Belarus (officially called Republic of Belarus) is a country in Eastern Europe. About nine million people live there. Its capital is Minsk. It was part of the Soviet Union until 1991. The president of Belarus has been Alexander Lukashenko since 1994. It is bordered by Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Over forty percent of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested.
Republic of Belarus
|Anthem: Дзяржаўны гімн Рэспублікі Беларусь (Belarusian)|
Dziaržaŭny himn Respubliki Biełaruś (transliteration)
State Anthem of the Republic of Belarus
and largest city
|Official languages||Belarusian |
|Recognised national languages||Russian|
|Spoken languages||Belarusian, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Yiddish|
|Ethnic groups |
1.7% Ukrainians, 2.7% others and unspecified
|Council of the Republic|
|House of Representatives|
from the Soviet Union
|27 July 1990|
|25 August 1991|
|25 December 1991|
|207,595 km2 (80,153 sq mi) (85th)|
• Water (%)
|negligible (2.830 km2)1|
• 2019 census
|45.8/km2 (118.6/sq mi) (142nd)|
|GDP (PPP)||2010 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2010 estimate|
• Per capita
|HDI (2011)|| 0.756|
high · 65th
|Currency||Belarusian ruble (BYR)|
|Time zone||UTC+3 (FET)|
|ISO 3166 code||BY|
The State is a member of the UN, the CIS, Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Eurasian Economic Community, the Union State of Russia and Belarus (from 2 April 1997), as well as a member of other international organizations.
Until the 20th century, the lands of modern-day Belarus belonged to several countries. These included the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire. After the Russian Revolution, Belarus became part of the Soviet Union. It was renamed the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (BSSR). The borders of Belarus took their modern shape in 1939. Some lands occupied by Poland in 1921 were added into it after the 1939. The nation and its territory were devastated in World War II. Belarus lost about a third of its population and more than half of its economic resources. In 1945 the Belorussian SSR became a founding member of the United Nations, along with the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian SSR.
Over 70% of Belarus's population of 9.49 million live in the urban areas. More than 80% of the population are ethnic Belarusians. Most of the rest are Russians, Poles and Ukrainians. The country has two official languages: Belarusian and Russian. The main religion in the country is Russian Orthodox Christianity. The second most popular, Roman Catholicism, has a much smaller following.
Prior to First World War Edit
Both Homo erectus and Neanderthal remains have been found in the region. From 5,000 to 2,000 BCE, Bandkeramik cultures lived here. Cimmerians were in the area by 1,000 BCE. By 500 BCE, Slavs moved in. The Huns and Avars came through around 400–600 CE. They were unable to move the Slavs.
The region that is now Belarus was first settled by Slavic tribes in the 6th century. They came into contact with the Varangians, who were bands of Scandinavian warriors and traders. They formed Kievan Rus' in 862. Polotsk and Turov become the capitals of the first principalities of today's Belarus.
When Kievan Rus' ruler Yaroslav I the Wise died, the state split. Later some were added into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Lithuania made a union with Poland. The union ended in 1795. The land of Belarus went to the Russian Empire. The land stayed with Russia until going to the German Empire during World War I.
Since initial independence Edit
Belarus said they were free from Germany on 25 March 1918. They formed the Belarusian People's Republic. Then the Polish–Soviet War started. A part of Belarus under Soviet rule became the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1919. Then it added to the Lithuanian–Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Belorussian SSR became a founding member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922. The western part of modern Belarus stayed part of Poland as a result of the Treaty of Riga.
In BSSR Byelorussian language was officially recognized together with Russian, Polish and Yiddish. A motto “Workers of all countries, unite” was written on all of this 4 languages on the republican emblem. Schools with teaching on the national languages began operating.
In 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. This was the beginning of World War II. After Polish powers left the county, the Soviet troops entered into lands with Ukrainian and Byelorussian majority, that were controlled by Poland before it. Parts of West Byelorussia were added to the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. They are now West Belarus.
Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. BSSR was the hardest-hit Soviet republic in World War II. During that time, Germany destroyed 209 out of 290 cities in the republic, 85% of the republic's industry, and more than one million buildings. Casualties were between two and three million. The population of Belarus did not come back to its pre-war level until 1971.
Belarus said it was free on 27 July 1990. With the support of the Communist Party, the country's name was changed to the Republic of Belarus on 25 August 1991.
Belarus is landlocked and mostly flat. It has a lot of marshy land. Many streams and 11,000 lakes are found in Belarus. Three major rivers run through the country: the Neman, the Pripyat, and the Dnieper.
Natural resources include peat deposits, small amounts of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomite (limestone), marl, chalk, sand, gravel, and clay. About 70% of the radiation from neighboring Ukraine's 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster entered Belarusian territory. The farmland continues to be affected by radiation fallout.
