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Belarus (2006)

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Belarus 2006 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: 15.7% (male 825,823/female 791,741)

15-64 years: 69.7% (male 3,490,442/female 3,682,950)

65 years and over: 14.6% (male 498,976/female 1,003,079) (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk
Airports 86 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways total: 41

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: 12 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 45

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 6

under 914 m: 35 (2006)
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 1994 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 11.16 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Budget revenues: $5.903 billion

expenditures: $6.343 billion; including capital expenditures of $180 million (2005 est.)
Capital name: Minsk

geographic coordinates: 53 54 N, 27 34 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
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: Byelarus'

former: Belorussian (Byelorussian) Soviet Socialist Republic
Death rate 14.02 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Debt - external $4.662 billion (30 June 2005 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Karen B. STEWART

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; the whole boundary with Latvia and more than half the boundary with Lithuania remains undemarcated; discussions toward economic and political union with Russia proceed slowly
Economic aid - recipient $194.3 million (1995)
Economy - overview Belarus's economy in 2005 posted 8% growth. The government has succeeded in lowering inflation over the past several years. Trade with Russia - by far its largest single trade partner - decreased in 2005, largely as a result of a change in the way the Value Added Tax (VAT) on trade was collected. Trade with European countries increased. 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. During 2005, the government re-nationalized a number of private companies. In addition, businesses have been subject to pressure by 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. Because of these restrictive economic policies, Belarus has had trouble attracting foreign investment, which remains low. Growth has been strong in recent years, despite the roadblocks in a tough, centrally directed economy with a high, but decreasing, rate of inflation. Belarus continues to receive heavily discounted oil and natural gas from Russia. Much of Belarus' growth can be attributed to the re-export of Russian oil at market prices.
Electricity - consumption 34.3 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports 800 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports 7 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 - 2,150 (2005), 2,160.26 (2004), 2,051.27 (2003), 1,790.92 (2002), 1,390 (2001)
Executive branch chief of state: President Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (since 20 July 1994)

head of government: Prime Minister Sergei SIDORSKIY (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, Aleksandr LUKASHENKO extended his term to 2001 via a November 1996 referendum; subsequent election held 9 September 2001; an October 2004 referendum ended presidential term limits allowing president to run in a third election held on 19 March 2006; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president

election results: Aleksandr LUKASHENKO reelected president; percent of vote - Aleksandr LUKASHENKO 82.6%, Aleksandr MILINKEVICH 6%, Aleksandr KOZULIN 2.3%; note - election marred by electoral fraud
Exports 800 million kWh (2004)
Exports $16.14 billion f.o.b. (2005 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 38.5%, Ukraine 7.8%, Poland 7.1%, Latvia 4.2%, UK 4.1%, China 4.1% (2005)
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 ornamentation in red
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 9.3%

industry: 31.6%

services: 59.1% (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 9.2% (2005 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
Heliports 1 (2006)
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 7 billion kWh (2003)
Imports $16.94 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports 20.5 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Imports 360,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals
Imports - partners Russia 57.9%, Germany 9.7%, Ukraine 6.4%, Poland 5.2% (2005)
Independence 25 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
Industrial production growth rate 15.6% (2005 est.)
Industries metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, televisions, chemical fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators
Infant mortality rate total: 13 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 13.92 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 12.03 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 10.3% (2005 est.)
International organization participation BSEC (observer), CEI, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, NSG, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO (observer)
Irrigated land 1,310 sq km (2003)
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 4.3 million (31 December 2005)
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: 26.77%

permanent crops: 0.6%

other: 72.63% (2005)
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 four-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Palata Predstaviteley (110 seats; members elected by universal adult suffrage to serve four-year terms)

elections: last held 17 and 31 October 2004; international observers widely denounced the 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: 69.08 years

male: 63.47 years

female: 74.98 years (2006 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 Belarus Armed Forces: Land Force, Air and Air Defense Force (2006)
Military expenditures - dollar figure $420.5 million (2006)
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 2.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Pipelines gas 5,223 km; oil 2,321 km; refined products 1,686 km (2006)
Political parties and leaders pro-government parties: Agrarian Party or AP [Mikhail SHIMANSKY]; Belarusian Communist Party or KPB; Belarusian Patriotic Movement (Belarusian Patriotic Party) or BPR [Nikolai ULAKHOVICH, chairman]; Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus [Sergei GAYDUKEVICH]; Party of Labor and Justice [Viktor SOKOLOV]; Social-Sports Party [Vladimir ALEXANDROVICH]

opposition parties: 10 Plus Coalition [Alyaksandr MILINKEVICH], includes: Belarusian Party of Communists or PKB [Syarhey KALYAKIN]; Belarusian Party of Labor (unregistered) [Aleksandr BUKHVOSTOV, Leonid LEMESHONAK]; Belarusian Popular Front or BPF [Vintsyuk VYACHORKA]; Belarusian Social-Democratic Gramada [Stanislav SHUSHKEVICH]; Green Party [Oleg GROMYKO]; Party of Freedom and Progress (unregistered) [Vladimir NOVOSYAD]; United Civic Party or UCP [Anatol LYABEDKA]; Women's Party "Nadezhda" [Valentina MATUSEVICH, chairperson]

other opposition includes: Belarusian Social-Democratic Party Nardonaya Hromada or BSDP NH [Alyaksandr KOZULIN, chairman]; Christian Conservative BPF [Zyanon PAZNIAK]; Ecological Party of Greens [Mikhail KARTASH]; Party of Popular Accord [Sergei YERMAKK]; Republican Party [Vladimir BELAZOR]
Political pressure groups and leaders Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs [Sergey MATSKEVICH]; Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions [Alyaksandr YAROSHUK]; Belarusian Helsinki Committee [Tatiana PROTKO]; Belarusian Organization of Working Women [Irina ZHIKHAR]; Charter 97 [Andrey SANNIKOV]; Lenin Communist Union of Youth (youth wing of the Belarusian Party of Communists or PKB); National Strike Committee of Entrepreneurs [Aleksandr VASILYEV, Valery LEVONEVSKY]; Partnership NGO [Nikolay ASTREYKA]; Perspektiva kiosk watchdog NGO [Anatol SHUMCHENKO]; Vyasna [Ales BYALATSKY]; Women's Independent Democratic Movement [Ludmila PETINA]; Youth Front (Malady Front) [Dzmitryy DASHKEVICH, Syarhey BAKHUN]; Zubr youth group [Vladimir KOBETS]
Population 10,293,011 (July 2006 est.)
Population below poverty line 27.1% (2003 est.)
Population growth rate -0.06% (2006 est.)
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 (2005)
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 (2006 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: Belarus lags behind its neighbors in upgrading telecommunications infrastructure; state-owned Beltelcom, is the sole provider of fixed line local and long distance service; modernization of the network to digital switching progressing slowly

domestic: fixed line penetration is improving although rural areas continue to be underserved; four GSM wireless networks are experiencing rapid growth; strict government controls on telecommunications technologies

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 3,284,300 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular 4.098 million (2005)
Television broadcast stations 47 (plus 27 repeaters) (1995)
Terrain generally flat and contains much marshland
Total fertility rate 1.43 children born/woman (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate 1.6% officially registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers (2005)
Waterways 2,500 km (use limited by location on perimeter of country and by shallowness) (2003)
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