/30%)
per capita: 286 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing NA
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing soil pollution from pesticide use; southern part of the country contaminated with fallout from 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chornobyl' in northern Ukraine
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing landlocked; glacial scouring accounts for the flatness of Belarusian terrain and for its 11,000 lakes
   People    Belarus
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 9,685,768 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing 0-14 years: 14.4% (male 717,885/female 677,254)
15-64 years: 70.9% (male 3,333,699/female 3,531,920)
65 years and over: 14.7% (male 459,627/female 965,383) (2008 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing total: 38.4 years
male: 35.4 years
female: 41.3 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing -0.393% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 9.62 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 13.92 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0.38 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.48 male(s)/female
total population: 0.87 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 6.53 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.56 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.44 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total population: 70.34 years
male: 64.63 years
female: 76.4 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1.23 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0.3% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 15,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1,000 (2001 est.)
Definition Field Listing noun: Belarusian(s)
adjective: Belarusian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing Belarusian 81.2%, Russian 11.4%, Polish 3.9%, Ukrainian 2.4%, other 1.1% (1999 census)
Definition Field Listing Eastern Orthodox 80%, other (including Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim) 20% (1997 est.)
Definition Field Listing Belarusian, Russian, other
Definition Field Listing definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.6%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.4% (1999 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
Definition Field Listing total: 15 years
male: 14 years
female: 15 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 6.1% of GDP (2006)
   Government    Belarus
Country name:
Definition Field Listing conventional long form: Republic of Belarus
conventional short form: Belarus
local long form: Respublika Byelarus'
local short form: Byelarus'
former: Belorussian (Byelorussian) Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type:
Definition Field Listing republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship
Definition Field Listing name: Minsk
geographic coordinates: 53 54 N, 27 34 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing 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
Definition Field Listing 25 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing Independence Day, 3 July (1944); note - 3 July 1944 was the date Minsk was liberated from German troops, 25 August 1991 was the date of independence from the Soviet Union
Definition Field Listing 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
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing based on civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Definition Field Listing 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing chief of state: President Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (since 20 July 1994)
head of government: Prime Minister Sergey 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 and allowed the president to run in a third election, which was 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:
Definition Field Listing 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 eight members appointed by the president, to serve four-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Palata Predstaviteley (110 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Palata Predstaviteley - last held 28 September 2008 (next to be held fall of 2012); international observers widely denounced the elections as flawed and undemocratic based on massive government falsification; pro-LUKASHENKO candidates won all 110 seats
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:
Definition Field Listing 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)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing pro-government parties: Agrarian Party or AP [Mikhail SHIMANSKY]; Belarusian Communist Party or KPB; Belarusian Patriotic Movement (Belarusian Patriotic Party) or BPR [Nikolay ULAKHOVICH, chairman]; Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus [Sergey GAYDUKEVICH]; Party of Labor and Justice [Viktor SOKOLOV]; Social-Sports Party [Vladimir ALEXANDROVICH]
opposition parties: Belarusian Christian Democracy Party (unregistered) [Pavel SEVERINETS]; Belarusian Party of Communists or PKB [Sergey KALYAKIN]; Belarusian Party of Labor (unregistered) [Aleksandr BUKHVOSTOV, Leonid LEMESHONAK]; Belarusian Popular Front or BPF [Vintsyuk VYACHORKA]; Belarusian Social-Democratic Gramada [Stanislav SHUSHKEVICH]; Belarusian Social Democratic Party Hramada (People's Assembly) or BSDPH [Aleksandr KOZULIN; Anatoliy LEVKOVICH, acting]; Green Party [Oleg GROMYKO]; Party of Freedom and Progress (unregistered) [Vladimir NOVOSYAD]; United Civic Party or UCP [Anatoliy LEBEDKO]; Women's Party "Nadezhda" [Valentina MATUSEVICH, chairperson]
other opposition includes: Christian Conservative BPF [Zyanon PAZNIAK]; Ecological Party of Greens [Mikhail KARTASH]; Party of Popular Accord [Sergey YERMAKK]; Republican Party [Vladimir BELAZOR]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs [Sergey MATSKEVICH]; Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions [Aleksandr YAROSHUK]; Belarusian Helsinki Committee [Tatiana PROTKO]; Belarusian Organization of Working Women [Irina ZHIKHAR]; Charter 97 [Andrey SANNIKOV]; For Freedom (unregistered) [Aleksandr MILINKEVICH]; Lenin Communist Union of Youth (youth wing of the Belarusian Party of Communists or PKB); National Strike Committee of Entrepreneurs [Aleksandr VASILYEV, Valery LEVONEVSKY]; Partnership NGO [Nikolay ASTREYKA]; Perspektiva kiosk watchdog NGO [Anatol SHUMCHENKO]; Vyasna [Ales BYALATSKY]; Women's Independent Democratic Movement [Ludmila PETINA]; Youth Front (Malady Front) [Dmitriy DASHKEVICH, Sergey BAKHUN]; Zubr youth group [Vladimir KOBETS]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing chief of mission: Ambassador Mikhail KHVOSTOV
chancery: 1619 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 986-1604
FAX: [1] (202) 986-1805
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing chief of mission: Ambassador Karen B. STEWART
embassy: 46 Starovilenskaya Street, Minsk 220002
mailing address: PSC 78, Box B Minsk, APO 09723
telephone: [375] (17) 210-12-83, 217-7347, 217-7348
FAX: [375] (17) 234-7853
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing red horizontal band (top) and green horizontal band one-half the width of the red band; a white vertical stripe on the hoist side bears Belarusian national ornamentation in red
   Economy    Belarus