Human rights Edit
Lukashenko has described himself as having an "authoritarian ruling style". Western countries have described Belarus under Lukashenko as a dictatorship. The Council of Europe has stopped Belarus from membership since 1997 for undemocratic voting.
The Armed Forces of Belarus have three branches: the Army, the Air Force, and the Ministry of Defense joint staff. Lieutenant General Yuri Zhadobin heads the Ministry of Defense. Alexander Lukashenko (as president) is Commander-in-Chief.
Regions (with administrative centers):
- Brest Region (Brest)
- Gomel Region (Gomel)
- Grodno Region (Grodno)
- Mogilev Region (Mogilev)
- Minsk Region (Minsk)
- Vitebsk Region (Vitebsk)
Special administrative district:
Most of the Belarusian economy is state-controlled. It has been described as "Soviet-style." The country relies on Russia for some imports, including petroleum. As of 1994, Belarus's main exports included heavy machinery (especially tractors), agricultural products, and energy products.
According to 2019 census, the population is 9,413,446. Ethnic Belarusians are 84.9% of Belarus' total population. The next largest ethnic groups are: Russians (7.5%), Poles (3.1%), and Ukrainians (1.7%). Minsk, the nation's capital and largest city, is home to 2,018,281 residents as of 2019. Gomel, with 481,000 people, is the second-largest city and is the capital of the Homiel Voblast. Other large cities are Mogilev (365,100), Vitebsk (342,400), Hrodna (314,800) and Brest (298,300). For other places in Belarus see List of settlements in Belarus.
Belarusian literature began with 11th- to 13th-century religious scripture. By the 16th century, Polotsk resident Francysk Skaryna translated the Bible into Belarusian. The modern era of Belarusian literature began in the late 19th century. One important writer was Yanka Kupala. Several poets and authors went into exile after the Nazi occupation of Belarus. They would not return until the 1960s. The last major revival of Belarusian literature was in the 1960s with novels published by Vasil Bykaŭ and Uladzimir Karatkievich.
In the 19th century, Polish composer Stanisław Moniuszko made operas and chamber music pieces while living in Minsk. At the end of the 19th century, major Belarusian cities formed their own opera and ballet companies.
The National Academic Theatre of Ballet, in Minsk, was awarded the Benois de la Dance Prize in 1996 as the top ballet company in the world. Rock music has become more popular in recent years, though the Belarusian government has tried to limit the amount of foreign music aired on the radio. Since 2004, Belarus has been sending artists to the Eurovision Song Contest.
Belarusian cuisine is mainly vegetables, meat (especially pork), and breads. Foods are usually either slowly cooked or stewed. A typical Belarusian eats a light breakfast and two hearty meals, with dinner being the largest meal of the day. Wheat and rye breads are eaten in Belarus. Rye is more plentiful because conditions are too harsh for growing wheat. To show hospitality, a host will give an offering of bread and salt when greeting a guest or visitor. Popular drinks in Belarus include Russian wheat vodka and kvass, Kvass is a drink made from fermented malted brown bread or rye flour. Kvass may also be added with sliced vegetables to create a cold soup called okroshka.
World Heritage Sites Edit
- Constitution of the Republic of Belarus Archived 2013-12-07 at the Wayback Machine Section 1, Article 17
- "Национальный состав населения Республики Беларусь" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-04-20. Retrieved 2022-06-10.
- "President of the Republic of Belarus". Archived from the original on 29 October 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
- "Первые итоги переписи населения Республики Беларусь 2019 года" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2020-10-21. Retrieved 2022-06-10.
- "Belarus". International Monetary Fund. Archived from the original on 4 May 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
- "Distribution of family income – Gini index". The World Factbook. CIA. Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
- "Human Development Report 2011" (PDF). United Nations. 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 November 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
- "Eternal Daylight Saving Time (DST) in Belarus". timeanddate.com. 19 September 2011. Archived from the original on 19 October 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- UN Statistics Division (1 April 2010). "Standard Country and Area Codes Classifications (M49)". United Nations Organization. Archived from the original on 17 April 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
- "Belarus: Window of Opportunity (see Table 15, page 66)" (PDF). United Nations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 October 2008.
- Abdelal, Rawi (2001). National purpose in the world economy: post-Soviet states in comparative perspective. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0801438799. Archived from the original on 11 February 2023. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
- Taylor & Francis Group (2004). Europa World Year, Book1. Europa publications. ISBN 9781857432541. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
- Клоков В. Я. Великий освободительный поход Красной Армии. (Освобождение Западной Украины и Западной Белоруссии).-Воронеж, 1940.
- Минаев В. Западная Белоруссия и Западная Украина под гнетом панской Польши.—М., 1939.
- Трайнин И.Национальное и социальное освобождение Западной Украины и Западной Белоруссии.—М., 1939.—80 с.
