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 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. The situation was somewhat aggravated after security services cracked down on protests challenging election results in the capital Minsk following the 2010 presidential election, but little protest occurred after the 2015 election.

Geography

Location

Eastern Europe, east of Poland

Geographic coordinates

53.00° N, 28.00° E

Area 86/257

total: 207,600 sq km

land: 202,900 sq km

water: 4,700 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly less than twice the size of Kentucky; slightly smaller than Kansas

Land boundaries

total: 3,642 km

border countries (5): Latvia 161 km, Lithuania 640 km, Poland 418 km, Russia 1,312 km, Ukraine 1,111 km

Coastline

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)

Climate

cold winters, cool and moist summers; transitional between continental and maritime

Terrain

generally flat with much marshland

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Nyoman River 90 m

highest point: Dzyarzhynskaya Hara 346 m

Natural resources

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

Land use

agricultural land: 43.7%

arable land 27.2%; permanent crops 0.6%; permanent pasture 15.9%

forest: 42.7%

other: 13.6% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

1,140 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

58 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 4.34 cu km/yr (32%/65%/3%)

per capita: 435.4 cu m/yr (2009)

Natural hazards

NA

Environment - current issues

soil pollution from pesticide use; southern part of the country contaminated with fallout from 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chornobyl' in northern Ukraine

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

landlocked; glacial scouring accounts for the flatness of Belarusian terrain and for its 11,000 lakes

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Belarusian(s)

adjective: Belarusian

Ethnic groups

Belarusian 83.7%, Russian 8.3%, Polish 3.1%, Ukrainian 1.7%, other 2.4%, unspecified 0.9% (2009 est.)

Languages

Russian (official) 70.2%, Belarusian (official) 23.4%, other 3.1% (includes small Polish- and Ukrainian-speaking minorities), unspecified 3.3% (2009 est.)

Religions

Eastern Orthodox 80%, other (including Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim) 20% (1997 est.)

Population 93/238

9,589,689 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.51% (male 765,070/female 722,540)

15-24 years: 11.12% (male 548,487/female 517,840)

25-54 years: 45.3% (male 2,132,051/female 2,212,223)

55-64 years: 13.62% (male 575,816/female 730,432)

65 years and over: 14.44% (male 439,257/female 945,973) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 43%

youth dependency ratio: 23%

elderly dependency ratio: 20%

potential support ratio: 5% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 39.6 years

male: 36.5 years

female: 42.6 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 215/233

-0.2% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 184/224

10.7 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 16/225

13.36 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 69/222

0.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 76.7% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 0.05% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

MINSK (capital) 1.915 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.79 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.46 male(s)/female

total population: 0.87 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

25.1 (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 181/184

4 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 202/224

total: 3.62 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4.04 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 139/224

total population: 72.48 years

male: 66.91 years

female: 78.38 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 199/224

1.47 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

63.1% (2012)

Health expenditures 143/191

6.1% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

3.93 physicians/1,000 population (2013)

Hospital bed density

11.3 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 99.9% of population

rural: 99.1% of population

total: 99.7% of population

unimproved:

urban: 0.1% of population

rural: 0.9% of population

total: 0.3% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 94.1% of population

rural: 95.2% of population

total: 94.3% of population

unimproved:

urban: 5.9% of population

rural: 4.8% of population

total: 5.7% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.52% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

29,400 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

1,000 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 65/191

25.2% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 129/138

1.3% (2005)

Education expenditures 71/173

5.1% of GDP (2012)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 15 years

female: 16 years (2013)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 88/134

total: 12.5%

male: 12.4%

female: 12.6% (2009 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Belarus

conventional short form: Belarus

local long form: Respublika Byelarus'/Respublika Belarus'

local short form: Byelarus'/Belarus'

former: Belorussian (Byelorussian) Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: the name is a compound of the Belarusian words "bel" (white) and "Rus" (the Old East Slavic ethnic designation) to form the meaning White Rusian or White Ruthenian

Government type

republic in name, although in fact an authoritarian system centered on the executive

Capital

name: Minsk

geographic coordinates: 53.54° N, 27.34° E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

6 provinces (voblastsi, singular - voblasts') and 1 municipality* (horad); Brest, Homyel' (Gomel'), Horad Minsk* (Minsk City), Hrodna (Grodno), Mahilyow (Mogilev), Minsk, Vitsyebsk (Vitebsk)

note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers; Russian spelling provided for reference when different from Belarusian

Independence

25 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

National holiday

Independence Day, 3 July (1944); note - 3 July 1944 was the date Minsk was liberated from German troops, 25 August 1991 was the date of independence from the Soviet Union

Constitution

several previous; latest drafted between late 1991 and early 1994, signed 15 March 1994; amended 1996, 2004, 2015 (2015)

