Рэспубліка Беларусь (Belarusian)
Республика Беларусь (Russian)
|Republic of Belarus|
|Official language||Belarusian and Russian|
|State and form of government||presidential republic|
|Head of state||
|Head of government||
|Population density||46 inhabitants per km²|
|Population development||−0.24% (2018) per year|
gross domestic product
|Human Development Index||0.823 ( 53rd ) (2019)|
|currency||Belarusian ruble (BYN)|
|independence||Declaration August 25, 1991 , in fact December 1991|
My Belarusy (Мы, беларусы)
|National holiday||July 3rd (Independence Day)|
|Time zone||UTC +3|
|ISO 3166||BY , BLR, 112|
|Internet TLD||.by , .bel|
Belarus , official short form Belarus [ beːlaˌʁʊs ] / [ bɛlaˌʁʊs ] (Belarusian / Russian Беларусь or traditional Russian Белоруссия Belorussiya ; official long form: Рэспубліка Беларусь ( Belarusian ) or Республика Беларусь ( Russian ), German transcription Respublika Belarus [ rɛspublʲika bʲɛlarusʲ ], German Republic of Belarus ), is a landlocked Eastern European country whose capital is Minsk . Belarus borders with Lithuania , Latvia , Russia , Ukraine, and Poland . With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic became independent.
Aljaksandr Lukashenka has been the authoritarian and repressive ruling president since 1994 , making the country the last dictatorship in Europe. The allegedly fake presidential election in Belarus in August 2020 was followed by weeks of nationwide protests and strikes against the government.
Belarus is a full member of the Commonwealth of Independent States .
The country name Belarus is made up of the components Bela- (Slavic for "white") and Rus (name of the medieval East Slavic territory). There are different theories on the etymology of the word Rus and the historical meaning of bela- in this context. The predominant view is that Rus can be derived from the old Finnish rūōtsi ("the rowers") and denotes the Scandinavian Varangians ; bela- is seen as part of a system for designating cardinal points with the help of colors (see also names such as Schwarze Rus or Rote Rus / Rotreußen), with the color white referring to the west of the former Kievan Rus .
The name Belaja Rus can be found in the sources since the 13th century. Rus was the East Slavic name for Scandinavian- Slavic domains such as that of the Kievan Rus , to which the area had belonged since the 9th century.
The historical German names for the Rus were Russia, Reussen or Ruthenien , but from the middle of the 20th century the form Rus was adopted directly from the East Slavic languages . For a long time, the term Alba Russia (White Rus) was assigned to different parts of Rus in medieval sources: the Novgorod Republic , the Grand Duchy of Moscow or the eastern part of today's Belarusian territory, in contrast to Black Rus for the area around Grodno . The colored pair of terms was also often used for different areas and with different meanings, until the term Belarus developed a permanent reference to the ethnic settlement area of that part of the Eastern Slavs in the 19th century, which until the partitions of Poland-Lithuania developed as distinct cultural and linguistic Group in the sphere of influence of Lithuania.
In German , the state is often given the name Belarus . The Belarusian official bodies as well as the Austrian and Swiss diplomacy use the name Belarus in official German-language texts . In Germany, the regulation applies to date on an official level that the interstate traffic Belarus , however, the designation of a national transport and on maps Belarus is used.
Previously, the country was also White Ruthenia and in the use of language in the GDR Belarus called. According to the historian Diana Siebert, the "actually best term Belarusian Ruthenia" is too burdened to be used. During the Second World War , the term White Ruthenia was used in the Nazi language (see General District of White Ruthenia ), which reflected the efforts of the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, Alfred Rosenberg , to differentiate the Belarusians as much as possible from the Great Russians .
The German-language terms “Belarus”, “Belarus”, “Belarusian” have recently come under increasing criticism. In the dispute over the correct name of the state are common (besides the mentioned historical argument) the following lines of argument: Against the designation as Belarus is argued that this name is a political, cultural and linguistic depending on the country and its inhabitants from Russia and United Russia suggeriere . Supporters of this position advocate the designation as Belarus and try to popularize the adjective Belarusian (with an "s"). Opponents of this point of view argue that the word component “white” only represents a translation of the meaning component Belarus and that spellings such as “Belarus” and “Belarusian” instead of “-russen”, “-russian” raise the problem that the orthographic change according to the rules of German would also have to mean a change in pronunciation, from unvoiced to voiced "s". In addition, the country name "Russia" and its derivatives also contained the etymological link to the Rus. If the country name Belarus is rejected, the designation Russia must also be questioned, since this designation makes today's Russia appear as the only semantically “unmarked” successor to medieval Russia. Similar controversies about the naming and spelling of the country, its inhabitants and the national language have also been fought in other languages, including Russian, English and Swedish.
The end of January 2020 founded German-belarussian history commission recommends, as a country name Belarus with an emphasis on -rus and as an adjective belarusisch (instead of Belarusian to use) in the German texts; this makes it clear that the Republic of Belarus is a sovereign state that is not part of Russia. Numerous German-language news and press agencies as well as the media took over this and since then have increasingly used Belarus as a country name , even though they mostly write the adjective in Belarusian .
The greatest expansion of the country from west to east is 650 km - from north to south it is 560 km. Belarus ranks 13th among the European countries in terms of area and is the largest landlocked country that lies entirely in Europe .
The state borders with Russia and Ukraine each make up about 1000 km and a total of two thirds of the border , while Poland , Lithuania and Latvia make up the last third. The border course is irregular and only partially follows water ( Bug ) to Poland , but the border mainly runs over swamp and hill country .
The distance from the capital Minsk to the capitals of neighboring states is:
In the south lie the Pripyat Marshes (Belarusian Prypjazkija baloty ). 30 percent of the country is forested. The highest point is the Dzjarschynskaja Hara (345 m) in the Byelorussian ridge, the deepest river valleys are about 50 meters above sea level.
