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Belarus country facts

Republic of Belarus Europe Minsk 9,608,058 inhabitants 207,600 sq km 46.28 inhabitants/sq km Belarusian rubles (BYB/BYR) population evolution



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 have 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 directly elected president, Aleksandr LUKASHENKO has steadily consolidated his power through authoritarian means and a centralized economic system. Government restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion remain in place.



Eastern Europe, east of Poland

Geographic coordinates

53 00 N, 28 00 E

Area (sq km)

total: 207,600 sq km
land: 202,900 sq km
water: 4,700 sq km

Area - comparative (sq km)

slightly smaller than Kansas

Land boundaries (km)

total: 3,599 km
border countries: Latvia 161 km, Lithuania 640 km, Poland 375 km, Russia 1,312 km, Ukraine 1,111 km

Coastline (km)

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


cold winters, cool and moist summers; transitional between continental and maritime


generally flat and contains much marshland

Elevation extremes (m)

lowest point: Nyoman River 90 m
highest point: Dzyarzhynskaya Hara 346 m

Natural resources

timber, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, clay

Land use (%)

arable land: 26.63%
permanent crops: 0.59%
other: 72.78% (2011)

Irrigated land (sq km)

1,150 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources (cu km)

58 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural) ()

total: 4.34 cu km/yr (32%/65%/3%)
per capita: 435.4 cu m/yr (2009)

Natural hazards


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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

landlocked; glacial scouring accounts for the flatness of Belarusian terrain and for its 11,000 lakes

People and Society


noun: Belarusian(s)
adjective: Belarusian

Ethnic groups (%)

Belarusian 83.7%, Russian 8.3%, Polish 3.1%, Ukrainian 1.7%, other 2.4%, unspecified 0.9% (2009 est.)

Languages (%)

Belarusian (official) 23.4%, Russian (official) 70.2%, other 3.1% (includes small Polish- and Ukrainian-speaking minorities), unspecified 3.3% (2009 est.)

Religions (%)

Eastern Orthodox 80%, other (including Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim) 20% (1997 est.)


9,608,058 (July 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

Age structure (%)

0-14 years: 15.4% (male 759,285/female 717,118)
15-24 years: 11.7% (male 575,907/female 544,170)
25-54 years: 45.5% (male 2,141,419/female 2,227,433)
55-64 years: 13.3% (male 562,639/female 716,216)
65 years and over: 14.2% (male 430,225/female 933,646) (2014 est.)

Age structure in Belarus

Median age (years)

total: 39.4 years
male: 36.3 years
female: 42.4 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate (%)

-0.19% (2014 est.)

Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

10.86 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate (deaths/1,000 population)

13.51 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate (migrant(s)/1,000 population)

0.78 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Urbanization (%)

urban population: 75% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 0.21% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

MINSK (capital) 1.861 million (2011)

Sex ratio (male(s)/female)

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.46 male(s)/female
total population: 0.87 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate (deaths/100,000 live births)

4 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

total: 3.64 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.07 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: 72.15 years
male: 66.53 years
female: 78.1 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

1.47 children born/woman (2014 est.)

Health expenditures (% of GDP)

5.3% of GDP (2011)

Physicians density (physicians/1,000 population)

3.76 physicians/1,000 population (2011)

Hospital bed density (beds/1,000 population)

11.1 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source (% of population)

improved: urban: 99.8% of population
rural: 99% of population
total: 99.6% of population
unimproved: urban: 0.2% of population
rural: 1% of population
total: 0.4% of population (2012 est.)

