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 General info about Belarus

Official name Republic of Belarus, also spelled Byelarus, formerly (to 1991) Belorussian SSR or White Russia
Local name Belarus, Russ Belorusskaya
Timezone GMT +3
Area 207 600 km²/80 134 sq mi
population total (2002e) 9 933 000
Status Republic
Date of independence 1991
Capital Minsk (ancient Mensk)
Languages Belarussian (official), Russian
Ethnic groups (1989) Belarussian (78%), Russian (13%), Polish (4%), Ukrainian (3%), Jewish (1%)
Religions Roman Catholic, Orthodox
Physical features Hilly lowlands with marshes, swamps; Dzyarzhynskaya Mt rises to 346 m/1135 ft; largest lake- Narach; Belaruskaya Hrada, largest glacial ridge, runs NW into Minsk Upland; rivers include the Pripyat and Dnepr; Pripyat marshes in E.
Climate Varies from maritime, near Baltic, to continental and humid; average annual temperatures, 18°C (Jul), -6°C (Jan); average annual rainfall 550–700 mm/22–8 in.
Currency Belarussian Rouble (BYR) 1 usd= 2150 byr, 1 euro = 2780 byr (2007 year)
Economy Main exports include textiles, timber, chemical products, fertilizers, electrical goods; valuable resource: peat marshes.
 History Neolithic remains widespread; colonized by E Slavic tribes, 5th-c; Mongols conquered Slavs, 13th-c; Catherine the Great of Russia acquired E Belorussia (White Russia) in the first Polish partition in 1772; gained Minsk in 1793 and the remainder in 1795; W Belorussia ceded to Poland in 1921 as part of the Treaty of Riga which ended Soviet-Polish War; regained by Soviet Union as part of Nazi-Soviet Non-aggression Pact of 1939, and Belorussia became Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic; admitted to UN, 1945; declared independence, 1991; co-founder of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), 1991; Alexander Lukashenko elected president, 1994; Lukashenko re-elected for third time amid huge protests in Minsk over alleged vote-rigging (Mar 2006).

Head of State (President)
1994 –        Alexandr Lukashenko

Chairman of Supreme Council

  1. 1996 -        Syamyon Sharetski
  2. 1994-1996  Mechislav Grib
  3. 1991-1994  Mechislav Shushkevich


Head of Government (Prime Minister)

2003-          Sergei Sidorski
2001-2003  Genadi Navizki
2000-2001  Vladimir Yarmoshin
1996-2000  Sergei Ling
1994-1996  Mikalai Chigir
1991-1994  Viacheslau Kebich


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