Belarus lies in the Eastern European Plain and is criss-crossed by the chain of hills of the Ice Age terminal moraines ( Belarusian ridges ) and wide, natural rivers . About 70 percent of the country drains south to the Pripyat (Belarusian Prypjaz ) and the Dnepr (Belarusian Dnjapro ), which flows further through Ukraine into the Black Sea . (See also: List of rivers in Belarus ).
The largest rivers in Belarus are Dnepr , Bjaresina , Prypiat and Memel (Belarusian Nyoman ). The bow is relevant as a border with Poland and thus with the EU . The largest lake is the Naratsch in the north of the country near the border with Lithuania .
Belarus is hardest hit by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (1986), which contaminated around 25 percent of the country's area, especially in the east and south.
(Residents according to January 1, 2019 estimate)
According to the 2009 census, the population of Belarus is just under 9.5 million. The population growth is at the same time about -0.15 percent. Since 1993, the population has decreased by a total of about 6 percent. The life expectancy of the population was for the period 2015-2020 births at 74.5 years and 2.3 years higher than in 2010-2015 births. For men it was 69.3 years (+2.8 years), for women 79.3 (+1.6 years). The literacy rate is 99 percent on European standard level.
In 2017, 11.4% of the population were born abroad, most of them in Russia.
The East Slav Belarusians make up the state people with around 83 percent of the total population. Besides them, there are 8.3 percent Russians , 3.1 percent Poles and 2.4 percent Ukrainians . The formerly very well represented Jewish minority (the second largest population group before the Second World War, in the cities with a share of over 50 percent) was only around 1.9 percent of the population (around 150,000) in 2009 as a result of the Holocaust on Belarusian territory in 1959 only 12,926 (0.1 percent) were counted. The Muslim Tatar minority also includes around 0.1 percent of the population.
|1959 census 1||1970 census 2||1979 census 3||1989 census 4||1999 census 5||2009 census 6|
|1 Source:  . 2 Source:  . 3 Source:  . 4 Source:  . 5 Source: . 6 Note: Number of others includes 31,847 members of other ethnic groups (0.3 percent) and 225,921 with unknown membership (2.4 percent). Sources: (Page 8, ZIP ; 2.1 MB) Belarus, 2009, Click on Total, both sexes .|
The official languages of the country are Belarusian and Russian . Belarusian has become more important since independence, but Russian still dominates public life, especially in cities. The Trassjanka , an oral hybrid of the Belarusian and Russian languages, is also widespread . Due to the large Polish minority in the country and also for historical reasons, Polish is also still somewhat widespread, especially in the west of the country. Due to long-term assimilation, many Belarusian Poles no longer speak Polish, but either Russian or Belarusian.
In fact, Russian is the dominant language in the country, around 75 percent of the population now use it as their main colloquial language and just under 12 percent use Belarusian. Russian is the most widely used language of speech for all ethnic groups in the country, including Belarusians. In the 2009 census, around 60 percent of the ethnic Belarusian population said they preferred to speak Russian, 26 percent preferred Belarusian. However, the proportion of Belarusian native speakers is significantly higher than the proportion of those who prefer to speak Belarusian.
The spread of the two languages varies from region to region. In general, Belarusian is more widely spoken in rural areas than in cities. The region with the highest proportion of the Belarusian-speaking population is Minskaya Woblasz , in which around 39 percent of the population state Belarusian and 56 percent Russian as their main language. Russian dominates most strongly in the capital Minsk, where less than 6 percent prefer Belarusian and more than 82 percent speak Russian.
From 1990 onwards, Belarusian was the only official language of the country for a few years, until in 1995 after a referendum, Russian was given the status of an official language with equal rights. In this short period of time, Russian had been pushed back to an unprecedented degree. In 1994 just under 5 percent of all schools were Russian-speaking and the Belarusian government had set itself the goal of ousting Russian from “all spheres of Belarusian society” by the year 2000 from 1990 onwards. However, surveys showed that this language policy met with little approval from the population. In the 1995 referendum, 86.8 percent of the electorate voted for the reintroduction of Russian as the official language. It should be noted that the overarching demographic change in Europe is also delayed in Belarus (proportion of the over 65s: 10–20% (2017)), despite the population growth ( inertia effect , see statistics).
In the 2009 census, 60 percent said Belarusian was their first language, but only 26 percent said they spoke the language at home. In 2017, with a downward trend, only 13 percent of primary school students attended a school in Belarusian and at the beginning of 2019, books in Belarusian took up only marginal space in the central library. In 2019 there was more talk of language and its role in the foreseeable "fight for independence" (screenwriter Andrej Kurejtschyk) with Russia.
According to official statistics, 58.9 percent of the population consider themselves to be believers. The largest church in Belarus is the Orthodox Church , organized in the Belarusian Exarchate , which is subordinate to the Patriarch of Moscow . According to estimates from 1997, about 82 percent of the faithful belong to it - mainly Belarusians, Ukrainians and Russians. The remaining 18 percent are spread across several denominations (mainly Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic , but also Protestant , Islamic and Jewish communities ).
Most of the Poles and Lithuanians are Roman Catholics , as are the Belarusians in the west and north of the country. According to official statistics (see above), they make up 12 percent of the faithful, i.e. approx. 7 percent of the population, but according to the Catholic Church's own information, between 10 percent and 14 percent. There is a small minority of Greek Catholic Christians of around 10,000 believers. The Latvians and the Roma like the Jerli (also Sinti , Lovara , Manusch and Kalderasch ) profess themselves mainly to Evangelical-Lutheran Christianity.
Belarus was one of the hardest hit areas of the Holocaust . Before that, a large Jewish population lived here. Since 1989, a large part of the descendants of surviving Jews emigrated.