Sanitation facility access (% of population)

improved: urban: 94% of population
rural: 95.3% of population
total: 94.3% of population
unimproved: urban: 6% of population
rural: 4.7% of population
total: 5.7% of population (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)

0.4% (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

23,200 (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

1,200 (2012 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate (%)

24.3% (2008)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight (%)

1.3% (2005)

Education expenditures (% of GDP)

5.1% of GDP (2012)

Literacy (%)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.6%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.5% (2009 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) (years)

total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 (%)

total: 12.6%
male: 12.4%
female: 12.6% (2009)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Belarus
conventional short form: Belarus
local long form: Respublika Byelarus'/Respublika Belarus'
local short form: Byelarus'/Belarus'
former: Belorussian (Byelorussian) Soviet Socialist Republic

Government type

republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship


name: Minsk
geographic coordinates: 53 54 N, 27 34 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

6 provinces (voblastsi, singular - voblasts') and 1 municipality* (horad); Brest, Homyel' (Gomel), Horad Minsk* (Minsk City), Hrodna (Grodno), Mahilyow (Mogilev), Minsk, Vitsyebsk (Vitebsk)
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers; Russian spelling provided for reference when different from Belarusian


25 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

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


several previous; latest drafted between late 1991 and early 1994, signed 15 March 1994; amended 1996, 2004 (2013)

Legal system

civil law system; note - nearly all major codes (civil, civil procedure, criminal, criminal procedure, family and labor) have been revised and came into force in 1999 or 2000

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: president Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (since 20 July 1994); note - the US does not recognize the results of the 19 December 2010 elections under which the Central Election Commission of Belarus declared LUKASHENKO president
head of government: prime minister Mikhail MYASNIKOVICH (since 28 December 2010); 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 on 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 on 9 September 2001; an October 2004 referendum ended presidential term limits and allowed the president to run in a third (19 March 2006) and fourth election (19 December 2010); prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president
election results: Aleksandr LUKASHENKO reelected president; percent of vote - Aleksandr LUKASHENKO 79.7%, Andrey SANNIKOV 2.6%, other candidates 17.7%; note - election marred by electoral fraud

Legislative branch

bicameral national assembly or natsionalnoye sobraniye consists of the Council of the Republic or Sovet Respubliki (64 seats; 56 members elected by regional and Minsk city councils and 8 members appointed by the president, to serve four-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Palata Predstaviteley (110 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms); note - the US does not recognize the legitimacy of the national assembly
elections: Palata Predstaviteley - last held on 23 September 2012 (next to be held September 2016); OSCE observers determined that the election was neither free nor impartial and that vote counting was problematic in a number of polling stations; pro-LUKASHENKO candidates won every seat with no opposition representation in the chamber; international observers determined that the previous election, on 28 September 2008, despite minor improvements also fell short of democratic standards, with pro-LUKASHENKO candidates winning every seat
election results: Sovet Respubliki - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; Palata Predstaviteley - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - KPB 3, AP 1, Republican Party of Labor and Justice 1, no affiliation 105

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chairman, deputy chairman, and NA judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 12 judges including a chairman and deputy chairman)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president with the consent of the Council of the Republic; judges initially appointed for 5 years and evaluated for life appointment; Constitutional Court judges - 6 appointed by the president and 6 elected by the Chamber of Representatives; term of judges is 11 years with an age limit of 70
subordinate courts: regional, district, city, town, and military courts

