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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January, 2004
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook.

This page was last updated on 10 February, 2005

Map of Belarus

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   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.
   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
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
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: 29.55%
permanent crops: 0.6%
other: 69.85% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
1,150 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
landlocked; glacial scouring accounts for the flatness of Belarusian terrain and for its 11,000 lakes; the country is geologically well endowed with extensive deposits of granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, and clay
   People    Belarus
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10,310,520 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 16.3% (male 859,219; female 823,839)
15-64 years: 69.2% (male 3,469,926; female 3,662,203)
65 years and over: 14.5% (male 496,204; female 999,129) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 36.9 years
male: 34.2 years
female: 39.5 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.11% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10.52 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
14.1 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.5 male(s)/female
total population: 0.88 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 13.62 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 14.71 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.47 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 68.57 years
male: 62.79 years
female: 74.65 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.36 children born/woman (2004 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, Ukrainian, and other 7.4%
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: 99.5% (2003 est.)
   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: none
former: Belorussian (Byelorussian) Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship
Definition Field Listing
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
30 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
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 SIDORSKY (since 19 December 2003); First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir SEMASHKO (since December 2003); Deputy Prime Ministers Andrei KOBYAKOV (since December 2003), Vladimir DRAZHIN (since 24 September 2001), Ivan BAMBIZA (since 25 May 2004), Anatoly TYUTYUNOV (since July 2002)
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 LUKASHENKO extended his term to 2001 via a November 1996 referendum; new election held 9 September 2001; October 2004 referendum ended presidential term limits allowing president to run for a third term in September 2006; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president
election results: Aleksandr LUKASHENKO reelected president; percent of vote - Aleksandr LUKASHENKO 75.6%, Vladimir GONCHARIK 15.4%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral Parliament or Natsionalnoye Sobranie consists of the Council of the Republic or Soviet Respubliki (64 seats; 56 members elected by regional councils and 8 members appointed by the president, all for 4-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Palata Predstaviteliy (110 seats; members elected by universal adult suffrage to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held 18 March and 1 April 2001 and 17 and 31 October 2004 (bi-election will be held March 2005 to fill one unfilled seat in the Palata Predstaviteliy); international observers widely denounced the October 2004 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 Pretsaviteley - 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; Belarusian Communist Party or KPB; Belarusian Patriotic Movement (Belarusian Patriotic Party) or BPR [Anatoliy BARANKEVICH, chairman]; Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus [Sergei GAYDUKEVICH]; Social-Sports Party; Opposition parties: Belarusian Popular Front or BNF [Vintsuk VYACHORKA]; Belarusian Social-Democrat Party Narodnaya Gromada or BSDP NG [Nikolay STATKEVICH, chairman]; Belarusian Social-Democratic Party Hromada [Stanislav SHUSHKEVICH, chairman]; United Civic Party or UCP [Anatol LEBEDKO]; Party of Communists Belarusian or PKB [Sergei KALYAKIN, chairman]; Women's Party "Nadezhda" [Valentina MATUSEVICH, chairperson]
note: the opposition Belarusian Party of Labor [Aleksandr BUKHVOSTOV] was liquidated in August 2004, but remains active
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
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 George A. KROL
embassy: 46 Starovilenskaya St., 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 ornamention in red
   Economy    Belarus
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Belarus' economy in 2003 posted 6.1 percent growth and is likely to continue expanding through 2004, albeit at a slower growth rate. The Belarusian economy in 2004 is likely to be hampered by high inflation, persistent trade deficits, and ongoing rocky relations with Russia, Belarus' largest trading partner and energy supplier. 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. In addition, businesses have been subject to pressure on the part of 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. For the time being, Belarus remains self-isolated from the West and its open-market economies.
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $62.56 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.8% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $6,100 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 11.1%
industry: 36.4%
services: 52.5% (2003 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
21.7% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
22% (1995 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
21.7 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
28.2% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.8 million (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.1% officially registered unemployed (December 2000); large number of underemployed workers (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $2.976 billion
expenditures: $3.211 billion, including capital expenditures of $180 million (2003 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, television sets, chemical fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
24.4 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
26.69 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
300 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
4.3 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
37,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
230,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
200 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
17.8 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-945 million (2003)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$9.413 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals; textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Russia 49.1%, UK 9.4%, Poland 4.4%, Germany 4.2%, Netherlands 4.2% (2003)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$11.09 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Russia 65.8%, Germany 7.1%, Ukraine 3.1% (2003)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$637 million (2003)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$851 million (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$194.3 million (1995)
Definition Field Listing
Belarusian ruble (BYB/BYR)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Belarusian rubles per US dollar - 1,790.92 (2003), 1,920 (2002), 1,390 (2001), 876.75 (2000), 248.795 (1999)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Belarus
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,071,300 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.118 million (2003)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: the Ministry of Telecommunications controls all telecommunications through its carrier (a joint stock company) Beltelcom which is a monopoly
domestic: local - Minsk has a digital metropolitan network and a cellular NMT-450 network; waiting lists for telephones are long; local service outside Minsk is neglected and poor; intercity - Belarus has a partly developed fiber-optic backbone system presently serving at least 13 major cities (1998); Belarus' fiber optics form synchronous digital hierarchy rings through other countries' systems; an inadequate analog system remains operational
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); three 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
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5,308 (2004)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,391,900 (2003)
   Transportation    Belarus
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 5,523 km
broad gauge: 5,523 km 1.520-m gauge (875 km electrified) (2003)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 74,385 km
paved: 66,203 km
unpaved: 8,182 km (2000)
Definition Field Listing
2,500 km (use limited by location on perimeter of country and by shallowness) (2003)
Definition Field Listing
gas 5,223 km; oil 2,443 km; refined products 1,686 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
135 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 50
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 21
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
under 914 m: 21 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 85
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 64 (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing
1 (2003 est.)
   Military    Belarus
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Army, Air and Air Defense Force
Military manpower - military age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18-27 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (May 2004)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 2,764,856 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 2,164,923 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 86,716 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$176.1 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.4% (FY02)
   Transnational Issues    Belarus
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
1997 boundary treaty with Ukraine remains unratified over unresolved financial claims, preventing demarcation and diminishing border security; boundaries with Latvia and Lithuania remain undemarcated despite European Union financial support
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 10 February, 2005

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