Belarus maintains a social system that is unique for the post-Soviet area, which ensures some approval for the autocratic country leadership among the people. At the same time, financing it became increasingly difficult in 2018.
Most of the universities and colleges are located in the capital:
- Belarusian State University of Computer Science and Radioelectronics , Minsk
- Administrative Academy of the President of the Republic of Belarus , Minsk
- Belarusian State University , Minsk
- Belarusian State Polytechnic Academy , Minsk
- Belarusian State Linguistic University, Minsk
- Belarusian State University of Economics , Minsk
- National Academy of Sciences , Minsk
- State University of Medicine , Minsk
- State University of Agricultural Science , Minsk
- European Humanistic University ( University in Exile) currently in Vilnius .
- Belarusian Maxim Tank State Educational University, Minsk
School contacts abroad
The International Aid Fund of the EU and Germany has opened partnerships with the first three universities in the West. The often lamented isolation was already painful for Belarus during the times of the Soviet Union . Since the country's independence, the universities have been hoping for cooperation, but this has hardly succeeded because of the authoritarian state policy.
The only private university founded in 1992, the European Humanistic University , had to be closed in August 2004 due to government pressure. It had offered European studies, linguistics and political sciences , largely financed by Western funds . The Institute for German Studies was also located there. The college was reopened in June 2005 in exile in Vilnius (Lithuania).
As of April 1, 2004, 5,751 HIV infections, 107 AIDS cases and 439 AIDS deaths were officially reported in the Republic of Belarus. HIV first appeared among injecting drug addicts in Svetlahorsk ( Homelskaya Woblasz ) in 1996 . As of September 1998, 2173 HIV cases were officially registered in the same city. That accounts for 81 percent of all reported cases across the country at the time. The number of infected drug addicts rose to 74 percent. HIV testing is compulsory for blood donors, prison inmates, STD patients, drug addicts, and prostitutes . The HIV cases in which the cause of infection was documented list for 2003 that 76 percent (previous year: 64 percent) were infected through non-sterilized syringes while consuming drugs and 23 percent (previous year 35 percent) through heterosexual contact . In 2002, of the 319 documented cases of heterosexual infection, 52 percent lived with at-risk partners, mainly drug addicts. As in Russia, the disease is not equally widespread across the country, but shows the highest numbers in Homelskaya Woblasz (3380 cases, or 224.5 per 100,000 inhabitants) and in Minsk (823 cases, or 47.3 per 100,000 inhabitants) .
One consequence of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster was the rise in thyroid cancer cases, which was already evident in children three to four years after the disaster. It was also shown that the risk of thyroid cancer also increased significantly in adolescents and adults depending on exposure to iodine-131 . While representatives of the nuclear industry assume only 4,000 additional cases of thyroid cancer as a result of the nuclear disaster, the United Nations Scientific Committee to Investigate the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) calculated a collective thyroid dose of around 2.4 million person- gray for all of Europe. A quarter of the territory was contaminated, large areas had to be closed and 140,000 people relocated. A quarter of the commercial forest, a number of mineral deposits and many industrial plants were lost. A fifth of the country's arable land was contaminated, leading to the evacuation of large areas, especially around the city of Homel . Many children there have higher cesium levels than in non-contaminated areas, in some places eight to ten times higher levels. Only plants that accumulate little or no radioactive nuclides such as rapeseed, maize and wheat should be grown. In Chojniki district , where wheat is grown and dairy farming is carried out on previously contaminated soil, the radiation institute recently measured 20 to 30 Becquerel per kilogram of body weight in children. The main cause is above all the consumption of berries and mushrooms from the forests.
After the disaster, a number of private was in different countries charities established that the children from the fallout have affected areas recovery stays. This puts less strain on the children's immune system and promotes international understanding. These recreational stays are supported by Belarus and the German Embassy.
The Polesia region in the south of Belarus is considered a possible original home of the Slavs as a whole. In the early Middle Ages, most of what is now Belarus was populated by East Slavic tribes, including the Dregovichs , the Radimitschen, and the Polochans . Baltic tribes lived in the northwest . The area became part of the Kiev Empire , the first large East Slav state. Its constituent parts on the territory of Belarus included the Principality of Polotsk and the Principality of Turow-Pinsk . By 1240 the Mongol storm from the east destroyed the Kievan Rus. By the 14th century, the old Russian unity had dissolved.
Several ethnic groups emerged from the Kievan Rus:
- The Principality of Galicia-Volhynia arose on the territory of today's Ukraine , stretching from the northern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains across today's Eastern Galicia and Volhynia. This empire existed until the middle of the 14th century and formed the foundation stone for the later Ukrainian ethnic group, but then fell under Lithuanian-Polish rule.
- The Belarusian ethnic group gradually emerged on the territory of Belarus .
- Great Russia fell under Mongol-Tatar rule until 1480, when it was able to break away from this under Moscow leadership.
In the 14th century, however, the Belarusian area with the Principality of Smolensk and the Principality of Polatsk was conquered by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania , which expanded far to the east . Its ruler carried the title magnus dux Littwanie, Samathie et Rusie (see also Golden Age (Belarus) ). The two peoples (Belarusians and Lithuanians) call themselves Lithuanians in their languages ( lietuvis or litwin ). Due to the proportion of the population, the official language at this time was largely East Slavic Ruthenian . After the union of 1386, Belarus became part of Lithuania as part of the dual state Poland-Lithuania , which it remained until the end of the 18th century.
With the first and second partition of Poland , what is now Belarus came completely under Russian rule until 1793, which the Russian side viewed as a reunification. The annexation of the White Rus was carried out by Catherine the Great under the motto “ Отторженная возвратихъ ” - “I brought back what was torn away ”.
