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Belarus (2005)

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Belarus 2005 year

Administrative divisions 6 provinces (voblastsi, singular - voblasts') and 1 municipality* (horad); Brest, Homyel', Horad Minsk*, Hrodna, Mahilyow, Minsk, Vitsyebsk

note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers
Age structure 0-14 years: 16% (male 839,292/female 804,738)

15-64 years: 69.5% (male 3,481,432/female 3,672,991)

65 years and over: 14.6% (male 498,717/female 1,003,313) (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk
Airports 133 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total: 50

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 22

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 21 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 83

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 5

914 to 1,523 m: 11

under 914 m: 64 (2004 est.)
Area total: 207,600 sq km

land: 207,600 sq km

water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative slightly smaller than Kansas
Background 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 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 1995 as the country's first president, Alexander LUKASHENKO has steadily consolidated his power through authoritarian means. Government restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion continue.
Birth rate 10.83 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Budget revenues: $3.326 billion

expenditures: $3.564 billion, including capital expenditures of $180 million (2004 est.)
Capital Minsk
Climate cold winters, cool and moist summers; transitional between continental and maritime
Coastline 0 km (landlocked)
Constitution 15 March 1994; revised by national referendum of 24 November 1996 giving the presidency greatly expanded powers and became effective 27 November 1996; revised again 17 October 2004 removing presidential term limits
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
Death rate 14.15 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Debt - external $600 million (2004 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador George A. KROL

embassy: 46 Starovilenskaya St., Minsk 220002

mailing address: PSC 78, Box B Minsk, APO 09723

telephone: [375] (17) 210-12-83, 217-7347, 217-7348

FAX: [375] (17) 234-7853
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador Mikhail KHVOSTOV

chancery: 1619 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009

telephone: [1] (202) 986-1604

FAX: [1] (202) 986-1805

consulate(s) general: New York
Disputes - international 1997 boundary treaty with Ukraine remains unratified over unresolved financial claims, preventing demarcation and diminishing border security; boundary with Latvia remains undemarcated but a third of the border with Lithuania was demarcated in 2004
Economic aid - recipient $194.3 million (1995)
Economy - overview Belarus's economy in 2003-04 posted 6.1% and 6.4% growth. Still, the economy continues to be hampered by high inflation, persistent trade deficits, and ongoing rocky relations with Russia, Belarus' largest trading partner and energy supplier. Belarus has seen little structural reform since 1995, when President LUKASHENKO launched the country on the path of "market socialism." In keeping with this policy, LUKASHENKO reimposed administrative controls over prices and currency exchange rates and expanded the state's right to intervene in the management of private enterprises. In addition, businesses have been subject to pressure on the part of central and local governments, e.g., arbitrary changes in regulations, numerous rigorous inspections, retroactive application of new business regulations, and arrests of "disruptive" businessmen and factory owners. A wide range of redistributive policies has helped those at the bottom of the ladder; the Gini coefficient is among the lowest in the world. For the time being, Belarus remains self-isolated from the West and its open-market economies. Growth has been strong in recent years, despite the roadblocks in a tough, centrally directed economy and the high, but decreasing, rate of inflation. Growth has been buoyed by increased Russian demand for generally noncompetitive Belarusian goods.
Electricity - consumption 34.3 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports 800 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports 3.2 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - production 30 billion kWh (2004)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Nyoman River 90 m

highest point: Dzyarzhynskaya Hara 346 m
Environment - 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
Environment - international agreements party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Ethnic groups Belarusian 81.2%, Russian 11.4%, Polish 3.9%, Ukrainian 2.4%, other 1.1% (1999 census)
Exchange rates Belarusian rubles per US dollar - 2,160.26 (2004), 2,051.27 (2003), 1,790.92 (2002), 1,390 (2001), 876.75 (2000)
Executive branch chief of state: President Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (since 20 July 1994)

head of government: Prime Minister Sergei SIDORSKY (since 19 December 2003); First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir SEMASHKO (since December 2003)

cabinet: Council of Ministers

elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; first election took place 23 June and 10 July 1994; according to the 1994 constitution, the next election should have been held in 1999, however LUKASHENKO extended his term to 2001 via a November 1996 referendum; new election held 9 September 2001; October 2004 referendum ended presidential term limits allowing president to run for a third term in September 2006; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president

election results: Aleksandr LUKASHENKO reelected president; percent of vote - Aleksandr LUKASHENKO 75.6%, Vladimir GONCHARIK 15.4%
Exports 800 million kWh (2004)
Exports $11.47 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports 0 cu m (2004 est.)
Exports 14,500 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals; textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partners Russia 47%, UK 8.3%, Netherlands 6.7%, Poland 5.3% (2004)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag description red horizontal band (top) and green horizontal band one-half the width of the red band; a white vertical stripe on the hoist side bears Belarusian national ornamention in red
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 11%

industry: 36.4%

services: 52.6% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $6,800 (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 6.4% (2004 est.)
Geographic coordinates 53 00 N, 28 00 E
Geography - note landlocked; glacial scouring accounts for the flatness of Belarusian terrain and for its 11,000 lakes; the country is geologically well endowed with extensive deposits of granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, and clay
Heliports 1 (2004 est.)
Highways total: 79,990 km

paved: 69,351 km

unpaved: 10,639 km (2002)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 5.1%

