42 Facts About Belarus


Belarus, officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe.

FactSnippet No. 405,708

Until the 20th century, different states at various times controlled the lands of modern-day Belarus, including Kievan Rus', the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire.

FactSnippet No. 405,709

Belarus is the only country in Europe officially using the death penalty.

FactSnippet No. 405,710

Belarus is a developing country, ranking 60th in the Human Development Index.

FactSnippet No. 405,711

Belarus suspended its participation in the latter on 28 June 2021, after the EU imposed more sanctions against the country.

FactSnippet No. 405,712

Name Belarus is closely related with the term Belaya Rus, i e, White Rus'.

FactSnippet No. 405,713

Name Rus is often conflated with its Latin forms Russia and Ruthenia, thus Belarus is often referred to as White Russia or White Ruthenia.

FactSnippet No. 405,714

The first known use of White Russia to refer to Belarus was in the late-16th century by Englishman Sir Jerome Horsey, who was known for his close contacts with the Russian royal court.

FactSnippet No. 405,715

Many early Rus' principalities were virtually razed or severely affected by a major Mongol invasion in the 13th century, but the lands of modern-day Belarus avoided the brunt of the invasion and eventually joined the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

FactSnippet No. 405,716

The Jewish population of Belarus was devastated during the Holocaust and never recovered.

FactSnippet No. 405,717

Stanislau Shushkevich, the chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Belarus, met with Boris Yeltsin of Russia and Leonid Kravchuk of Ukraine on 8 December 1991 in Bialowieza Forest to formally declare the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

FactSnippet No. 405,718

Two years later the so-called Milk War, a trade dispute, started when Russia wanted Belarus to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and through a series of events ended up banning the import of dairy products from Belarus.

FactSnippet No. 405,719

In 2011, Belarus suffered a severe economic crisis attributed to Lukashenko's government's centralised control of the economy.

FactSnippet No. 405,720

Belarus, by constitution, is a presidential republic with separation of powers, governed by a president and the National Assembly.

FactSnippet No. 405,721

Under Lukashenko, Belarus has been considered an autocracy where power is ultimately concentrated in the hands of the president, elections are not free and judicial independence is weak.

FactSnippet No. 405,722

The Communist Party of Belarus won 3 seats, and the Agrarian Party and Republican Party of Labour and Justice, one each.

FactSnippet No. 405,723

Belarus has often been described as "Europe's last dictatorship" by some media outlets, politicians and authors due to its authoritarian government.

FactSnippet No. 405,724

Belarus is dependent on Russia for imports of raw materials and for its export market.

FactSnippet No. 405,725

Belarus was a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

FactSnippet No. 405,726

Belarus has trade agreements with several European Union member states, including neighboring Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.

FactSnippet No. 405,727

Belarus has strong ties with Syria, considered a key partner in the Middle East.

FactSnippet No. 405,728

Belarus is included in the European Union's Eastern Partnership program, part of the EU's European Neighbourhood Policy, which aims to bring the EU and its neighbours closer in economic and geopolitical terms.

FactSnippet No. 405,729

However, Belarus suspended its participation in the Eastern Partnership program on 28 June 2021, after the EU imposed more sanctions against the country.

FactSnippet No. 405,730

The transformation of the ex-Soviet forces into the Armed Forces of Belarus, which was completed in 1997, reduced the number of its soldiers by 30, 000 and restructured its leadership and military formations.

FactSnippet No. 405,731

Belarus has not expressed a desire to join NATO but has participated in the Individual Partnership Program since 1997, and Belarus provides refueling and airspace support for the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.

FactSnippet No. 405,732

Belarus first began to cooperate with NATO upon signing documents to participate in their Partnership for Peace Program in 1995.

FactSnippet No. 405,733

However, Belarus cannot join NATO because it is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.

FactSnippet No. 405,734

Tensions between NATO and Belarus peaked after the March 2006 presidential election in Belarus.

FactSnippet No. 405,735

Belarus is the only European country still using capital punishment having carried out executions in 2011.

FactSnippet No. 405,736

Judicial system in Belarus lacks independence and is subject to political interference.

FactSnippet No. 405,737

Belarus is divided into six regions called oblasts, which are named after the cities that serve as their administrative centers: Brest, Gomel, Grodno, Mogilev, Minsk, and Vitebsk.

FactSnippet No. 405,738

Local government in Belarus is administered by administrative-territorial units, and occurs on two levels: basic and primary.

FactSnippet No. 405,739

At the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Belarus was one of the world's most industrially developed states by percentage of GDP as well as the richest CIS member-state.

FactSnippet No. 405,740

Economically, Belarus involved itself in the CIS, Eurasian Economic Community, and Union with Russia.

FactSnippet No. 405,741

Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, under Lukashenko's leadership, Belarus has maintained government control over key industries and eschewed the large-scale privatizations seen in other former Soviet republics.

FactSnippet No. 405,742

Belarus applied to become a member of the World Trade Organization in 1993.

FactSnippet No. 405,743

On 1 June 2011, Belarus requested an economic rescue package from the International Monetary Fund.

FactSnippet No. 405,744

Since 2004, Belarus has been sending artists to the Eurovision Song Contest.

FactSnippet No. 405,745

Belarus spent the World War I years in Soviet Belarus, becoming one of the country's most distinguished artists and a member of the modernist avant-garde and was a founder of the Vitebsk Arts College.

FactSnippet No. 405,746

Belarus has competed in the Olympic Games since the 1994 Winter Olympics as an independent nation.

FactSnippet No. 405,747

Belarus's won the gold medal in mixed doubles at the 2012 Summer Olympics with Max Mirnyi, who holds ten Grand Slam titles in doubles.

FactSnippet No. 405,748

Belarus has four UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites: the Mir Castle Complex, the Nesvizh Castle, the Belovezhskaya Pushcha, and the Struve Geodetic Arc (shared with nine other countries).

FactSnippet No. 405,749