From 1918 to 1990
The Rada of the Belarusian People's Republic is still active today and is one of the oldest governments in exile in the world. In the years 1919/1920 Belarus was contested between the re-established Polish state and Soviet Russia and was partially annexed to Poland in 1920 after the victory of Polish troops over the Red Army . From the Soviet part, the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic was formed, which in 1922 became a founding member of the Soviet Union . Just like the Soviet part, the Polish part was mostly populated by Belarusians. In the Vossische Zeitung from 1929 there is a situation report on the country and its people under the heading: Borderlands under the Soviet star , which focuses on the new national consciousness.
At the beginning of the Second World War in 1939, as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which had been concluded shortly before, the part of the country that had previously belonged to Poland was occupied by Soviet troops and incorporated into the Belarusian SSR. In the summer of 1941 all of Belarus was conquered by the Wehrmacht . The German occupation caused great material damage and resulted in the death of around 25 percent of the population, including almost all of the country's Jewish population. From 1941 on, Belarus, with over 1000 groups, was a main area of the Soviet partisan struggle against the German occupiers. During the German occupation, the Belarusian Central Council (Bielaruskaja Centralnaja Rada - BCR) was installed in Belarus , a puppet government that used historic Belarusian state emblems. The chairman of the BCR was Radasłaŭ Astroŭski . This "state" disappeared after the withdrawal of the German Eastern Front in 1944. From the end of 1943 the Red Army recaptured the country; it was considered completely liberated from German occupation in the summer of 1944.
About 8–9 percent of all murdered European Jews came from Belarus. Almost all cities in the country were completely destroyed. Industrial operations had declined by 85 percent, industrial capacity by 95 percent, the area of crops by 40–50 percent, and the livestock population by 80 percent. After the end of the war there were three million homeless. Before the Second World War there were ten million people in Belarus. It was only towards the end of the 1980s that the Belarusian population had grown back to these pre-war numbers.
The country has been an independent state since the end of 1991. From 1991 to 1994 he was ruled by Stanislau Shushkevich . He succeeded Aljaksandr Lukashenka , who has ruled dictatorially ever since . Lukashenka's policies are described by critics as undemocratic, authoritarian and anti-market, and parliament has a purely decorative function. The country is highly isolated economically and politically in Europe. Its main political and economic partners are Russia, Iran and Venezuela. A customs and defense community was established with Russia, and a more extensive union with a common currency and common foreign policy has been announced again and again since the 1990s without much progress. All presidential elections since 2001 have been described by numerous international observers as undemocratic. Representatives of the CIS countries presented opposing views.
Protests after the 2020 presidential election
In connection with the presidential election in 2020 , in particular , there were violent, sometimes violent, protests and strikes against the proclamation of President Lukashenka as the renewed winner of the election. The country's leadership responded with arrests of around 6,700 demonstrators and massive police violence. Opposition candidate Svyatlana Zichanouskaya fled to Lithuania. A constitutional amendment was eventually brought into play by President Lukashenka to counter the protests.
President Lukashenka took office in 1994 after a questionable election campaign . According to the Belarusian constitution at the time, the presidential term was limited to two terms. However, this restriction was abolished with a referendum in October 2006, which is why Lukashenka was also able to take part in the 2006 , 2010 , 2015 and 2020 presidential elections .
In view of democratic deficits and an authoritarian style of government, Belarus is also referred to as the last dictatorship in Europe . In the 2019 Democracy Index of the British magazine The Economist, the country ranks 150th out of 167 countries. In the country report Freedom in the World 2017 by the US non-governmental organization Freedom House , the country's political system is rated as “not free”.
The representative and legislative body of the Republic of Belarus is the Parliament - the National Assembly. It consists of two chambers , the Chamber of Representatives and the Council of the Republic . The Chamber of Representatives consists of 110 members who are to be elected in general, free, equal, direct and secret elections. The Council of the Republic is the chamber of territorial representation. For every Woblasz and the city of Minsk eight members of the Council of the Republic are elected by secret ballot. Eight members are appointed by the President.
In the 2006 presidential election , the Belarusian opposition parties agreed on Alyaksandr Milinkevich as a common candidate. Milinkevich sought support abroad through political visits to Russia and EU countries. According to observers, his competitors Aljaksandr Kasulin and Sjarhej Hajdukewitsch had no real chance of voting. Polls in 2006 left no doubt that the incumbent Lukashenka would win the election. The elections were accompanied by the announcement by the secret service that they would use life imprisonment and even the death penalty against opponents of the government who threatened to destabilize the situation on the street on election day.
After Lukashenka received 81 percent of the vote in the presidential election on March 19, 2006, according to official figures, more than 10,000 people demonstrated on the central October Square in Minsk after the polling stations closed and called for new elections because they believed the election result to be falsified. Milinkevich, who allegedly received only six percent of the vote, described the election as a farce . He said that the opposition had overcome fear and announced that he would not recognize the election and would seek to cancel the election with international help.
The 2010 presidential election was initially preceded by a phase of relative rapprochement between the EU and Minsk. In 2009 Belarus was included in the EU's Eastern Partnership programs. The result of the 2010 presidential election was 79.67 percent, again in an area in which election fraud was accepted. Protests followed, which were put down. Many members of the opposition, including the candidates Andrej Sannikau , Mikalaj Statkewitsch , Jaraslau Ramantschuk and Uladsimir Njakljajeu , were arrested in the course of this. As a result, relations with the EU and its member states have cooled significantly.
The parliamentary elections in 2012 were boycotted by most of the opposition parties and the parties critical of the government did not win a seat. Only parties loyal to the government such as the Communist Party of Belarus , the Agrarian Party and the Republican Party for Labor and Justice won seats.