Political parties and leaders

pro-government parties: Belarusian Agrarian Party or AP [Mikhail SHIMANSKY]
Belarusian Patriotic Movement (Belarusian Patriotic Party) or BPR [Nikolay ULAKHOVICH, chairman]
Communist Party of Belarus or KPB [Igor KARPENKO]
Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Sergey GAYDUKEVICH]
Republican Party of Labor and Justice [Vasiliy ZADNEPRYANYY]
opposition parties: Belarusian Christian Democracy Party [Pavel SEVERINETS] (unregistered)
Belarusian Party of the Left "Fair World" [Sergey KALYAKIN]
Belarusian Popular Front or BPF [Aleksey YANUKEVICH]
Belarusian Social-Democratic Hramada [Stanislav SHUSHKEVICH]
Belarusian Social Democratic Party Hramada ("Assembly") or BSDPH [Irina VESHTARD]
Belarusian Social Democratic Party People's Assembly ("Narodnaya Hramada") [Nikolay STATKEVICH] (unregistered)
Christian Conservative Party or BPF [Zyanon PAZNIAK]
European Belarus Campaign [Andrey SANNIKOV]
Party of Freedom and Progress [Vladimir NOVOSYAD] (unregistered)
"Tell the Truth" Campaign [Vladimir NEKLYAYEV]
United Civic Party or UCP [Anatoliy LEBEDKO]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs [Sergey MATSKEVICH] (unregistered)
Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions [Aleksandr YAROSHUK]
Belarusian Association of Journalists [Zhana LITVINA]
Belarusian Helsinki Committee [Aleh HULAK]
Belarusian Independence Bloc (unregistered) and For Freedom movement [Aleksandr MILINKEVICH]
Belarusian Organization of Working Women [Irina ZHIKHAR]
BPF-Youth [Andrus KRECHKA] (unregistered)
Charter 97 [Andrey SANNIKOV] (unregistered)
Perspektiva small business association [Anatol SHUMCHENKO]
Nasha Vyasna ("Our Spring") human rights center [Ales BYALYATSKI] (unregistered)
"Tell the Truth" Movement [Vladimir NEKLYAYEV] (unregistered)
Women's Independent Democratic Movement [Ludmila PETINA]
Young Belarus (Malady Belarus) [Zmitser KASPYAROVICH] (unregistered)
Youth Front (Malady Front) [Zmitser DASHKEVICH] (unregistered)

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Oleg KRAVCHENKO
chancery: 1619 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 986-1604
FAX: [1] (202) 986-1805
consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Ethan GOLDRICH (since July 2012)
embassy: 46 Starovilenskaya Street, Minsk 220002
mailing address: PSC 78, Box B Minsk, APO 09723
telephone: [375] (17) 210-12-83
FAX: [375] (17) 234-7853

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; the red band color recalls past struggles from oppression, the green band represents hope and the many forests of the country

National symbol(s)

mounted knight known as Pahonia (the Chaser)

National anthem

name: "My, Bielarusy" (We Belarusians)
lyrics/music: Mikhas KLIMKOVICH and Uladzimir KARYZNA/Nester SAKALOUSKI
note: music adopted 1955, lyrics adopted 2002; after the fall of the Soviet Union, Belarus kept the music of its Soviet-era anthem but adopted new lyrics; also known as "Dziarzauny himn Respubliki Bielarus" (State Anthem of the Republic of Belarus)


Economy - overview

As part of the former Soviet Union, Belarus had a relatively well-developed industrial base; it retained this industrial base - which is now outdated, energy inefficient, and dependent on subsidized Russian energy and preferential access to Russian markets - following the breakup of the USSR. The country also has a broad agricultural base which is inefficient and dependent on government subsidies. After an initial burst of capitalist reform from 1991-94, including privatization of state enterprises, creation of institutions of private property, and development of entrepreneurship, Belarus' economic development greatly slowed. About 80% of all industry remains in state hands, and foreign investment has been hindered by a climate hostile to business. A few banks, which had been privatized after independence, were renationalized. State banks account for 75% of the banking sector. Economic output, which had declined for several years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, revived in the mid-2000s thanks to the boom in oil prices. Belarus has only small reserves of crude oil, though it imports most of its crude oil and natural gas from Russia at prices substantially below the world market. Belarus exported refined oil products at market prices produced from Russian crude oil purchased at a steep discount. In late 2006, Russia began a process of rolling back its subsidies on oil and gas to Belarus. Tensions over Russian energy reached a peak in 2010, when Russia stopped the export of all subsidized oil to Belarus save for domestic needs. In December 2010, Russia and Belarus reached a deal to restart the export of discounted oil to Belarus. Little new foreign investment has occurred in recent years. In 2011, a financial crisis began, triggered by government directed salary hikes unsupported by commensurate productivity increases. The crisis was compounded by an increased cost in Russian energy inputs and an overvalued Belarusian ruble, and eventually led to a near three-fold devaluation of the Belarusian ruble in 2011. In November 2011, Belarus agreed to sell to Russia its remaining shares in Beltransgaz, the Belarusian natural gas pipeline operator, in exchange for reduced prices for Russian natural gas. Receiving more than half of a $3 billion loan from the Russian-dominated Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) Bail-out Fund, a $1 billion loan from the Russian state-owned bank Sberbank, and the $2.5 billion sale of Beltranzgas to Russian state-owned Gazprom helped stabilize the situation in 2012; nevertheless, the Belarusian currency lost more than 60% of its value, as the rate of inflation reached new highs in 2011 and 2012, before calming in 2013. As of January 2014, the final tranche of the EurAsEC loan has been delayed, but in December 2013 Russia announced a new loan for Belarus of up to $2 billion for 2014. Notwithstanding foreign assistance, the Belarusian economy continues to struggle under the weight of high external debt servicing payments, a growing trade deficit, stagnant economic growth, and low foreign reserves.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$150.4 billion (2013 est.)
$147.3 billion (2012 est.)
$145 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$69.24 billion (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate (%)

