Belarus 1997Belarus

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Belarus - Introduction 1997
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Background: For centuries Byelorussia has been fought over, devastated, and partitioned among Russia, Poland, Lithuania, and, in World Wars I and II, Germany. After seven decades as a Soviet republic, the newly named Belarus declared its independence in August 1991. It has retained closer political and economic ties to Russia than any of the other former Soviet republics.

Belarus - Geography 1997
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Location: Eastern Europe, east of Poland

Geographic coordinates: 53 00 N, 28 00 E

Map referenceCommonwealth of Independent States

Total: 207,600 km²
Land: 207,600 km²
Water: 0 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than Kansas

Land boundaries
Total: 3,098 km
Border countries: (5) Latvia 141 km; , Lithuania 502 km; , Poland 605 km; , Russia 959 km; , Ukraine 891 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: cold winters, cool and moist summers; transitional between continental and maritime

Terrain: generally flat and contains much marshland

Extremes lowest point: Nyoman River 90 m
Extremes highest point: Dzyarzhynskaya Hara 346 m

Natural resources: forests, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 29%
Permanent crops: 1%
Permanent pastures: 15%
Forests and woodland: 34%
Other: 21% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 1,000 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: NA

Note: landlocked

Belarus - People 1997
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Population: 10,412,219 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: -0.01% (1997 est.)

Noun: Belarusian(s)
Adjective: Belarusian

Ethnic groups: Byelorussian 77.9%, Russian 13.2%, Polish 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.9%, other 1.9%

Languages: Byelorussian, Russian, other

Religions: Eastern Orthodox 80%, other (including Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim) 20% (1997 est.)

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 21% (male 1,092,760; female 1,047,992)
15-64 years: 66% (male 3,346,111; female 3,547,352)
65 years and over: 13% (male 452,267; female 925,737) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: -0.01% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 9.75 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 13.23 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: 3.38 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: soil pollution from pesticide use; southern part of the country contaminated with fallout from 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chornobyl' in northern Ukraine

Air pollutants

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: 0.49 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.89 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 13.9 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 68.4 years
Male: 62.48 years
Female: 74.61 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.35 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 98%
Male: 99%
Female: 97% (1989 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Belarus - Government 1997
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Country name
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: 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: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)

Dependent areas

Independence: 25 August 1991 (from Soviet Union; the Belarusian Supreme Soviet issued a proclamation of independence; on 17 July 1990 Belarus issued a declaration of sovereignty

National holiday: Independence Day, 3 July (1990; note - date set by referendum of November 1996

Constitution: referendum of 27 November 1996 (declared illegitimate by the international community) adopted a new constitution massing power in the hands of the president; signed into law on 28 November 1996

Legal system: based on civil law system

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (since 20 July 1994)
Head of government: Prime Minister Sergey LING (acting since NA November 1996, confirmed NA February 1997); First Deputy Prime Minister Pyotr PROKOPOVICH (since NA); Deputy Prime Ministers Vladimir GARKUN (since NA), Valeriy KOKAREV (since NA), Vladimir RUSAKEVICH (since NA), Vasyl DALGALYOV (since NA)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers
Elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 24 June and 10 July 1994 (next to be held NA 2001 because of the additional two years provided by the November 1996 referendum); prime minister appointed by the president
Election results: Aleksandr LUKASHENKO elected president; percent of vote - Aleksandr LUKASHENKO 85%, Vyacheslav KEBICH 15%
Note: first presidential elections took place in June-July 1994

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament established by the 28 November Constitution consists of the Council of the Republic (64 seats; the president appoints 8 and each oblast plus the Minsk city government elect 8) and the Chamber of Representatives (110 seats; note - present members came from the defunct Supreme Soviet)
Elections: last held May and November-December 1995 (two rounds, each with a run-off; next to be held NA 2000)
Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - 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; note - after the November 1996 referendum, seats for the Chamber of Representatives were filled by former Supreme Soviet members as follows:PKB 24, Agrarian 14, Party of Peoples Concord 5, LDPB 1, UPNAZ 1, Green World Party 1, Belarusian Social Sports Party 1, Ecological Party 1, Republican Party of Labor and Justice 1, independents 60; 58 of the 64 seats in the Council of the Republic have been appointed/elected

Judicial branch: 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

International organization participation: BIS, CCC, CEI, CIS, EBRD, ECE, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Inmarsat, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NACC, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador-designate Valeriy TSEPKALO
In the us chancery: 1619 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,009
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 986-1604
In the us FAX: [1] (202) 986-1805
In the us consulates general: New York
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Kenneth Spencer YALOWITZ
From the us embassy: Starovilenskaya #46-220,002, Minsk
From the us mailing address: use embassy street address
From the us telephone: [375] (172) 31-50-00
From the us FAX: [375] (172) 34-78-53

Flag descriptionflag of Belarus: 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

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Belarus - Economy 1997
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Economy 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 in December 1991, 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 exchange rate policies and suspended Minsk's $300 million standby program in November 1995. The overvalued ruble 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 rose from 5%-20% to 20%-40%. In general, as of the beginning of 1997, Belarus has badly lagged in moving away from the old centrally planned policies of the former USSR.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 3% (1996 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 21%
Industry: 49%
Services: 30% (1991 est.)

Agriculture products: grain, potatoes, vegetables; meat, milk

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: 3.2% (1996 est.)

Labor force
Total: 4.731 million
By occupation industry and construction: 36%
By occupation agriculture and forestry: 19%
By occupation services: 45% (1995)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 3.1% officially registered unemployed (December 1996; large numbers of underemployed workers

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $N/A
Expenditures: $N/A, including capital expenditures of $N/A

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $5.2 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
Commodities: machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs
Partners: Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany

Total value: $6.8 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
Commodities: fuel, natural gas, industrial raw materials, textiles, sugar
Partners: Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $2 billion (September 1995 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Belarusian rubles per US$1 - 16,613 (September monthly average 1996),15,500 (yearend 1996), 11,500 (yearend 1995), 10,600 (yearend 1994), 699 (yearend 1993), 15 (yearend 1992)

Belarus - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 23.7 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 2,553 kWh (1995 est.)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Belarus - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

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)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Belarus - Military 1997
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: 2.4 trillion rubles (1997; note - conversion of defense expenditures into US dollars using the current exchange rate could produce misleading results
Percent of gdp: NA%

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Belarus - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 118 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 36
With paved runways over 3047 m: 2
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 18
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 5
With paved runways under 914 m: 11 (1996 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 82
With unpaved runways over 3047 m: 1
With unpaved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 6
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 4
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 9
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 62 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 36
Over 3047 m: 2
2438 to 3047 m: 18
15-24 to 2437 m: 5
Under 914 m: 11 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 82
Over 3047 m: 1
2438 to 3047 m: 6
15-24 to 2437 m: 4
914 to 1523 m: 9
Under 914 m: 62 (1996 est.)


Pipelines: crude oil 1,470 km; refined products 1,100 km; natural gas 1,980 km (1992)

Total: 5,488 km
Broad gauge: 5,488 km 1.520-m gauge (873 km electrified) (1993)


Waterways: NA km; note - Belarus has extensive and widely used canal and river systems

Merchant marine: note:claims 5% of former Soviet fleet (1995 est.)

Ports and terminals

Belarus - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: treaty with Lithuania defining the border awaits demarcation

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: limited cultivation of opium poppy and cannabis, mostly for the domestic market; transshipment point for illicit drugs to Russia and Western Europe


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