In the 2015 presidential election , incumbent Lukashenka allegedly received around 83.5 percent of the vote, but international standards were not met in this election either. In addition to Lukashenka, there were three other candidates, none of which received more than five percent of the vote. Two months before the election, Lukashenka pardoned five prisoners of conscience, including one of the 2010 presidential candidates, Mikalay Statkevich .
In the parliamentary elections in Belarus in 2016 , for the first time in 20 years, two opposition candidates - one independent and one representative of the United Citizens' Party - managed to get into parliament.
Main article Belarusian parliamentary election 2019
- death penalty
In 2010, Amnesty International documented three death sentences and various violations of the right to freedom of expression and the right to assemble and demonstrate. Death sentences were still pronounced in 2019 .
- Restriction of freedom of expression, assembly and association
According to Amnesty, human rights activists, trade unionists, environmental activists and members and representatives of sexual minorities are being persecuted. The " disappearance " of members of the opposition such as Jury Sacharanka , Dmitri Savadski , Viktor Gonchar and Anatoly Krassowski is denounced. After various members of the opposition were arrested for expressing criticism of the regime at demonstrations, the opposition began to march in silence. In order to counteract this, a law was passed that has made “unsanctioned acts or unsanctioned inaction” a criminal offense since September 2011. On January 6, 2012, new rules for Internet traffic came into force: users of publicly accessible Internet locations must be registered and their traffic logged; all internet business has to be done through Belarusian servers. The law is enforced by the police, tax authorities and state security agencies. In August 2012, 14 political prisoners were counted.
The Belarusian leadership has issued a legal order that allows the secret service authorities to monitor citizens without any serious evidence. With the help of the SORM (System of Operative-Investigative Measures) spying program, government agencies can access users' telephone and Internet data. The activities of civil society organizations and human rights activists are massively restricted as a result.
On the 2017 press freedom list published by Reporters Without Borders , Belarus was ranked 153rd out of 180 countries. Three bloggers and citizen journalists are in custody in Belarus . The situation of press freedom in the country is rated by Reporters Without Borders as "difficult".
After the Corruption Perception Index (Corruption Perceptions Index) of Transparency International was Belarus in 2016 by 176 countries, along with India , China and Brazil at the 79th place, with 40 out of a maximum 100 points.
The human rights situation in the country will be an international issue again through the protests in Belarus 2020 after opposition members were arrested, for example by the special unit OMON or, for example , interned, beaten and tortured in Okrestino prison, one of the country's isolation centers .
- Difficulties for LGBTI representatives
Lukashenka is known for his homophobic statements. Although homosexuality is legal, there have been multiple raids and arrests.
Human rights organizations
The most important human rights organization in the country is the Helsinki Committee .
Belarus is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and forms the Russian-Belarusian Union with Russia , which has recently been exposed to heavy strains. In 2011 Lukashenka announced that it would found a Eurasian Union with Russia and Kazakhstan . The contract for its establishment was signed in May 2014 in the Kazakh capital Astana .
Belarus maintains friendly relations with Venezuela , Ecuador , Syria , Iran , North Korea , the People's Republic of China and Cuba . Relations with the NATO countries are considered tense, those with Ukraine as ambivalent.
Relations with the European Union
Since the European Union (EU) recognized Belarus as an independent state in 1991, mutual relations have been strengthened. After Aljaksandr Lukashenka took office in 1994, the relationship deteriorated. Despite reservations relating to Belarus' democratic deficit, a Stabilization and Association Agreement was signed in 1995 . In May 2009, the EU accepted Belarus into the Eastern Partnership. In light of the deteriorating human rights, democracy and rule of law situation in Belarus, according to EU leaders, in June 2011 the Council of the European Union imposed and expanded an arms embargo and an export ban on materials that could be used for internal repression List of people denied entry. The EU also expressed concern about restrictions on freedom of the media and failure to respect diplomatic immunities. The EU continues to monitor the situation in Belarus closely.
In 2012 there was a diplomatic dispute between Sweden and Belarus. The dispute apparently has several backgrounds. Sweden openly criticizes the undemocratic conditions in Belarus and supports the opposition. For example, the Swedish ambassador met members of the opposition. There was also an action with teddy bears, which duped the Belarusian leadership. According to Swedish media reports, a light aircraft from Lithuania flew into Belarusian airspace undetected in early July 2012. Hundreds of teddy bears were thrown from parachutes over the small town of Iwianiec, to which signs with civil and human rights demands were attached. Shortly afterwards, the diplomatic quarrels between Sweden and the Belarusian leadership began. This expelled the Swedish ambassador to the country. As a result, the 28 EU countries showed their solidarity with Sweden and invited the Belarusian ambassadors to meet in their countries to protest against the closure of the Swedish embassy in Minsk.
Between 2008 and at least 2011 there was a security cooperation between Germany and Belarus, during which Lukashenka's security forces were trained in Germany. Almost 400 border guards, senior militiamen and forensic technicians were also trained by German officials directly in Belarus, and in 2010 Belarusian security forces observed German police officers on duty for several days during the Castor transport to Gorleben in Lower Saxony. At the beginning of 2011 there was a political uproar between the two countries after Lukashenka, shortly after his re-election as president in December 2010, accused Germany of having participated with Poland in alleged plans to overthrow him in the face of nationwide protests. The German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle described these allegations as unfounded and demanded a clear positioning of the EU with regard to the imprisonment of the opposition in the country.
As a result of police violence in response to popular protests against the announced results of the 2020 presidential election , there was considerable tension in the relationship between the European Union and Belarus. Numerous heads of state and government and foreign ministers of the EU sharply condemned the use of force.
Relations with Russia
In the CIS region, Belarus is considered to be the country after Russia in which the Soviet past can be felt most clearly. Not only were the leading industrial plants of the Soviet empire located here, but also, due to the location on the border with the capitalist West, a large military infrastructure, which among other things had nuclear weapons . Therefore, from a Russian perspective, the country now plays a decisive role as a strategic buffer zone between the Kremlin and NATO countries.