highest 10%: 20% (1998)
Illicit drugs limited cultivation of opium poppy and cannabis, mostly for the domestic market; transshipment point for illicit drugs to and via Russia, and to the Baltics and Western Europe; a small and lightly regulated financial center; new anti-money-laundering legislation does not meet international standards; few investigations or prosecutions of money-laundering activities
Imports 3.2 billion kWh (2003)
Imports $13.57 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports 18.5 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Imports 360,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals
Imports - partners Russia 68.2%, Germany 6.6%, Ukraine 3.3% (2004)
Independence 25 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
Industrial production growth rate 4% (2004 est.)
Industries metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, televisions, chemical fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators
Infant mortality rate total: 13.37 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 14.3 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 12.39 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 17.4% (2004 est.)
International organization participation CEI, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, NSG, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Irrigated land 1,150 sq km (1998 est.)
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)
Labor force 4.305 million (31 December 2003)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 14%, industry 34.7%, services 51.3% (2003 est.)
Land boundaries total: 2,900 km

border countries: Latvia 141 km, Lithuania 502 km, Poland 407 km, Russia 959 km, Ukraine 891 km
Land use arable land: 29.55%

permanent crops: 0.6%

other: 69.85% (2001)
Languages Belarusian, Russian, other
Legal system based on civil law system
Legislative branch bicameral National Assembly or Natsionalnoye Sobranie consists of the Council of the Republic or Soviet Respubliki (64 seats; 56 members elected by regional councils and 8 members appointed by the president, all for 4-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Palata Predstaviteley (110 seats; members elected by universal adult suffrage to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held 18 March and 1 April 2001 and 17 and 31 October 2004; international observers widely denounced the October 2004 elections as flawed and undemocratic, based on massive government falsification; pro-Lukashenko candidates won every seat, after many opposition candidates were disqualified for technical reasons

election results: Soviet Respubliki - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA; Palata Predstaviteley - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA
Life expectancy at birth total population: 68.72 years

male: 63.03 years

female: 74.69 years (2005 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.6%

male: 99.8%

female: 99.5% (2003 est.)
Location Eastern Europe, east of Poland
Map references Europe
Maritime claims none (landlocked)
Military branches Army, Air and Air Defense Force
Military expenditures - dollar figure $176.1 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 1.4% (FY02)
National holiday Independence Day, 3 July (1944); note - 3 July 1944 was the date Minsk was liberated from German troops, 25 August 1991 was the date of independence from the Soviet Union
Nationality noun: Belarusian(s)

adjective: Belarusian
Natural hazards NA
Natural resources forests, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, clay
Net migration rate 2.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Pipelines gas 5,223 km; oil 2,443 km; refined products 1,686 km (2004)
Political parties and leaders Pro-government parties: Agrarian Party or AP [leader NA]; Belarusian Communist Party or KPB [leader NA]; Belarusian Patriotic Movement (Belarusian Patriotic Party) or BPR [Anatoliy BARANKEVICH, chairman]; Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus [Sergei GAYDUKEVICH]; Social-Sports Party [leader NA]; Opposition parties: Belarusian Popular Front or BNF [Vintsuk VYACHORKA]; Belarusian Social-Democrat Party Narodnaya Gromada or BSDP NG [Nikolay STATKEVICH, chairman]; Belarusian Social-Democratic Party Hromada [Stanislav SHUSHKEVICH, chairman]; United Civic Party or UCP [Anatol LEBEDKO]; Party of Communists Belarusian or PKB [Sergei KALYAKIN, chairman]; Women's Party "Nadezhda" [Valentina MATUSEVICH, chairperson]

note: the opposition Belarusian Party of Labor [Aleksandr BUKHVOSTOV] was liquidated in August 2004, but remains active
Political pressure groups and leaders NA
Population 10,300,483 (July 2005 est.)
Population below poverty line 27.1% (2003 est.)
Population growth rate -0.09% (2005 est.)
Ports and harbors Mazyr
Radio broadcast stations AM 28, FM 37, shortwave 11 (1998)
Railways total: 5,512 km

broad gauge: 5,497 km 1.520-m gauge (874 km electrified)

standard gauge: 15 km 1.435-m (2004)
Religions Eastern Orthodox 80%, other (including Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim) 20% (1997 est.)
Sex ratio at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.5 male(s)/female

total population: 0.88 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: the Ministry of Telecommunications controls all telecommunications through its carrier (a joint stock company) Beltelcom which is a monopoly

domestic: local - Minsk has a digital metropolitan network and a cellular NMT-450 network; waiting lists for telephones are long; local service outside Minsk is neglected and poor; intercity - Belarus has a partly developed fiber-optic backbone system presently serving at least 13 major cities (1998); Belarus' fiber optics form synchronous digital hierarchy rings through other countries' systems; an inadequate analog system remains operational

international: country code - 375; Belarus is a member of the Trans-European Line (TEL), Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic line, and has access to the Trans-Siberia Line (TSL); three fiber-optic segments provide connectivity to Latvia, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine; worldwide service is available to Belarus through this infrastructure; additional analog lines to Russia; Intelsat, Eutelsat, and Intersputnik earth stations
Telephones - main lines in use 3,071,300 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular 1.118 million (2003)
Television broadcast stations 47 (plus 27 repeaters) (1995)
Terrain generally flat and contains much marshland
Total fertility rate 1.39 children born/woman (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate 2% officially registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers (2004)
Waterways 2,500 km (use limited by location on perimeter of country and by shallowness) (2003)
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