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   Belarus Country Guide

Flag of Belarus 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 have 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 directly elected president, Aleksandr LUKASHENKO has steadily consolidated his power through authoritarian means and a centralized economic system. Government restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion remain in place.

Map of Belarus Full Name: Republic of Belarus
Area: 207,600 sq km (water: 0 sq km, land: 207,600 sq km)
Population: 9,570,376 (July 2016 est.)
Capital City: Minsk

People: Belarusian 83.7%, Russian 8.3%, Polish 3.1%, Ukrainian 1.7%, other 2.4%, unspecified 0.9% (2009 est.)
Language: Russian (official) 70.2%, Belarusian (official) 23.4%, other 3.1% (includes small Polish- and Ukrainian-speaking minorities), unspecified 3.3% (2009 est.)
Religion: Orthodox 48.3%, Catholic 7.1%, other 3.5%, non-believers 41.1% (2011 est.)

Government Type: Republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship
Chief of State: President Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (since 20 July 1994); note - the US does not recognize the results of the 19 December 2010 elections under which the Central Election Commission of Belarus declared LUKASHENKO president
Head of Government: Prime Minister Andrey KOBYAKOV (since 27 December 2014); first deputy prime minister Vasily MATYUSHEVSKIY (since 27 December 2014)

GDP: $US 165.4 billion (2016 est.)
GDP per Capita: $US 17,500 (2016 est.)
Inflation: 14% (2016 est.)
Unemployment: 0.7% (2014 est.) Industries: Metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, televisions, chemical fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators
Currency: Belarusian ruble (BYB/BYR)

Member of EU: No

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Info provided by the CIA World Factbook
Updated 2/2017
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