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing 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. Since 2005, the government has 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. Nevertheless, GDP growth has been strong in recent years, reaching nearly 7% in 2007, despite the roadblocks of a tough, centrally directed economy with a high, but decreasing, rate of inflation. Belarus receives heavily discounted oil and natural gas from Russia and much of Belarus' growth can be attributed to the re-export of Russian oil at market prices. Trade with Russia - by far its largest single trade partner - decreased in 2007, largely as a result of a change in the way the Value Added Tax (VAT) on trade was collected. Russia has introduced an export duty on oil shipped to Belarus, which will increase gradually through 2009, and a requirement that Belarusian duties on re-exported Russian oil be shared with Russia - 80% will go to Russia in 2008, and 85% in 2009. Russia also increased Belarusian natural gas prices from $47 per thousand cubic meters (tcm) to $100 per tcm in 2007, and plans to increase prices gradually to world levels by 2011. Russia's recent policy of bringing energy prices for Belarus to world market levels may result in a slowdown in economic growth in Belarus over the next few years. Some policy measures, including tightening of fiscal and monetary policies, improving energy efficiency, and diversifying exports, have been introduced, but external borrowing has been the main mechanism used to manage the growing pressures on the economy.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $103.5 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing $44.77 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 8.2% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $10,600 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing agriculture: 8.7%
industry: 40.6%
services: 50.6% (2007 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 4.3 million (31 December 2005)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing agriculture: 14%
industry: 34.7%
services: 51.3% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1.6% officially registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers (2005)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing 27.1% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing lowest 10%: 3.4%
highest 10%: 23.5% (2002)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing 29.7 (2002)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 8.4% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 30.8% of GDP (2007 est.)
Definition Field Listing revenues: $20.75 billion
expenditures: $20.87 billion (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk
Definition Field Listing metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, televisions, synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 5% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 29.08 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 29.49 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing 5.053 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing 9.091 billion kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 33,700 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 156,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 249,900 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 378,200 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 198 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 165 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 19.47 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 19.31 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2.716 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order -$2.876 billion (2007 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $24.47 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing Russia 36.5%, Netherlands 17.8%, UK 6.3%, Ukraine 6.1%, Poland 5%, Latvia 4.1% (2007)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $28.32 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing Russia 59.9%, Germany 7.6%, Ukraine 5.4% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing $53.76 million (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $4.266 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $7.347 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $NA
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing Belarusian ruble (BYB/BYR)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing Belarusian rubles per US dollar - 2,145 (2007), 2,144.6 (2006), 2,150 (2005), 2,160.26 (2004), 2,051.27 (2003)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing calendar year
   Communications    Belarus
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 3.672 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 5.96 million (2006)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing 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; fixed-line teledensity of roughly 35 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone density of about 60 per 100 persons; modernization of the network progressing with roughly two-thirds of switching equipment now digital
domestic: fixed-line penetration is improving although rural areas continue to be underserved; 3 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); 3 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 (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing AM 28, FM 37, shortwave 11 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing 47 (plus 27 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing .by
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 20,685 (2007)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 6 million (2007)
   Transportation    Belarus
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 67 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing total: 36
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 22
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 7 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing total: 31
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 27 (2007)
Definition Field Listing 1 (2007)
Definition Field Listing gas 5,250 km; oil 1,528 km; refined products 1,730 km (2007)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 5,512 km
broad gauge: 5,497 km 1.520-m gauge (874 km electrified)
standard gauge: 15 km 1.435 m (2006)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 94,797 km
paved: 84,028 km
unpaved: 10,769 km (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2,500 km (use limited by location on perimeter of country and by shallowness) (2003)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing Mazyr
   Military    Belarus
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing Belarus Armed Forces: Land Force, Air and Air Defense Force (2008)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing 18-27 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2005)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing males age 16-49: 2,491,643
females age 16-49: 2,528,779 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing males age 16-49: 1,727,974
females age 16-49: 2,093,106 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
Definition Field Listing male: 64,232
female: 60,788 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1.4% of GDP (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Belarus
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing Boundary demarcated with Latvia and Lithuania in 2006; 1997 boundary delimitation treaty with Ukraine remains unratified over unresolved financial claims, preventing demarcation and diminishing border security
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing 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

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Source : CIA's World Fact Book 2008

Since 2003, January 19