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Introduction - Belarus:
BackgroundAfter 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 countrys 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.
Location - Belarus:
LocationEastern Europe, east of Poland
Geographic coordinates53 00 N, 28 00 E
Map referencesEurope
Areatotal: 207,600 sq km
land: 207,600 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area comparativeslightly smaller than Kansas
Land boundariestotal: 2,900 km
border countries: Latvia 141 km, Lithuania 502 km, Poland 407 km, Russia 959 km, Ukraine 891 km
Coastline0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claimsnone (landlocked)
Climatecold winters, cool and moist summers; transitional between continental and maritime
Terraingenerally flat and contains much marshland
Elevation extremeslowest point: Nyoman River 90 m
highest point: Dzyarzhynskaya Hara 346 m
Natural resourcesforests, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, clay
Land usearable land: 26.77%
permanent crops: 0.6%
other: 72.63% (2005)
Irrigated land1,310 sq km (2003)
Natural hazardsNA
Environment current issuessoil pollution from pesticide use; southern part of the country contaminated with fallout from 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chornobyl in northern Ukraine
Environment international agreementsparty 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 notelandlocked; glacial scouring accounts for the flatness of Belarusian terrain and for its 11,000 lakes
People - Belarus:
Population9,724,723 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 14.7% (male 733,010/female 691,734)
15-64 years: 70.4% (male 3,327,119/female 3,520,690)
65 years and over: 14.9% (male 471,863/female 980,307) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 38.2 years
male: 35.1 years
female: 41.1 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate-0.41% (2007 est.)
Birth rate9.5 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate13.98 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate0.38 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.945 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.481 male(s)/female
total population: 0.873 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 6.63 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.67 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 70.05 years
male: 64.31 years
female: 76.14 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate1.22 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rate0.3% (2001 est.)
Hiv aids people living with hiv aids15,000 (2001 est.)
Hiv aids deaths1,000 (2001 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Belarusian(s)
adjective: Belarusian
Ethnic groupsBelarusian 81.2%, Russian 11.4%, Polish 3.9%, Ukrainian 2.4%, other 1.1% (1999 census)
ReligionsEastern Orthodox 80%, other (including Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim) 20% (1997 est.)
LanguagesBelarusian, Russian, other
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.6%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.4% (1999 census)
Government - Belarus:
Country nameconventional 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 typerepublic in name, although in fact a dictatorship
Capitalname: 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 divisions6 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
Independence25 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holidayIndependence 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
Constitution15 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 systembased on civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief 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 NA 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 branchbicameral 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: 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 branchSupreme 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 leaderspro-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 [Aleksandr 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]; Womens Party Nadezhda [Valentina MATUSEVICH, chairperson]
other opposition includes: Belarusian Social-Democratic Party (Peoples Assembly) or BSDP NH [Aleksandr KOZULIN]; Christian Conservative BPF [Zyanon PAZNIAK]; Ecological Party of Greens [Mikhail KARTASH]; Party of Popular Accord [Sergei YERMAKK]; Republican Party [Vladimir BELAZOR]
Political pressure groups and leadersAssembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs [Sergey MATSKEVICH]; Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions [Alyaksandr YAROSHUK]; Belarusian Helsinki Committee [Tatiana PROTKO]; Belarusian Organization of Working Women [Irina ZHIKHAR]; Charter 97 [Andrey SANNIKOV]; 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]; Womens Independent Democratic Movement [Ludmila PETINA]; Youth Front (Malady Front) [Dzmitryy DASHKEVICH, Syarhey BAKHUN]; Zubr youth group [Vladimir KOBETS]
Diplomatic representation in the uschief 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 uschief 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 descriptionred 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 overviewBelaruss economy in 2006 posted more than 8% growth. Trade with Russia - by far its largest single trade partner - decreased in 2006, 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 states 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, 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 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. This growth will be threatened in 2007, however, when Russia raises energy prices closer to world market prices for Belarus. Russia is planning to increase Belarusian gas prices from $47 per thousand cubic meters (tcm) to $100 per tcm for 2007, gradually increasing to world prices by 2011. Russia has also 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 - 70% will go to Russia in 2007, 80% in 2008, and 85% in 2009.
Gdp purchasing power parity $82.94 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $28.98 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp real growth rate9.9% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $8,100 (2006 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 9.3%
industry: 31.6%
services: 59.1% (2005 est.)
Labor force4.3 million (31 December 2005)
Labor force by occupationagriculture: 14%
industry: 34.7%
services: 51.3% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate1.6% officially registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers (2005)
Population below poverty line27.1% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 5.1%
highest 10%: 20% (1998)
Distribution of family income gini index30.4 (2000)
Inflation rate consumer prices 9.5% (2006 est.)
Investment gross fixed 25.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $6.578 billion
expenditures: $7.164 billion; including capital expenditures of $180 million (2006 est.)
Agriculture productsgrain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk
Industriesmetal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, televisions, chemical fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators
Industrial production growth rate15.6% (2005 est.)
Electricity production29.33 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity consumption31.05 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity exports4.723 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity imports8.5 billion kWh (2004)
Oil production34,260 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil consumption165,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil exports249,900 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil imports378,200 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil proved reserves198 million bbl
Natural gas production180 million cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption20.5 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas exports0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas imports16.22 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance-$511.8 million (2006 est.)
Exports$19.61 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports commoditiesmachinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports partnersRussia 34.7%, Netherlands 17.7%, UK 7.5%, Ukraine 6.3%, Poland 5.2% (2006)
Imports$21.12 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports commoditiesmineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals
Imports partnersRussia 58.6%, Germany 7.5%, Ukraine 5.5% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$1.329 billion (2006 est.)
Debt external$5.498 billion (30 June 2006 est.)
Economic aid recipient$194.3 million (1995)
Currency code Belarusian ruble (BYB/BYR)
Exchange ratesBelarusian rubles per US dollar - 2,144.6 (2006), 2,150 (2005), 2,160.26 (2004), 2,051.27 (2003), 1,790.92 (2002)
Communications - Belarus:
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Telephones main lines in use3.368 million (2006)
Telephones mobile cellular5.96 million (2006)
Telephone systemgeneral 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; 4 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
Radio broadcast stationsAM 28, FM 37, shortwave 11 (1998)
Television broadcast stations47 (plus 27 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country
Internet hosts33,641 (2006)
Internet users5.478 million (2006)
Transportation - Belarus:
Airports86 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 41
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: 12 (2006)
Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 45
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 35 (2006)
Heliports1 (2006)
Pipelinesgas 5,223 km; oil 2,321 km; refined products 1,686 km (2006)
Railwaystotal: 5,512 km
broad gauge: 5,497 km 1.520-m gauge (874 km electrified)
standard gauge: 15 km 1.435 m (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 93,310 km
paved: 81,180 km
unpaved: 12,130 km (2004)
Waterways2,500 km (use limited by location on perimeter of country and by shallowness) (2003)
Ports and terminalsMazyr
Military - Belarus:
Military branchesBelarus Armed Forces: Land Force, Air and Air Defense Force (2006)
Military service age and obligation18-27 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2005)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 2,520,644
females age 18-49: 2,564,696 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 1,657,984
females age 18-49: 2,102,793 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annuallymales age 18-49: 85,202
females age 18-49: 82,037 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures percent of gdp1.4% (2005 est.)
Disputes internationalas of January 2007, ground demarcations of the boundaries with Latvia and Lithuania were complete and mapped with final ratification documentation in preparation; 1997 boundary delimitation treaty with Ukraine remains unratified over unresolved financial claims, preventing demarcation and diminishing border security
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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