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


Eastern Europe, east of Poland

Natural Resources

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

Population - distribution

a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations

Russian (official) 70.2%, Belarusian (official) 23.4%, other 3.1% (includes small Polish- and Ukrainian-speaking minorities), unspecified 3.3% (2009 est.)
MINSK (capital) 1.915 million (2015)
Conventional long form
Republic of Belarus
Conventional short form
Local long form
Respublika Byelarus'/Respublika Belarus'
Local short form
presidential republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship
Geographic coordinates
53 54 N, 27 34 E
Time difference
UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
As part of the former Soviet Union, Belarus had a relatively well-developed, though aging industrial base; it retained this industrial base - which is now outdated, energy inefficient, and dependent on subsidized Russian energy and preferential access to Russian markets - following the breakup of the USSR.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 largely inefficient and dependent on government subsidies. After an initial burst of capitalist reform between 1991 and 1994, including privatization of smaller state enterprises and some service sector businesses, 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 reluctance to welcome private investment absent joint ownership or affiliation with the state. A few businesses, which had been privatized after independence, were renationalized. State banks account for 75% of the banking sector.
External debt stocks
US$ 37,875,626,000
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ -1,703,200,000
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 29,767,764,647
Exports of goods and services
US$ 29,723,610,762
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 1,244,400,000
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 6,786,800,000
grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk
metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, refrigerators, washing machines and other household appliances
machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Russia 39.1%, UK 11.1%, Ukraine 9.5%, Netherlands 4.3%, Germany 4.1% (2015)
mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals
Russia 56.6%, China 7.9%, Germany 4.6% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
A high-risk political and economic situation and an often very difficult business environment can have a very significant impact on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is very high.
Business Climate Rating
The business environment is very difficult. Corporate financial information is rarely available and when available usually unreliable. The legal system makes debt collection very unpredictable. The institutional framework has very serious weaknesses. Intercompany transactions can thus be very difficult to manage in the highly risky environments rated D.
  • Strategic location between Russia and European Union and a well-developed transport system
  • Relatively well trained and skilled labor
  • Political stability
  • High energy, economic, and financial dependence on Russia
  • Omnipresent control by State over the economy and very slow implementation of reforms
  • Danger of liquidity crisis
  • Difficult business climate (high level of corruption, legal system provides little protection)

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