2.1% (2013 est.)
1.5% (2012 est.)
5.5% (2011 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$16,100 (2013 est.)
$15,700 (2012 est.)
$15,400 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (%)

agriculture: 9.2%
industry: 46.2%
services: 44.7% (2013 est.)

Labor force

5 million (2009)

Labor force - by occupation (%)

agriculture: 9.4%
industry: 45.9%
services: 44.7% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate (%)

1% (2009 est.)
1.6% (2005)
note: official registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers

Population below poverty line (%)

27.1% (2003 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share (%)

lowest 10%: 3.8%
highest 10%: 21.9% (2008)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

27.2 (2008)
21.7 (1998)


revenues: $26.68 billion
expenditures: $26.79 billion (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues (% of GDP)

38.5% of GDP (2013 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) (% of GDP)

-0.2% of GDP (2013 est.)

Public debt (% of GDP)

31.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
31.5% of GDP (2012 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) (%)

19% (2013 est.)
59.1% (2012 est.)

Central bank discount rate (%)

10.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
13.5% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate (%)

10% (31 December 2013 est.)
19.49% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money

NA% (31 December 2013 est.)
$4.018 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money

$9.073 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$7.655 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$22.68 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$19.82 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares


Agriculture - products

grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk


metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, televisions, synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators

Industrial production growth rate (%)

1% (2013 est.)

Current account balance

-$4.245 billion (2013 est.)
-$1.688 billion (2012 est.)


$42.06 billion (2013 est.)
$45.57 billion (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities (%)

machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs

Exports - partners (%)

Russia 35.4%, Netherlands 16.4%, Ukraine 12.1%, Latvia 7.1% (2012)


$45.17 billion (2013 est.)
$45.01 billion (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities (%)

mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals

Imports - partners (%)

Russia 59.4%, Germany 5.9%, China 5.1%, Ukraine 5% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$4.513 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$5.809 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

External debt ($)

$1.204 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.225 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates

Currency converter
Belarusian rubles (BYB/BYR) per US dollar -
8,950.7 (2013 est.)
8,336.9 (2012 est.)
2,978.5 (2010 est.)
2,789.49 (2009)
2,130 (2008)

Fiscal year

calendar year


Electricity - production (kWh)

32.82 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption (kWh)

31.74 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports (kWh)

5.067 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - imports (kWh)

7.767 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity (kW)

8.032 million kW (2010 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels (% of total installed capacity)

99.7% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants (% of total installed capacity)

0.2% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources (% of total installed capacity)

0.1% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Crude oil - production (bbl/day)

32,070 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - imports (bbl/day)

294,800 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves (bbl)

198 million bbl (1 January 2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production (bbl/day)

346,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption (bbl/day)

188,800 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports (bbl/day)

224,200 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports (bbl/day)

43,240 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Natural gas - production (cu m)

220 million cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption (cu m)

21.82 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports (cu m)

21.02 billion cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves (cu m)

2.832 billion cu m (1 January 2013 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy (Mt)

67.16 million Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use

4.407 million (2012)

Telephones - mobile cellular

10.675 million (2012)