- Гiсторыя Беларусi. Том пяты.—Мiнск, 2006.—с. 449–474
- Axell, Albert (2002). Russia's Heroes, 1941–45. Carroll & Graf Publishers. p. 247. ISBN 0-7867-1011-X.
- "About Belarus – Population". United Nations Office in Belarus. 2003. Archived from the original on 17 October 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2007.
- Historical Atlas, Ancient and Classical World, by John Haywood, 1998
- Rambaud, Alfred; Edgar Saltus (1902). Russia. P. F. Collier & Son. pp. 46–48.
- Plokhy, Serhii (2006). The Origins of the Slavic Nations. Cambridge University Press. pp. 94–95. ISBN 0-521-86403-8.
- Robinson, Charles Henry (1917). The Conversion of Europe. Longmans, Green. pp. 491–492. ISBN 9780007502967.
- Scheuch, E. K.; David Sciulli (2000). Societies, Corporations and the Nation State. BRILL. p. 187. ISBN 90-04-11664-8.
- Birgerson, Susanne Michele (2002). After the Breakup of a Multi-Ethnic Empire. Praeger/Greenwood. p. 101. ISBN 0-275-96965-7.
- Olson, James Stuart; Lee Brigance Pappas, Nicholas C. J. Pappas (1994). Ethnohistorical Dictionary of the Russian and Soviet Empires. Greenwood Press. p. 95. ISBN 0-313-27497-5.
- (Birgerson 2002:105–106)
- Ioffe, Grigory (25 February 2008). Understanding Belarus and How Western Foreign Policy Misses the Mark. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-7425-5558-7.
- Marples, David (1999). Belarus: A Denationalized Nation. Routledge. p. 5. ISBN 90-5702-343-1.
- Sorge, Arndt (2005). The global and the local: understanding the dialectics of business systems. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781843313854. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
- Minahan, James (1998). Miniature empires: a historical dictionary of the newly independent states. Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313306105. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
- Baron, Nick (2004). Homelands: war, population and statehood in Eastern Europe and Russia, 1918–1924. Wimbledon Publishing Company. ISBN 9781843313854. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
- Fedor, Helen (1995). "Belarus – Stalin and Russification". Belarus: A Country Study. Library of Congress. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2006.
- Fedor, Helen (1995). "Belarus- Perestroika". Belarus: A Country Study. Library of Congress. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
- Country Studies Belarus – Prelude to Independence Archived 2017-10-10 at the Wayback Machine. Library of Congress. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
- "Belarus – Geography". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 2007. Archived from the original on 18 January 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2007.
- Rainsford, Sarah (26 April 2005). "Belarus cursed by Chernobyl". BBC News. Archived from the original on 24 April 2006. Retrieved 26 March 2006.
- "Profile: Alexander Lukashenko". BBC News. 20 March 2006. Archived from the original on 20 April 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2006.
- Mulvey, Stephen (10 September 2001). "Profile: Europe's last dictator?". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
- "High-ranking Military Officials of the Republic of Belarus". Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus. 2006. Archived from the original on 29 January 2003. Retrieved 22 December 2007.
- "Section IV:The President, Parliament, Government, the Courts". Constitution of Belarus. Press Service of the President of the Republic of Belarus. 2004. Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 22 December 2007.
- "Section;I: Principles of the Constitutional System". Constitution of Belarus. Press Service of the President of the Republic of Belarus. 2004. Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 22 December 2007.
- United States Government (2007). "Background Note: Belarus". United States State Department. Archived from the original on 14 November 2007. Retrieved 7 November 2007.
- "Belarus shuns Moscow amid loan row". Al Jazeera English. 2009-05-29. Archived from the original on 30 May 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2009.
Belarus' Soviet-style economy has been propped up in part by cheap Russian gas and oil and Lukashenko has called for his country to reunite with Russia.
- Dr. Kaare Dahl Martinsen (2002). "The Russian-Belarusian Union and the Near Abroad" (PDF). Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies. NATO. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 November 2007. Retrieved 7 November 2007.
- Library of Congress (1994). "Belarus – Exports". Country Studies. Archived from the original on 23 September 2006. Retrieved 4 November 2007.
- World Gazette Largest Cities of Belarus (2007). Published in 2007. Retrieved 19 March 2007.
- "Belarus." Encyclopædia Britannica. Britannica.com Archived 2007-12-11 at the Wayback Machine
- "Classical Music of Belarus". Belarusguide.com. Archived from the original on 2020-10-01. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
- National State Teleradiocompany Page on the 2004 Belarusian entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. Published 2004. Retrieved 18 March 2007.
- Canadian Citizenship and Immigration – Cultures Profile Project – Eating the Belarusian Way. Published in 1998. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln – Institute of Agriculture and National Resources. Situation and Outlook – People and Their Diets. Published in April 2000. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
- "Belarus – UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Archived from the original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2006.