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Central Intelligence Agency
World Factbook page on Belarus

Belarus

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Map

Location: 53 00 N, 28 00 E -- Eastern Europe, east of Poland

Flag

Description: red horizontal band (top) and green horizontal band one-half the width of the red band; a white vertical stripe of white on the hoist side bears in red the Belarusian national ornament


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Geography

Location: Eastern Europe, east of Poland
Geographic coordinates: 53 00 N, 28 00 E
Map references: Commonwealth of Independent States
Area:
total area: 207,600 sq km
land area: 207,600 sq km
comparative area: slightly smaller than Kansas
Land boundaries:
total: 3,098 km
borders: Latvia 141 km, Lithuania 502 km, Poland 605 km, Russia 959 km, Ukraine 891 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
International disputes: none
Climate: cold winters, cool and moist summers; transitional between continental and maritime
Terrain: generally flat and contains much marshland
lowest point: Nyoman River 90 m
highest point: Dzyarzhynskaya Hara 346 m
Natural resources: forests, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas
Land use:
arable land: 29%
permanent crops: 1%
meadows and pastures: 15%
forest and woodland: 0%
other: 55%
Irrigated land: 1,490 sq km (1990)
Environment:
current issues: soil pollution from pesticide use; southern part of the country contaminated with fallout from 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chornobyl'
natural hazards: NA
international agreements: party to - Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Biodiversity, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection; signed, but not ratified - Climate Change, Law of the Sea
Geographic note: landlocked
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People

Population: 10,415,973 (July 1996 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 21% (male 1,136,499; female 1,090,101)
15-64 years: 66% (male 3,334,077; female 3,536,982)
65 years and over: 13% (male 429,574; female 888,740) (July 1996 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.2% (1996 est.)
Birth rate: 12.15 births/1,000 population (1996 est.)
Death rate: 13.64 deaths/1,000 population (1996 est.)
Net migration rate: 3.51 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1996 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.48 male(s)/female
all ages: 0.89 male(s)/female (1996 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 13.4 deaths/1,000 live births (1996 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 68.57 years
male: 63.2 years
female: 74.21 years (1996 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.69 children born/woman (1996 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Belarusian(s)
adjective: Belarusian
Ethnic divisions: Byelorussian 77.9%, Russian 13.2%, Polish 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.9%, other 1.9%
Religions: Eastern Orthodox 60%, other (including Roman Catholic and Muslim) 40% (early 1990's)
Languages: Byelorussian, Russian, other
Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1989 est.)
total population: 98%
male: 99%
female: 97%
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Government

