Belarus 1998Belarus

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Belarus - Introduction 1998
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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. On 25 December 1998, Russian President Boris YEL'TSIN and Belarusian President Aleksandr LUKASHENKO signed several agreements intended to provide greater political, economic, and social integration while preserving both states' sovereignty.

Belarus - Geography 1998
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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 1998
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Population: 10,409,050 (July 1998 est.)
Growth rate: -0.05% (1998 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: 20% (male 1,062,012; female 1,018,154)
15-64 years: 67% (male 3,365,065; female 3,564,078)
65 years and over: 13% (male 460,633; female 939,108) (July 1998 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: -0.05% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 9.71 births/1000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 13.47 deaths/1000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 3.25 migrant(s)/1000 population (1998 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
International agreements party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Biodiversity, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
International agreements signed but not ratified: Climate Change, Law of the Sea

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 (1998 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 14.16 deaths/1000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 68.26 years
Male: 62.26 years
Female: 74.56 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.34 children born/woman (1998 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 1998
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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) Independence Day, 3 July (1990; note_date set by referendum of November 1996

National holiday

Constitution: referendum of 24 November 1996; became effective on 17 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): ead of
Government: Prime Minister Sergey LING (acting since 18 November 1996, confirmed 19 February 1997); First Deputy Prime Minister Petr PRAKAPOVICH (since 23 December 1996); Deputy Prime Ministers Vladimir GARKUN (since 21 July 1994), Valeriy KOKAREV (since 23 August 1994), Vasiliy DOLGOLEV (since 30 October 1995), Vladimir ZAMETALIN (since 15 July 1997)
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 or Natsionalnoye Sobranie established by the 27 November Constitution consists of the Council of the Republic or Soviet Republiki (64 seats; 8 appointed by the president and 56 indirectly elected by deputies of local councils for four-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Palata Pretsaviteley (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, BNF 1, Social and Sports Party 1, Ecological Party 1, independents 95, vacant 62; note_the last election took place to fill seats in the former Supreme Soviet (260 seats); 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 61; 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, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Inmarsat, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Valeriy V. 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 Daniel SPECKHARD
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 1998
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Economy overview: The Belarusian government has revived economic output since mid-1996 by pursuing a policy of rapid credit expansion, ending years of cumulative decline. Real GDP increased by 2.6% in 1996 and the growth rate tripled in 1997. Lack of profitability and resurgent inflation_which increased from an average monthly rate of 2.8% in 1996 to 4.4% in 1997_however, have kept enterprises from making much needed capital investments. As a result, infrastructure and equipment stocks have continued to deteriorate. Belarus has seen little structural reform since 1995, when LUKASHENKO launched the country on the path of "market socialism." Privatization of enterprises controlled by the central government virtually ceased in 1996. As of May 1997, only about 10% of all enterprises under central government control had been privatized. In addition, LUKASHENKO has re-imposed administrative control over prices and the national currency's exchange rate, and expanded the state's right to intervene arbitrarily in the management of private enterprise. Lack of structural reform, and a climate hostile to business, have inhibited foreign investment in Belarus in 1995-97. In 1995 Belarus ranked second to last among the 15 former Soviet republics in terms of the average amount of foreign investment it attracted per capita. Although it moved up to 11th place in 1996, this was largely due to inflows from Russia related to the construction of the Yamal natural gas pipeline. Belarus's trade deficit has grown steadily over the past three years - from 8% of total trade turnover in 1995 to 14% in the first quarter of 1997 - despite the government's efforts to promote exports and limit imports. Given Belarus's limited fiscal reserve, a continued growth in the trade deficit will increase vulnerability to a balance of payments crisis.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 8.5% (1997 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: 20%
Industry: 43%
Services: 37% (1997 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: 17% (1997 est.)

Labor force
Total: 4.3 million
By occupation industry and construction: 40%
By occupation agriculture and forestry: 19%
By occupation services: 41% (1997est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 3.3% officially registered unemployed (July 1997; 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: $4 billion
Expenditures: $4.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $180 million (1997 est.)

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

Exports: total value:$5.4 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
Commodoties: machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs
Partners: Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany

Imports: total value:$6.7 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
Commodoties: fuel, natural gas, industrial raw materials, textiles, sugar
Partners: Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $970 million (December 1997 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Belarusian rubels per US$1_31,030 (19 January 1998 official Belarusian exchange rate), 28,800 (October 1997 end of period),15,500 (yearend 1996), 11,500 (yearend 1995), 10,600 (yearend 1994), 699 (yearend 1993)

Belarus - Energy 1998
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 23.7 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 3,144 kWh (1996)

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 1998
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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 1998
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: 4.5 trillion rubles (1997 est.), note_conversion of defense expenditures into US dollars using the current exchange rate could produce misleading results
Percent of gdp: 1.3% (1997 est.)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Belarus - Transportation 1998
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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 1998
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Disputes international: demarcation has begun on border with Lithuania

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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