Belarus' loyalty to Russia had been “bought” for many years. After repeated disagreements in the Russian-Belarusian energy dispute in 2007, which revolved around the issues of gas prices, energy policy and oil transit, many observers regard Russian-Belarusian integration as virtually dead. The termination of preferential treatment by Russia for raw material deliveries led Belarus to draw closer to Venezuela by the end of the year.
In January 2008, the country started building its first nuclear power plant to reduce its dependency on Russia. However, it is supposed to be built by a Russian company. Construction of the first block of the Belarusian nuclear power plant began in November 2013. Commissioning is scheduled for early 2020.
In 2020 Belarus has the rotating chairmanship of the Eurasian Economic Union , which was only founded in 2014 , to which Russia also belongs, and since 2015 has observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization , which Russia also belongs to. In January 2017 Belarus temporarily increased the transit prices for Russian oil after the two countries had been arguing for months about an additional payment of around 300 million dollars for natural gas.
In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election , 33 suspected mercenaries were arrested in Minsk from the Russian paramilitary Wagner group , which regularly carries out covert operations for the Russian secret service. Lukashenka accused Russia of wanting to destabilize Belarus militarily. This is also interesting because he was previously considered a close ally of Putin . Lately, especially since the Russian invasion of Ukraine , this relationship has deteriorated, according to observers. Lukashenka may fear that Russia might try to incorporate Belarus next and then depose him. In fact, he has signed an agreement since 1997 that provides for a merger of the two countries. Lukashenka is now distancing himself from it.
Relations with Venezuela
At the diplomatic level, the two states are particularly united by the goal of building a multipolar world order and limiting the hegemonic position of the USA . Belarus also supports Venezuela in particular through the delivery of armaments and the transfer of military technology when converting its armed forces.
Economic cooperation includes, among other things. the areas of energy, trade, agriculture and a scientific and technological cooperation. In Venezuela, for example, there are Joint ventures for the production of oil and gas, the construction of tractors, buses and trucks. Belarus is also involved in residential construction in Venezuela . Venezuela also serves Belarus as a center for trade with other states in Latin America. The value of economic cooperation was around $ 200 million in 2009, with official sources planning a significant expansion.
After Chavez's death, Lukashenka proclaimed three days of state mourning and announced that a street in Minsk would be named after him and a bust would be erected in his honor.
The armed forces of Belarus were officially formed on March 20, 1992 and initially comprised the troops of the Belarusian Military District of the Soviet Union without strategic units. On February 4, 1992, Parliament ratified the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Treaty for the Reduction of Strategic Nuclear Weapons). Until December 1995 were 63 intercontinental ballistic missiles of the type RS-12M (NATO code: SS-25 Sickle) Topol from Belarus pulled off. The last two operational mobile regiments with around 18 nuclear missiles were relocated to Russia by the end of 1996. On December 19, 1997, the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation signed an Agreement on Military Cooperation and an Agreement on the Joint Guarantee of Regional Security in the Military Area. On January 22, 1998, at a meeting of the Supreme Council of the Russian-Belarusian Union in Moscow, agreement was reached on a concept for the common defense policy. Since the armed forces reform in 2001 there have been two territorial commands in Hrodna (formerly the seat of the 28th Army) and Baryssau (formerly the 65th Army). As part of a joint CIS air defense, Russia maintains a radar station near the Baranavichy military airfield in the Hanzavichy district . In addition, both sides have closely coordinated their arms industries and exports.
Belarus spent almost 1.2 percent of its economic output or 631 million US dollars on its armed forces in 2017.
The Belarusian economy has not been converted into a market economy as the planned economy is preferred by the government. Due to the very good economic relations within the Eurasian Union with other countries in the region, but especially with Russia (strong exports, cheaper raw material imports ), the economic situation has so far been stable. Industry and agriculture are largely in state hands. The rise in crude oil prices by Russia brought difficulties for the economy, which had been subsidized by the preferential treatment of raw material prices. Belarus had a trade deficit with Russia of over $ 9 billion in 2019 .
Agriculture, which accounts for almost 10 percent of employment, is dominated by collectivization with two main branches: the cultivation of potatoes and livestock . Historically, the textile industry and wood processing are important branches of industry . Since 1965 the mechanical engineering ( tractors , refrigerators ) has been expanded. Belarus was one of the most developed republics of the Soviet Union . Besides the CIS , the country is economically active in the Eurasian Economic Union and in the Russian-Belarusian Union .
Other major Belarusian enterprises are in addition to the transport operators Belarusian Railway and the Belavia the car plant BelAZ , the potash producer Belaruskali , the Minsk watch factory beam (lozenges) , automotive and armaments producer Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ), the vehicle manufacturer MZKT ( MZKT), Minsk Tractor Works (MTS), the semiconductor manufacturer Integral , the software manufacturer Wargaming.net and the industrial group Belnaftachim , which also includes the tire manufacturer Belshina .
The Belarusian industry counted around 600 state-owned companies around 2012, which generate 30 percent of the total production. In 2009, a pilot privatization of five of the largest state-owned companies was agreed with the IMF . In addition, around 160 large state-owned companies in industry, construction and transport have already been transferred to joint-stock companies, including the oil-processing combine Naftan-Polimir, the vehicle and armaments manufacturer Minsky Avtomobilny Sawod (MAZ), the Minsk Tractor Works (MTS) and the steelworks in Schlobin . Vice-Prime Minister Andrei Kobjakow was in charge of the privatization until 2018 .
The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus acts as the country's central bank . Its main tasks are to ensure currency stability and the issue of the Belarusian ruble. The National Bank is accountable to the President of the Republic of Belarus.