Name of country:
conventional long form: Republic of Belarus
conventional short form: Belarus
local long form: Respublika Byelarus'
local short form: none
former: Belorussian (Byelorussian) Soviet Socialist Republic
Data code: BO
Type of government: republic
Capital: Minsk
Administrative divisions: 6 voblastsi (singular - voblasts') and one municipality* (harady, singular - horad); Brestskaya (Brest), Homyel'skaya (Homyel'), Horad Minsk*, Hrodzyenskaya (Hrodna), Mahilyowskaya (Mahilyow), Minskaya, Vitsyebskaya (Vitsyebsk)
note: the administrative centers of the voblastsi are included in parentheses
Independence: 25 August 1991 (from Soviet Union); the Belarussian Supreme Soviet issued a proclamation of independence; on 17 July 1990 Belarus issued a declaration of sovereignty
National holiday: Independence Day, 27 July (1990)
Constitution: adopted 15 March 1994; replaces constitution of April 1978
Legal system: based on civil law system
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (since 20 July 1994) was elected for a five-year term by popular vote; election last held 24 June and 10 July 1994 (next to be held NA 1999); results - Aleksandr LUKASHENKO 85%, Vyacheslav KEBICH 15%
head of government: Prime Minister Mikhail CHIGIR (since NA July 1994) was appointed by the president; Deputy Prime Ministers Vladimir GARKUN (since NA), Sergey LING (since NA), Leonid SINITSYN (since NA), Valeriy KOKAREV (since NA), Vladimir RUSAKEVICH (since NA)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
note: first presidential elections took place in June-July 1994
Legislative branch: unicameral
Supreme Soviet: elections last held May, Nov-Dec 1995 (two rounds, each with a run-off; next to be held NA 2000); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (260 total) KPB 42, Agrarian 33, CAB 9, Party of People's Concord 8, UPNAZ 2, SDPB 2, BPR 1, Green Party 1, Republican Party of Labor and Justice 1, BSP 1, NFB 1, Social and Sports Party 1, Ecological Party 1, independents 95, vacant 62
Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president; Constitutional Court
Political parties and leaders: Belarusian Communist Party (KPB), Vasiliy NOVIKOV, Viktor CHIKIN, chairmen; Agrarian Party, Semen SHARETSKIY; Civic Accord Bloc (CAB); Party of People's Concord, Gennadiy KARPENKO; Party of All-Belarusian Unity and Concord (UPNAZ), Dmitriy BULAKOV; Belarusian Social-Democrat Hramada (SDBP), Alex TRUSOV; Belarusian Patriotic Movement (BPR), Anatol BARANKEVICH; Green Party of Belarus, Mikalay KARTASH; Republican Party of Labor and Justice, Anatol NETSILKIN; Belarus Peasants (BSP), Yevgeniy LUGIN, chairman; Belarusian Popular Front (NFB), Zenon POZNYAK, chairman; Belarusian Social Sports Party, Vladimir ALEKSANDROVICH; Ecological Party, Aleksiy MIKULICH; National Democratic Party of Belarus (NDPB), Victor NAVUMENKA; United Democratic Party of Belarus (ADPB), Aleksandr DOBROVOLSKIY; Belarusian Socialist Party (SPB), Vyacheslav KUZNETSOV; Slavic Assembly (SAB), Nikolai SYARECHEV; Liberal-Democratic Party (LDPB), Vasil KRIVENKA; Belarusian Christian-Democratic Unity (BKDZ), Petr SILKO; Polish Democratic Union (PDZ), Konstantin TARASEVICH; Party of Beer Lovers, Yuriy GONCHAR; Belarusian Labor Party (BPP), Aleksandr BUKHVOSTOV
International organization participation: CCC, CE (guest), CIS, EBRD, ECE, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NACC, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (applicant)
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Sergey Nikolayevich MARTYNOV
chancery: 1619 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 986-1604
FAX: [1] (202) 986-1805
consulate(s) general: New York
US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Kenneth Spencer YALOWITZ
embassy: Starovilenskaya #46-220002, Minsk
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [375] (172) 31-50-00
FAX: [375] (172) 34-78-53
Flag: red horizontal band (top) and green horizontal band one-half the width of the red band; a white vertical stripe of white on the hoist side bears in red the Belarusian national ornament
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Economy