Legal system

civil law system; note - nearly all major codes (civil, civil procedure, criminal, criminal procedure, family, and labor) have been revised and came into force in 1999 or 2000

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Belarus

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: president Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (since 20 July 1994)

head of government: prime minister Andrey KABYAKOV (since 27 December 2014); first deputy prime minister Vasily MATYUSHEVSKIY (since 27 December 2014)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (no term limits); first election took place on 23 June and 10 July 1994; according to the 1994 constitution, the next election should have been held in 1999, however, Aleksandr LUKASHENKO extended his term to 2001 via a November 1996 referendum; subsequent election held on 9 September 2001; an October 2004 referendum ended presidential term limits and allowed the president to run in a third (19 March 2006), fourth (19 December 2010), and fifth election (11 October 2015); next election in 2020; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president and approved by the National Assembly

election results: Aleksandr LUKASHENKO reelected president; percent of vote - Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (independent) 84.1%, Tatsiana KARATKEVICH (Tell the Truth) 4.4%, Sergey GAYDUKEVICH (LDP) 3.3%, other 8.2%; note - election marred by electoral fraud

Legislative branch

description: bicameral National Assembly or Natsionalnoye Sobraniye consists of the Council of the Republic or Sovet Respubliki (64 seats; 56 members indirectly elected by regional and Minsk city councils and 8 members appointed by the president; members serve 4-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Palata Predstaviteley (110 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote with a second round if needed; members serve 4-year terms); note - the US does not recognize the legitimacy of the National Assembly

elections: Palata Predstaviteley - last held on 23 September 2012 (next to be held September 2016); OSCE observers determined that the election was neither free nor impartial and that vote counting was problematic in a number of polling stations; pro-LUKASHENKO candidates won every seat with no opposition representation in the chamber; international observers determined that the previous election, on 28 September 2008, despite minor improvements, also fell short of democratic standards, with pro-LUKASHENKO candidates winning every seat

election results: Sovet Respubliki - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; Palata Predstaviteley - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - KPB 3, AP 1, Republican Party of Labor and Justice 1, no affiliation 104, vacant 1

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chairman, deputy chairman, and NA judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 12 judges including a chairman and deputy chairman)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president with the consent of the Council of the Republic; judges initially appointed for 5 years and evaluated for life appointment; Constitutional Court judges - 6 appointed by the president and 6 elected by the Chamber of Representatives; judges can serve for 11 years with an age limit of 70

subordinate courts: provincial (including Minsk city) courts; first instance (district) courts; economic courts; military courts

Political parties and leaders

pro-government parties:

Belarusian Agrarian Party or AP [Mikhail SHIMANSKIY]

Belarusian Patriotic Party [Nikolai ULAKHOVICH]

Belarusian Socialist Sporting Party [Vladimir ALEKSANDROVICH]

Communist Party of Belarus or KPB [Igor KARPENKO]

Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Sergey GAYDUKEVICH]

Republican Party [Vladimir BELOZOR]

Republican Party of Labor and Justice [Vasiliy ZADNEPRYANIY]

opposition parties:

Belarusian Christian Democracy Party [Pavel SEVERINETS] (unregistered)

Belarusian Liberal Party of Freedom and Progress [Vladimir NOVOSYAD] (unregistered)

Belarusian Party of the Green [Oleg NOVIKOV]

Belarusian Party of the Left "Fair World" [Sergey KALYAKIN]

Belarusian Popular Front or BPF [Aleksey YANUKEVICH]

Belarusian Social-Democratic Assembly [Stanislav SHUSHKEVICH]

Belarusian Social Democratic Party ("Assembly") or BSDPH [Irina VESHTARD]

Belarusian Social Democratic Party (People's Assembly) [Nikolay STATKEVICH] (unregistered)

Christian Conservative Party or BPF [Zyanon PAZNYAK]

United Civic Party or UCP [Anatoliy LEBEDKO]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs [Sergey MATSKEVICH] (unregistered)

Belarusian Association of Journalists [Zhanna LITVINA]

Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions [Aleksandr YAROSHUK]

Belarusian Helsinki Committee [Aleh HULAK]

For Freedom Movement [Aleksandr Milinkevich]

Malady Front (Young Front) [Zmitser DASHKEVICH] (unregistered)

Vyasna (Spring) human rights center [Ales BELYATSKIY] (unregistered)

Perspektiva [Anatoliy SHUMCHENKO] (small business association)

"Tell the Truth" Movement [Tatsiana KARATKEVICH] (unregistered)

Women's Independent Democratic Movement [Ludmila PETINA]

International organization participation

BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CEI, CIS, CSTO, EAEC, EAEU, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, NSG, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, SCO (dialogue member), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer), ZC

