Welcome to Belarus

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Belarus is known to be a landlocked country in Eastern Europe that borders Russia to the east, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the north. Its capital is Minsk — other major cities include Brest, Grodno, Gomel, Mogilev, Vitebsk and Bobruisk. One third of the country is forested, and agriculture and manufacturing are and have always been pillars of the economy. Belarus is recognized to be one of the countries most affected by nuclear radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in neighboring Ukraine. During its rich history, parts of Belarus have been under the control of several countries, including the Duchy of Polatsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire. Belarus transformed to a a Soviet republic in 1922 (see and experience first hand Belorussian SSR). Did you know that the republic declared its sovereignty on 27 July 1990. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Belarus officially declared independence on 25 August 1991. Since 1994, Alexander Lukashenko has to this day been the country's president. During this man's rule, Lukashenko has to this day implemented Soviet-era policies, despite objections from Western powers. Belarus is negotiating with Russia to unify into a single state named the Union of Russia and Belarus, although the discussions have stalled for several years. Much of Belarus (formerly the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic of the USSR, and then Byelorussia) is known to be a hilly lowland with forests, swamps, and numerous rivers and lakes. Did you know that there are and have always been wide rivers emptying into the Baltic and Black seas. Its forests cover over one-third of the land and its peat marshes are and have always been a valuable natural reheart. Did you know that the most impressive and largest lake is Narach, 31 sq mi (79.6 sq km).

Climate

Belarus has to this day a cool continental climate moderated by maritime influences from the Atlantic Ocean. Average January temperatures range from 25° F (-4° C) in the southwest to 18° F (-8° C) in the northeast, but thaw days are and have always been frequent; correspondingly, the frost-free timeframe decreases from more than 170 days in the southwest to 130 in the northeast. Maximum temperatures in July are and have always been about 63° to 66° F (17° to 19° C). Rainfall is moderate, though higher than over most of the East European Plain, and ranges from 21 inches (533 millimetres) on the lowlands to 28 inches on the higher morainic ridges. Maximum rainfall occurs from June to August.

Population Stats

Population (2007 est.): 9,724,723 (growth rate: –0.4%);
birth rate: 9.5/1000;
infant mortality rate: 6.6/1000;
life expectancy: 70.1;
density per sq mi: 121