The World Factbook CIA Home CIA Home About CIA Careers Offices of CIA News & Information Library Kid’s Page Contact CIA CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

         
  Belarus  
Flag of Belarus
Click to enlarge
Categories Banner
 Introduction
 Geography
 People
 Government
 Economy
 Communications
 Transportation
 Military
 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 4 October, 2007


Map of Belarus



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Belarus Top of Page
Background:
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 Top of Page
Location:
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
Area:
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: 2,900 km
border countries: Latvia 141 km, Lithuania 502 km, Poland 407 km, Russia 959 km, Ukraine 891 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
none (landlocked)
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
cold winters, cool and moist summers; transitional between continental and maritime
Terrain:
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)
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 Top of Page
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9,724,723 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 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 age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 38.2 years
male: 35.1 years
female: 41.1 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.41% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.5 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
13.98 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.38 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.945 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.481 male(s)/female
total population: 0.873 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 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 birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 70.05 years
male: 64.31 years
female: 76.14 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.22 children born/woman (2007 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.)
Nationality:
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)
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Eastern Orthodox 80%, other (including Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim) 20% (1997 est.)
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Belarusian, Russian, other
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.6%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.4% (1999 census)
   Government    Belarus Top of Page
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
Capital:
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
Independence:
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
Constitution:
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
Suffrage:
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 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 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: 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:
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 [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]; Women's Party "Nadezhda" [Valentina MATUSEVICH, chairperson]
other opposition includes: Belarusian Social-Democratic Party (People's 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 leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Assembly 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]; Women's Independent Democratic Movement [Ludmila PETINA]; Youth Front (Malady Front) [Dzmitryy DASHKEVICH, Syarhey BAKHUN]; Zubr youth group [Vladimir KOBETS]
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
BSEC (observer), CEI, CIS, EAEC, EAPC, EBRD, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, NSG, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
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 Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Belarus's 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 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, 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):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$83.1 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$28.98 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.9% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$8,100 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 9.3%
industry: 31.6%
services: 59.1% (2005 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%: 5.1%
highest 10%: 20% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
30.4 (2000)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.5% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
25.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $6.578 billion
expenditures: $7.164 billion; including capital expenditures of $180 million (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, televisions, chemical fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
15.6% (2005 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
29.33 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
31.05 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
4.723 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
8.5 billion kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
34,260 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
165,000 bbl/day (2004 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
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
180 million cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20.5 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
16.22 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
-$511.8 million (2006 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$19.61 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Russia 34.7%, Netherlands 17.7%, UK 7.5%, Ukraine 6.3%, Poland 5.2% (2006)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$21.12 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Russia 58.6%, Germany 7.5%, Ukraine 5.5% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.329 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$5.498 billion (30 June 2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$194.3 million (1995)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Belarusian ruble (BYB/BYR)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Belarusian rubles per US dollar - 2,144.6 (2006), 2,150 (2005), 2,160.26 (2004), 2,051.27 (2003), 1,790.92 (2002)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Belarus Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.368 million (2006)
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; 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 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
5.478 million (2006)
   Transportation    Belarus Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
86 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 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 runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 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)
Heliports:
Definition Field Listing
1 (2006)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
gas 5,223 km; oil 2,321 km; refined products 1,686 km (2006)
Railways:
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)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 93,310 km
paved: 81,180 km
unpaved: 12,130 km (2004)
Waterways:
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 Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Belarus Armed Forces: Land Force, Air and Air Defense Force (2006)
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 18-49: 2,520,644
females age 18-49: 2,564,696 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 1,657,984
females age 18-49: 2,102,793 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 85,202
females age 18-49: 82,037 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.4% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Belarus Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
as 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
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

This page was last updated on 4 October, 2007


Bottom Banner