Flag description

red horizontal band (top) and green horizontal band one-half the width of the red band; a white vertical stripe on the hoist side bears Belarusian national ornamentation in red; the red band color recalls past struggles from oppression, the green band represents hope and the many forests of the country

National symbol(s)

no clearly defined current national symbol, the mounted knight known as Pahonia (the Chaser) is the traditional Belarusian symbol; national colors: green, red, white

National anthem

name: "My, Bielarusy" (We Belarusians)

lyrics/music: Mikhas KLIMKOVICH and Uladzimir KARYZNA/Nester SAKALOUSKI

note: music adopted 1955, lyrics adopted 2002; after the fall of the Soviet Union, Belarus kept the music of its Soviet-era anthem but adopted new lyrics; also known as "Dziarzauny himn Respubliki Bielarus" (State Anthem of the Republic of Belarus)

Economy

Economy - overview

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 from 1991-94, 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 climate hostile to business. A few banks, which had been privatized after independence, were renationalized. State banks account for 75% of the banking sector. Economic output, which had declined for several years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, revived in the mid-2000s thanks to the boom in oil prices. Belarus has only small reserves of crude oil, though it imports most of its crude oil and natural gas from Russia at prices substantially below the world market. Belarus exported refined oil products at market prices produced from Russian crude oil purchased at a steep discount. In late 2006, Russia began a process of rolling back its subsidies on oil and gas to Belarus. Tensions over Russian energy reached a peak in 2010, when Russia stopped the export of all subsidized oil to Belarus save for domestic needs. In December 2010, Russia and Belarus reached a deal to restart the export of discounted oil to Belarus. In 2015, Belarus continued to import Russian crude oil at a discounted price. However, the plunge in global oil prices heavily reduced revenues. Little new foreign investment has occurred in recent years. In 2011, a financial crisis began, triggered by government directed salary hikes unsupported by commensurate productivity increases. The crisis was compounded by an increased cost in Russian energy inputs and an overvalued Belarusian ruble, and eventually led to a near three-fold devaluation of the Belarusian ruble in 2011. In November 2011, Belarus agreed to sell to Russia its remaining shares in Beltransgaz, the Belarusian natural gas pipeline operator, in exchange for reduced prices for Russian natural gas. Receiving more than half of a $3 billion loan from the Russian-dominated Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) Bail-out Fund, a $1 billion loan from the Russian state-owned bank Sberbank, and the $2.5 billion sale of Beltranzgas to Russian state-owned Gazprom helped stabilize the situation in 2012; nevertheless, the Belarusian currency lost more than 60% of its value, as the rate of inflation reached new highs in 2011 and 2012, before calming in 2013. As of January 2014, the final tranche of the EurAsEC loan has been delayed. In December 2013, Russia announced a new loan for Belarus of up to $2 billion for 2014. Notwithstanding foreign assistance, the Belarusian economy continued to struggle under the weight of high external debt servicing payments and trade deficit. In mid-December 2014, structural economic shortcomings were aggravated by the devaluation of the Russian ruble and triggered a near 40% devaluation of the Belarusian ruble. Belarus entered 2015 with stagnant economic growth and reduced hard currency reserves, with under one month of import cover.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 69/230

$168.2 billion (2015 est.)

$174.4 billion (2014 est.)

$171.7 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$62.02 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 212/225

-3.6% (2015 est.)

1.6% (2014 est.)

1% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 94/230

$17,800 (2015 est.)

$18,400 (2014 est.)

$18,100 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 23/179

29% of GDP (2015 est.)

28.7% of GDP (2014 est.)

29.2% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 53.9%

government consumption: 15.2%

investment in fixed capital: 31.2%

investment in inventories: 1.7%

exports of goods and services: 59.4%

imports of goods and services: -61.4%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 9.3%

industry: 41.3%

services: 49.4% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk

Industries

metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, televisions, synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators

Industrial production growth rate 193/202

-7% (2015 est.)

Labor force 89/233

4.546 million (2013 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 9.3%

industry: 32.7%

services: 58% (2014 est.)

Unemployment rate 3/207

0.7% (2014 est.)

0.5% (2013 est.)

note: official registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers

Population below poverty line

6.3% (2012 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.8%

highest 10%: 21.9% (2008)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 134/144

26.5 (2011)

21.7 (1998)

Budget

revenues: $21.85 billion

expenditures: $22.04 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 59/219

35.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 36/220

-0.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 124/176

36.4% of GDP (2015 est.)

34.1% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 214/226

15% (2015 est.)

18.3% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 6/156

20% (13 August 2014)

10.5% (31 December 2010)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 17/184

19% (31 December 2015 est.)