Telephone system

general assessment: Belarus lags behind its neighbors in upgrading telecommunications infrastructure; modernization of the network progressing with roughly two-thirds of switching equipment now digital
domestic: state-owned Beltelcom is the sole provider of fixed-line local and long distance service; fixed-line teledensity is improving although rural areas continue to be underserved; multiple GSM mobile-cellular networks are experiencing rapid growth; mobile-cellular teledensity now exceeds 100 telephones per 100 persons
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); 3 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 (2008)

Broadcast media

4 state-controlled national TV channels; Polish and Russian TV broadcasts are available in some areas; state-run Belarusian Radio operates 3 national networks and an external service; Russian and Polish radio broadcasts are available (2007)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

295,217 (2012)

Internet users

2.643 million (2009)



65 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 33
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 20
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 7 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 32
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 28 (2013)


1 (2013)

Pipelines (km)

gas 5,386 km; oil 1,589 km; refined products 1,730 km (2013)

Railways (km)

total: 5,537 km
broad gauge: 5,512 km 1.520-m gauge (874 km electrified)
standard gauge: 25 km 1.435-m gauge (2008)

Roadways (km)

total: 86,392 km
paved: 74,651 km
unpaved: 11,741 km (2010)

Waterways (km)

2,500 km (major rivers are the west-flowing Western Dvina and Neman rivers and the south-flowing Dnepr River and its tributaries, the Berezina, Sozh, and Pripyat rivers) (2011)

Ports and terminals

river port(s): Mazyr (Prypyats')


Military branches

Belarus Armed Forces: Land Force, Air and Air Defense Force, Special Operations Force (2013)

Military service age and obligation (years of age)

18-27 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation is 12-18 months, depending on academic qualifications; 17 year olds are eligible to become cadets at military higher education institutes, where they are classified as military personnel (2012)

Manpower available for military service

males age 16-49: 2,401,785
females age 16-49: 2,429,653 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 16-49: 1,693,626
females age 16-49: 2,012,401 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually

male: 51,855
female: 48,760 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures (% of GDP)

1.2% of GDP (2012)
1.27% of GDP (2011)
1.2% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

boundary demarcated with Latvia and Lithuania; as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Poland has implemented strict Schengen border rules to restrict illegal immigration and trade along its border with Belarus

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 6,969 (2012)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Belarus is a source, transit, and destination country for women, men, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; women and children are trafficked to European and Middle Eastern countries and within Belarus for sexual exploitation; Belarusian men, women, and children are found in forced labor in the construction industry and other sectors in Russia and Belarus; Belarusian men seeking work abroad are increasingly subjected to forced labor
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Belarus does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government demonstrates decreased law enforcement efforts, conducting fewer trafficking investigations and convicting only one trafficking offender; while two new anti-trafficking laws were passed, they have not been fully implemented and government services to victims remain very limited; the government continues its efforts to prevent trafficking through public awareness campaigns and NGO-operated anti-trafficking hotlines (2013)

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; anti-money-laundering legislation does not meet international standards and was weakened further when know-your-customer requirements were curtailed in 2008; few investigations or prosecutions of money-laundering activities (2008)

Largest cities of Belarus

These are the 50 largest cities of Belarus ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population
1 Minsk 1,742,123
2 Gomel 481,000
3 Hrodna 317,366
4 Brest 300,716
5 Pinsk 130,777
6 Orsha 125,347
7 Mazyr 112,136
8 Salihorsk 101,614
9 Lida 98,036
10 Zlobin 73,089
11 Slonim 51,435
12 Kobryn 50,691
13 Vawkavysk 47,300
14 Horki 33,897
15 Navahrudak 30,748
16 Dzerzhinsk 24,610
17 Pastavy 20,218
18 Masty 16,102
19 Ivanava 13,614
20 Haradok 13,380
21 Braslav 12,378
22 Zabinka 10,921
23 Stolin 10,491
24 Lyuban 10,107
25 Senno 9,987
26 Malaryta 9,692
27 Kleck 9,641