Economic overview: At the time of independence in late 1991, Belarus was one of the most developed of the former Soviet states, inheriting a modern - by Soviet standards - machine building sector and robust agricultural sector. However, the breakup of the Soviet Union and its traditional trade ties, as well as the government's failure to embrace market reforms, has resulted in a sharp economic decline. Privatization is virtually nonexistent and the system of state orders and distribution persists. Although President LUKASHENKO pronounces his 1995 macro stabilization policies a success - annual inflation dropped from 2,220% in 1994 to 244% in 1995 - the IMF has criticized his insistence on maintaining the steady exchange rate for Belarusian rubel, which has traded at 11,500 to the dollar since late 1994. The IMF suspended Minsk's $300 million standby program in November 1995 until the government would agree to a devaluation of the rubel. The overvalued rubel has especially hurt Belarusian exporters, most of which now operate at a loss. In addition, the January 1995 Customs Union agreement with Russia - which required Minsk to adjust its foreign trade practices to mirror Moscow's - has resulted in higher import tariffs for Belarusian consumers; tariffs have risen from 5%-20% to 20%-40%.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $49.2 billion (1995 estimate as extrapolated from World Bank estimate for 1994)
GDP real growth rate: -10% (1995 est.)
GDP per capita: $4,700 (1995 est.)
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 21%
industry: 49%
services: 30% (1991 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 244% (1995 est.)
Labor force: 4.259 million
by occupation: industry and construction 40%, agriculture and forestry 21%, other 39% (1992)
Unemployment rate: 2.6% officially registered unemployed (December 1994); large numbers of underemployed workers
Budget:
revenues: $4.95 billion
expenditures: $5.47 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1996 est.)
Industries: tractors, metal-cutting machine tools, off-highway dump trucks up to 110-metric-ton load capacity, wheel-type earth movers for construction and mining, eight-wheel-drive, high-flotation trucks with cargo capacity of 25 metric tons for use in tundra and roadless areas, equipment for animal husbandry and livestock feeding, motorcycles, television sets, chemical fibers, fertilizer, linen fabric, wool fabric, radios, refrigerators, other consumer goods
Industrial production growth rate: -11% (1995 est.)
Electricity:
capacity: 7,010,000 kW
production: 24.9 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 2,300 kWh (1995 est.)
Agriculture: grain, potatoes, vegetables; meat, milk
Illicit drugs: illicit cultivator of opium poppy and cannabis; mostly for the domestic market; transshipment point for illicit drugs to Western Europe
Exports: $4.2 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
commodities: machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs
partners: Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany
Imports: $4.6 billion (c.i.f., 1995)
commodities: fuel, natural gas, industrial raw materials, textiles, sugar
partners: Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany
External debt: $2 billion (September 1995 est.)
Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $186 million (1993)
note: commitments, $3,930 million ($1,845 million disbursements), 1992-95
Currency: Belarusian rubel (BR)
Exchange rates: Belarusian rubels per US$1 - 11,500 (yearend 1995), 10,600 (yearend 1994)
Fiscal year: calendar year
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Transportation

Railways:
total: 5,488 km
broad gauge: 5,488 km 1.520-m gauge (873 km electrified) (1993)
Highways:
total: 92,200 km
paved: 61,000 km (including graveled)
unpaved: 31,200 km (1994 est.)
Waterways: NA km; note - Belarus has extensive and widely used canal and river systems
Pipelines: crude oil 1,470 km; refined products 1,100 km; natural gas 1,980 km (1992)
Ports: Mazyr
Merchant marine:
note: claims 5% of former Soviet fleet (1995 est.)
Airports:
total: 118
with paved runways over 3 047 m: 2
with paved runways 2 438 to 3 047 m: 18
with paved runways 1 524 to 2 437 m: 5
with paved runways under 914 m: 11
with unpaved runways over 3 047 m: 1
with unpaved runways 2 438 to 3 047 m: 6
with unpaved runways 1 524 to 2 437 m: 4
with unpaved runways 914 to 1 523 m: 9
with unpaved runways under 914 m: 62 (1994 est.)
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Communications

Telephones: 1.849 million (1991 est.)
Telephone system: telephone service inadequate for the purposes of either business or the population; about 70% of the telephones are in homes; over 750,000 applications from households for telephones remain unsatisfied (1992 est.); new investment centers on international connections and business needs
domestic: the new NMT-450 analog cellular system is now operating in Minsk
international: international traffic is carried by the Moscow international gateway switch and also by satellite; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (through Canada) and 1 Eutelsat (through the UK)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 35, FM 18, shortwave 0
Radios: 3.17 million (1991 est.) (5,615,000 with multiple speaker systems for program diffusion)
Television broadcast stations: 2 (one national and one private; the license of the private station was suspended during the parliamentary elections of 1994)
Televisions: 3.5 million (1992 est.)
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Defense

Branches: Army, Air Force, Air Defense Force, Republic Security Forces (internal and border troops)
Manpower availability:
males age 15-49: 2,635,570
males fit for military service: 2,067,676
males reach military age (18) annually: 76,006 (1996 est.)
Defense expenditures: 892 billion rubels, 1% of GDP (1995); note - conversion of defense expenditures into US dollars using the current exchange rate could produce misleading results
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Belarus




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