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Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Belarus

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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, Alexandr LUKASHENKO has steadily consolidated his power through authoritarian means. Government restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion continue. (from the CIA)


Economic Overview

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. since 2005, the government has 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. nevertheless, gdp growth has been strong in recent years, reaching nearly 7% in 2007, despite the roadblocks of a tough, centrally directed economy with a high, but decreasing, rate of inflation. belarus receives heavily discounted oil and natural gas from russia and much of belarus' growth can be attributed to the re-export of russian oil at market prices. trade with russia - by far its largest single trade partner - decreased in 2007, largely as a result of a change in the way the value added tax (vat) on trade was collected. russia has introduced an export duty on oil shipped to belarus, which will increase gradually through 2009, and a requirement that belarusian duties on re-exported russian oil be shared with russia - 80% will go to russia in 2008, and 85% in 2009. russia also increased belarusian natural gas prices from $47 per thousand cubic meters (tcm) to $100 per tcm in 2007, and plans to increase prices gradually to world levels by 2011. russia's recent policy of bringing energy prices for belarus to world market levels may result in a slowdown in economic growth in belarus over the next few years. some policy measures, including tightening of fiscal and monetary policies, improving energy efficiency, and diversifying exports, have been introduced, but external borrowing has been the main mechanism used to manage the growing pressures on the economy.

Environmental Issues

Soil pollution from pesticide use; southern part of the country contaminated with fallout from 1986 nuclear reactor accident at chornobyl' in northern ukraine

Government Type

Republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship


9,685,768 (july 2008 est.)


Eastern europe, east of poland


Total: 207,600 sq km land: 207,600 sq km water: 0 sq km

Slightly smaller than kansas

Country Aliases

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


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

Military Service

18-27 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2005)

International Disputes

Boundary demarcated with latvia and lithuania in 2006; 1997 boundary delimitation treaty with ukraine remains unratified over unresolved financial claims, preventing demarcation and diminishing border security

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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