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Belarus

From open-encyclopedia.com - the free encyclopedia.

The Republic of Belarus (Belarusian: Белару́сь, Russian: Белару́сь (former: Белору́ссия)) is a landlocked nation of Eastern Europe with the capital Minsk.

Рэспу́бліка Белару́сь
Respublika Biełaruś
Flag of Belarus Coat of Arms of Belarus
(In detail) (In detail)
National motto: none
image:LocationBelarus.png
Official languages Belarusian, Russian
Capital Minsk
President Aleksandr Lukashenko
Prime Minister Sergey Sidorsky
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 84th
207,600 km²
Negligible
Population
 - Total (2003)
 - Density
Ranked 75th
11,196,394
50/km²
GDP
 - Total (2001)


 - GDP/head

Ranked 74th


$13 billion
$1,260

Independence
 - Declared
 - Recognised
From the USSR
July 3, 1990
August 25, 1991
Currency Belarusian Rouble
Time zone UTC +2
National anthem Мы, беларусы
Internet TLD .by
Calling Code 375
Contents

Name

Main article: White Russia

The spellings Belorussia and Byelorussia are transliterations of the name of the country in Russian and are no longer widely used.

Historically, in English, Belarus was sometimes referred to as "White Russia" or "White Ruthenia", a literal translation of its name. This literal translation is also used in a number of other languages, e.g., "Weißrussland" in German, "Wit-Rusland" in Dutch, "Hviterussland" and "Kviterussland" in Norwegian, "Λευκορωσία" in Greek, "Valko-Venäjä" in Finnish, "Baltkrievija" in Latvian and "Baltarusija" in Lithuanian. The name "Byelorussia" is considered derogatory by some few, as it reminds them of Russian and Soviet imperialism and policies of russification (the full title of the Russian tsar was "Emperor of All the Russias - Great, Minor, and White"). The name "Belarus" is now favoured by these individuals for this reason. Fortunately today "Belarus" is the officially accepted name of the country.

History

Main article: History of Belarus

The present Slavic population of Belarus settled there between the 6th and the 8th century. The Early East Slavs gradually came in contact with the Varangians and were organized under the Rus', notably in the principality of Polatsk in modern-day northern Belarus.

By the 13th century, the state of Rus was gravely impacted by the Mongol invasion and the Belarusian territories were consolidated under the Lithuanians as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Rus' and Samogitia. The city of Navahradak in today's western Belarus was at one point the capital of this state.

In 1569 the duchy became part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth under the collaboratively elected kings of Poland that were also crowned grand dukes of Lithuania. It remained part of it until 1795, when it was acquired by Imperial Russia. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, during the German occupation at the end of the World War I, there existed a short-lived Belarus National Republic. In 1919 Byelorussian SSR was declared, one of the founding members of the Soviet Union.

In the Second World War, Belarus was occupied by Nazi Germany between 1941 and 1944. Another notable harsh period in Belarusian history was the Chernobyl accident of 1986.

Belarus declared independence from the Soviet Union on July 27 1990.

On December 8, 1991, the leaders of Russia (Boris Yeltsin), Ukraine (Leonid Kravchuk), and Belarus (Stanislav Shushkevich) republics met in Belarus, in Belavezhskaya Pushcha, to issue a declaration that the Soviet Union was dissolved and replaced by the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Politics

Main article: Politics of Belarus

Belarus is a republic governed by a President and a bicameral Parliament (National Assembly or Natsyyanal'ny Skhod). The judiciary is headed by a Supreme Court and a Constitutional Court.

Western media, politicians and political scientists usually consider Belarus as Europe'Dictatorship" title ="Dictatorship">dictatorship due to the authoritarian rule of president Lukashenko. Notably, Belarus is the only European country without full membership in the Council of Europe.

See also:

Administrative subdivision

Main article: Subdivisions of Belarus

At the higher administrative level, Belarus is divided into 6 voblasts and one municipality (horad, i.e., "city"); the latter one is the capital of Belarus.

Voblasts are further subdivided into rayons (usually translated as districts).

Geography

Main article: Geography of Belarus

Map of Belarus

Belarus borders Poland and Lithuania on the west, Russia on the east, Ukraine on the south and Latvia on the north.

Although landlocked, it has 11,000 lakes. Three major rivers run through it: the Neman River, the Pripyat River, and the Dnepr River. Belarus is relatively flat and marsh-rich. The largest marsh territory is Polesie. Its highest point at Dzyarzhynskaya Hara (Dzyarzhynsk Hill), 346 m, and its lowest point on the Neman river, 90 m.

The natural resources of Belarus are forests, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, and clay.

See also:

Economy

Main article: Economy of Belarus

President Lukashenko launched the country on the path of "market socialism" in 1995. In keeping with this policy, Lukashenko re-imposed administrative controls over prices and currency exchange rates and expanded the state'Inflation" title ="Inflation">inflation, businesses have been subject to pressure on the part of central and local governments, e.g., arbitrary changes in regulations, numerous rigorous inspections, and retroactive application of new business regulations prohibiting practices that had been legal.

Further economic problems are two consecutive bad harvests, 1998-1999, and persistent trade deficits. Close relations with Russia, possibly leading to reunion, color the pattern of economic developments. For the time being, Belarus remains self-isolated from the West and its open-market economies.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Belarus

Belarus is primarily inhabited by Belarusians, and some Russians, Poles, Ukrainians and others.

Most demographic indicators resemble other European countries, notably with both the population growth rate and the natural growth rate in the negative.

According to various estimates, 60-70% of Belarusians consider themselves Russian Orthodox, about 15-20% are Catholics, and 5-10% are Protestants or other religions. There is a considerable amount of atheists.

Historically the Belarusians enjoyed a variety of religions: Russian Orthodox, Catholicism, Protestantism. Since president Lukashenka came to power, the Russian Orthodox Church in Belarus was given more official support. This was particularly evident in tax breaks that allowed the Church to become a large-scale exporter of tax-free vodka and cigarettes. A new religion law was passed in Belarus that does not have the support of the Catholics and the Protestants as well as other believers, who complain that it discriminates them, giving many preferences to Russian Orthodox Church. (See also Kalvaryja.)

Culture

Main article: Culture of Belarus

See also:

Symbols from earlier history

The white-red-white flag of Belarus The Chase/Pahonya CoA of Belarus

The images show the white-red-white flag (бел-чырвона-белы сцяг) and The Chase (Паго́ня, Pahonya) coat of arms. These historical symbols were adopted as the symbols of the Belarus National Republic and as the official national symbols of the Republic of Belarus from the time it got its independence in July 1991 and until the Referendum of 1995. The coat of arms is similar to that of Lithuania (Vytis).

Miscellaneous topics

External links



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Dependencies: Faroe Islands | Gibraltar | Guernsey | Jan Mayen | Jersey | Isle of Man | Svalbard


bg:Беларус be:Беларусь cs:Bělorusko cy:Belarus da:Hviderusland de:Weißrussland et:Valgevene es:Bielorrusia eo:Belorusio fr:Biélorussie ko:벨라루스 id:Belarus it:Bielorussia la:Ruthenia Alba lv:Baltkrievija lt:Baltarusija minnan:Belarus nl:Wit-Rusland ja:ベラルーシ no:Hviterussland nds:Wittrussland pl:Białoruś pt:Bielorrússia ro:Belarus ru:Белоруссия sa:बेलारूस sl:Belorusija fi:Valko-Venäjä sv:Vitryssland uk:Білорусь zh:白俄罗斯

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