18.74% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 119/192

$2.518 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$3.524 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 127/193

$5.651 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$7.608 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 83/191

$21.47 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$27.3 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$NA

Current account balance 158/197

-$3.038 billion (2015 est.)

-$5.094 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 64/224

$28.63 billion (2015 est.)

$35.74 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs

Exports - partners

Russia 42.2%, Ukraine 11.3%, UK 8.2%, Netherlands 4.8%, Germany 4.6% (2014)

Imports 64/223

$29.72 billion (2015 est.)

$38.33 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals

Imports - partners

Russia 54.6%, Germany 6%, China 5.8%, Ukraine 4.1% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 97/170

$4.41 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$5.059 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 70/206

$40.02 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$39.62 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 91/120

$10.17 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 68/105

$6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

Belarusian rubles (BYB/BYR) per US dollar -

15,712.8 (2015 est.)

10,224.1 (2014 est.)

10,224.1 (2013 est.)

8,336.9 (2012 est.)

4,974.6 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 64/220

31.5 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - consumption 57/219

37.88 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - exports 38/218

2.797 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports 37/219

6.716 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 64/214

7.751 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 43/214

99.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 57/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 151/214

0.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 116/212

0.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 64/214

30,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 50/214

32,320 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 21/214

433,400 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 60/215

198 million bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 38/214

440,000 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 62/212

171,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 23/214

357,300 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 56/213

90,420 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 77/216

210 million cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 35/215

22.28 billion cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 68/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 17/214

20.1 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 97/212

2.832 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 51/212

67.13 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 35/219

total subscriptions: 4.5 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 47 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 80/217

total: 11.4 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 119 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: Belarus lags behind its neighbors in upgrading telecommunications infrastructure; modernization of the network progressing with roughly two-thirds of switching equipment now digital

domestic: state-owned Beltelcom is the sole provider of fixed-line local and long distance service; fixed-line teledensity is improving although rural areas continue to be underserved; multiple GSM mobile-cellular networks are experiencing rapid growth; mobile-cellular teledensity now exceeds 100 telephones per 100 persons

international: country code - 375; Belarus is a member of the Trans-European Line (TEL), Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic line, and has access to the Trans-Siberia Line (TSL); 3 fiber-optic segments provide connectivity to Latvia, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine; worldwide service is available to Belarus through this infrastructure; additional analog lines to Russia; Intelsat, Eutelsat, and Intersputnik earth stations (2008)

Broadcast media

4 state-controlled national TV channels; Polish and Russian TV broadcasts are available in some areas; state-run Belarusian Radio operates 3 national networks and an external service; Russian and Polish radio broadcasts are available (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 28, FM 37, shortwave 11 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

47 (plus 27 repeaters) (1995)

Internet country code

.by

Internet hosts 64/232

295,217 (2012)

Internet users 66/217

total: 5 million

percent of population: 52.2% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 75/236

65 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 33

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 20

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 7 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 32

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 28 (2013)

Heliports

1 (2013)

Pipelines

gas 5,386 km; oil 1,589 km; refined products 1,730 km (2013)

Railways 32/136

total: 5,528 km

broad gauge: 5,503 km 1.520-m gauge (874 km electrified)

standard gauge: 25 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)

Roadways 54/223

total: 86,392 km

paved: 74,651 km

unpaved: 11,741 km (2010)

Waterways 35/107

2,500 km (major rivers are the west-flowing Western Dvina and Neman rivers and the south-flowing Dnepr River and its tributaries, the Berezina, Sozh, and Pripyat rivers) (2011)

Ports and terminals

river port(s): Mazyr (Prypyats')

Military and Security

Military branches

Belarus Armed Forces: Land Force, Air and Air Defense Force, Special Operations Force (2013)

Military service age and obligation

18-27 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation is 12-18 months, depending on academic qualifications; 17 year olds are eligible to become cadets at military higher education institutes, where they are classified as military personnel (2012)

Military expenditures 82/132

1.3% of GDP (2014)

1.3% of GDP (2013)

1.2% of GDP (2012)

1.27% of GDP (2011)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

boundary demarcated with Latvia and Lithuania; as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Poland has implemented strict Schengen border rules to restrict illegal immigration and trade along its border with Belarus

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 126,407 applicants for forms of legal stay other than asylum (Ukraine) (2015)

stateless persons: 6,440 (2014)

Illicit drugs

limited cultivation of opium poppy and cannabis, mostly for the domestic market; transshipment point for illicit drugs to and via Russia, and to the Baltics and Western Europe; a small and lightly regulated financial center; anti-money-laundering legislation does not meet international standards and was weakened further when know-your-customer requirements were curtailed in 2008; few investigations or prosecutions of money-laundering activities (2008)