Belarus has been affected by the recession since 2009 and at times tried to support the rate of its national currency with a high key interest rate . The ruble lost roughly half of its value during 2014; there was panic buying and a run on exchange offices. The authorities then banned price increases.
The main foreign companies in Belarus include:
- Maersk Medical A / S
- Italy / Estonia
- Inco food
- United States
- SB Telecom Ltd. (a subsidiary of Telekom Austria )
With the beginning of the introduction of market economy structures in 1990, economic production fell. In 1996 a growth phase began again, as a result of which the values of 1990 were reached again in 2001 in both agriculture and industry. The gross domestic product nom. as of 2017 was $ 52.8 billion, which was roughly $ 5140 per capita. In 2017, with an inflation rate of 8 percent, real growth was 0.7 percent. After two years of recession, the economy grew again. According to the UN , the standard of living in Belarus is among the highest in the former CIS countries - the average monthly income has grown from US $ 20 to US $ 225 within the last ten years. In May 2009, according to the Statistics Office of the Republic of Belarus, this was 347 US dollars. According to the Belarusian government, the unemployment rate was around 1 percent in 2017. In 2015, 9.7% of all workers worked in agriculture, 66.8% in the service sector and 23.7% in industry. The total number of employees is estimated at 4.38 million in 2017. However, experts say that actual unemployment is higher. The other problem in the economy, however, is the local currency. This has been the Belarusian ruble since independence . As a result of the Russian-Belarusian union, there were negotiations for a currency union. External debt has also increased in recent years. In 2014, this was $ 23.3 billion, compared to $ 12.7 billion in 2007.
In 2017, the country ranks 104th out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .
The key economic indicators of gross domestic product, inflation, budget balance and foreign trade have developed as follows in recent years:
|Change in gross domestic product (GDP), real|
|in% compared to the previous year|
|Source: World Bank , WKO|
|Development of GDP (nominal)|
|absolute (in billion US dollars)||17.8||23.1||30.2||37.0||45.3||54.6||49.2||55.2||59.7||63.6||73.1||76.1||54.6||-||54.4||56.9|
|per inhabitant (in thousands of US dollars)||1.82||2.38||3.13||3.85||4.74||6.38||5.18||5.82||6.31||6.72||7.72||8.03||5.74||-||5.72||6.02|
|Source: World Bank , GTAI|
|Development of the inflation rate||Development of the budget balance|
|in% compared to the previous year|
|inflation rate||28.4||18.1||8.0||6.6||12.1||~ 11.2||7.7||13.5||6.0||4.9||Budget balance||−1.2||0.1||−0.6||2.2||0.6||~ −1.9||4.2|
|Source: bfai , WKO||~ = Forecast|
|Main trading partner (2016)|
|Export (in%) to||Import (in%) of|
|Ukraine||12.0||11.2||People's Republic of China||7.6||7.9|
|other states||22.7||other states||20.7|
|Source: GTAI , Export Germany-Belarus, WKO|
|Main products of foreign trade (2007)|
|Export goods (share in%)||Imported goods (share in%)|
|mineral raw materials and primary energy sources||35.6||mineral raw materials and primary energy sources||36.4|
|Chemical and plastic products||13.6||Machines, nuclear reactors and equipment||11.6|
|Mode of Transport||11.9||Chemical and plastic products||11.3|
|Development of foreign trade|
|in billion US dollars and its year-on-year change in%|
|Billion dollars||% yoy||Billion dollars||% yoy||Billion dollars||% yoy||Billion dollars||% yoy||Billion dollars||% yoy|
|Source: GTAI , WKO|
The public debt was of GDP in 2017 to 47.8% percent.
In 2006 the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was in the following areas:
Belarus is little developed for international tourism. Similar to Russia, you need a suitable visa for the purpose of the visit (e.g. private visit, tourism, business trip), which is only issued in conjunction with further evidence such as a hotel booking or a formal invitation by a Belarusian person / institution. The visa can be applied for directly at the embassy of the Republic of Belarus in Berlin for a fee. Another possibility is to have the visa procurement process handled by a travel agency. In most cases, however, this variant is associated with additional costs.
Since July 27, 2018, citizens of 74 states can travel to Belarus for up to 30 days without a visa if they enter via the Minsk National Airport . This applies to all states of the European Union and, in the German-speaking area, to Switzerland and Liechtenstein . In addition, certain areas around Grodno, in particular for a visit to the Augustów Canal , can be visited for a maximum of 10 days without a visa, although it is possible to cross the border by land. This was apparently extended on August 7, 2019 to a visa-free area “Brest-Grodno” with a stay of up to 15 days. A document from a Belarusian tour operator is required for this, through which tourist services must be booked. A visa is still required for all other border crossings, including for transit travel, e.g. E.g. by train from Berlin to Moscow or towards St. Petersburg (as of Aug 2020). Entry without a visa by land from Russia at unsupervised border crossings is also not permitted. Visa-free entry is also not possible from Russian airports.
Minsk itself is the main tourist attraction; it has an extensive network of cultural institutions with 18 museums and twelve theaters. There are also numerous interesting historical places and monuments.
|International tourism income||Million USD||346||665||1,013||1,019||1,134|
|International tourism income||% at the BPI||1.1||1.2||1.8||2.1||2.1|
For Russia, Belarus (together with Lithuania) is the main transit country to its exclave , the Kaliningrad Oblast . The main traffic axis from ( Western Europe - Warsaw -) Brest via Baranavichy - Minsk - Baryssau to Orscha (- Moscow ) runs from southwest to northeast across the country. It consists of one of the Belarusian state railways Belarusian Railway operated electrified railway line with parallel running motorway-like -developed highway.
