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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.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 9,724,723 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Belarusian(s)

Nationality (Adjective): Belarusian

Official Language(s): Belarussian, Russian

Major Languages Spoken: Belarussian, Russian, Yiddish

Map of Belarus

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): Republic of Belarus

Country Name (short form): Belarus

Country Name (local long form): Respublika Byelarus'

Country Name (local short form): Byelarus'

Name of Capital: Minsk

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Belarus: Ukraine, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Lithuania

Land Area: 207600 sq km

Comparative Area: slightly smaller than Kansas

Total Land Boundry: 2,900 km

National Holiday: Independence Day, 3 July (1944)

International Phone Code: 375

Currency Code: Belarusian ruble (BYB/BYR)

Internet Country Code: .by

US Embassy Location: 46 Starovilenskaya Street, Minsk 220002

US Embassy Mailing Address: PSC 78, Box B Minsk, APO 09723


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