Due to its location, Belarus is an important transit country between Central Europe and Russia : 50 percent of Russian oil flows through the Druzhba pipeline , which is managed by the Gomel Transneft company on Belarusian territory , and 25 percent of the natural gas flows through pipelines of the state-owned Beltransgas company. Distribution system. Because of the political situation in Belarus, Russia is increasingly turning to Northern Europe . The construction of the Nord Stream pipeline through the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany began in 2005 and was completed in 2011. This made Russia's gas supplies to Western Europe more independent of Belarus.
At the beginning of 2007 the Belarusian government demanded transit fees from Russia for the use of the oil pipelines to Western Europe. The money was to be used to compensate for the losses caused by the increase in gas prices by the Russian Gazprom group. This conflict resulted in the suspension of the Russian-Belarusian integration plans.
The main traffic axis consists of an electrified railway line operated by the Belarusian state railway Belaruskaya Chyhunka . Coming from Poland, the railway line reaches the Belarusian border near Brest in standard gauge (1435 mm gauge ) and continues from there in Russian broad gauge (1520 mm). The coupling systems of the railways of western Europe ( screw coupling ) and the railways in the succession of the Soviet state railways ( central buffer - claw coupling ) are different, which makes it necessary to stop at Brest station to change the bogies and couplings. The stay often amounts to a few hours, but the actual exchange procedure only takes about 20 minutes.
The main traffic axis consists of a freeway-like trunk road running parallel to the railroad . There is an expressway ring around Minsk with foothills to Lithuania / Hrodna and to Babrujsk / Homel in the southeast of the country. In addition, Polatsk via Vitebsk and Orsha and Mahiljou via Babrujsk are connected to Minsk.
The east of the country is crossed in a north-south direction by the Dnieper ( Dnjapro in Belarusian ), which flows through the Ukraine into the Black Sea. In the south, Belarus is in west-east direction from the Pripyat crosses, which flows from the right into the Dnepr and the since 1848 Dnepr-Bug channel is connected to the Baltic Sea. Belarus has a merchant fleet stationed in Latvian Baltic ports.
There is an international and a national airport near Minsk , as well as various regional airports. The national airline is Belavia . Minsk International Airport (Minsk-2, IATA code: MSQ) transports over one million passengers annually. Every day between 7:10 a.m. and 10:35 p.m., a shuttle bus connects the international airport and the capital with hourly departures.
The prefix +375 must be used for international calls to Belarus .
In addition to some preserved architectural monuments from the era of the Kievan Rus , Belarus has a rich cultural heritage from the time it belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian aristocratic republic . These include important castles in the west of the country such as Mir Castle and baroque church buildings. As well as the Mir Castle, the Struve Arch and the residence of the Radziwiłł family in Njaswisch are UNESCO World Heritage Sites . There is also a rich folk culture.
Another culturally influential factor was the large Jewish population that had existed for centuries . Probably one of the most famous cultural workers from Belarus is the painter Marc Chagall , who was born in Vitebsk and later lived in France for a long time . Even Chaim Soutine was a painter from Belarus, in Smilawitschy was born. The patron saint of Belarus, Euphrosyne von Polatsk, also became known .
The media in the country are heavily influenced by the authoritarian government (see Propaganda in Belarus ). The media are divided into the press landscape (see press in Belarus ) as well as television ( e.g. Belarus 1 ) and radio (e.g. Radio Belarus ).
The most popular sport among Belarusians is ice hockey . The highest national league is called the Extraliga , the second division is the Wysschaja League . The Belarusian national ice hockey team is 13th in the IIHF world rankings after the 2020 World Cup . At the 2002 Winter Olympics in the USA , the Belarusians came fourth, the best place at world championships was a sixth place at the 2006 world championships . HK Dinamo Minsk has been playing in the successor league of the Russian Super League , the KHL, since 2008 . The 2014 Ice Hockey World Championship was held in Belarus. The allocation of the games was discussed controversially.
Belarusian football is currently experiencing a slight upturn. But the Eastern European country lacks enough players of quality to bring consistent performance. Well-known players include Aljaksandr Hleb , Anton Puzila and Wassil Chamutouski . The national team is ranked 87th in the FIFA world rankings and fourth in its group in qualifying for the 2021 European Championship . The best-known clubs in the country are the record champions of the Vysheyschaya Liha , the FK BATE Baryssau , and the Soviet champions from 1982, the FK Dinamo Minsk .
It looks similar in handball. The Belarusian national team has so far participated once in a world championship and twice in a European championship (World Cup 1995, EURO 1994 and 2008). In the past, the capital club SKA Minsk brought the Belarusian handball sport great success, at least at the international club level. The country's best- known handball players are Sjarhej Harbok - who has played for Russia since 2012 - and Andrej Klimovets - who played for Germany from 2005 to 2013 - who both earned their money in the German handball league .
At the Olympic Games, 80 athletes from Belarus were able to win 72 Olympic medals (10 gold, 20 silver, 39 bronze). In the all-time medal table of the Summer Olympics Belarus ranks 40th and 29th in the Winter Olympics. Well-known medal winners are the world champion in hammer throw Iwan Zichan , the world-class discus thrower Iryna Jatchanka , the multiple world and Olympic champion in rowing Kazjaryna Karsten and the athlete Julia Neszjarenka .
The most successful table tennis player is Vladimir Samsonov . He was vice world champion in doubles in 1995 and vice world champion in singles in 1997. In addition to many other successes, he was three times European champion in singles and won the European ranking tournament TOP-12 as well as the World Cup in 1999 , 2001 and 2009 four times . With him, the national team was able to win several medals at European championships, including the gold medal in 2003 .
In tennis, Viktoria Azaranka took first place in the world rankings. Other well-known tennis professionals are Natallja Swerawa , Aryna Sabalenka and Wolha Hawarzowa , and the men's doubles specialist Max Mirny .
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