Belarus

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GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Population


Total population (millions): 9.8
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 71%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: -0.5%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km˛) : 207,6


Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population
Byelorussian78
Russian13
Polish4
Ukrainian3
Other2



Main Cities Population
Minsk 1 765 800
Gomel 481 200
Maguilev 366 900
Vitebsk 342 700
Grodna 316 700
Brest 300 100



Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Minsk (GMT+2 in winter, GMT+3 in summer).
Summer time from March to October



Languages
Official languages: Belarusian, Russian
Business language: Russian, fluently spoken, and English, well spoken within companies having an international activity.

Free translation tools

English-Belarusian Dictionaries
Free Belarusian-English-Belarusian dictionary

Systran
Free English-Russian-English translator of texts and web pages





Religion
Religious practises : Orthodox 86%
Catholics 5%
Jews 5%
Others 4%.


Political context

Belarus, a former constituent of USSR, attained independence in 1991. Though Belarus is a Republic state based on parliamentary democracy but actually it is dictatorship where President enjoys immense powers. Belarus (official name: Republic of Belarus) is an important transit route for Russian gas supplies to parts of Europe.
President is the chief of the state and is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The President holds the executive powers. P rime Minister, deputy prime ministers and the Council of Ministers are appointed by the President.
The legislature in Belarus is bicameral. The parliament also called National Assembly consists of two chambers: Council of the Republic (the upper house) consisting of 64 seats out of which 56 members are elected by regional councils and 8 members appointed by the president, all for four-year terms; and the Chamber of Representatives (the lower house) consisting of 110 seats with all its members elected by universal adult suffrage to serve four-year terms. The people of Belarus have very limited political rights.
Judiciary in Belarus is not independent. Though the constitution of the country guarantees judicial independence, courts are subject to heavy government influence. The main source of the law is the Constitution of 1994 which has been revised couple of times mainly through referendums to broaden the powers of the President. The legal system in the country is based on the civil law system. Both Belarusian (also called White Russian) and Russian are the judicial languages used in the country.
Belarus is not ruled by law. An internal passport system is required for domestic travel and securing permanent housing, thus controlling freedom of movement and choice of residence. A foreign national cannot expect a free trial from the country's judicial system. Telephone tapping by state security agencies limits the right to privacy. A fairly high degree of corruption exists in the country.


Major political parties

The main political parties are: AP (Agrarian Party), KPB (Belarusian Communist Party), Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus, Republican Party of Labour and Justice, Socialist Sports Party. Parties that support the President have a chance at elections. Opposition parties are allowed to contest elections, but are widely considered to have no real chance of gaining power.


Major political leaders

President: Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (since July 1994, re-elected in September 2001 and March 2006) – supported by a group of 5 parties & a large number of independent members of the National Assembly.
Prime Minister: Sergei SIDORSKIY (since December 2003) – appointed by the President.


Next political election dates

Presidential: Year 2011
National Assembly: Year 2008




Climate

 

 

 


Tourism


Number of visitors in Belarus 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 67 91 ..
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005

 

Tourist sites
-Minsk, the capital, rebuilt right after the war with all its big monuments could be a historic museum. An artificial lake, up the hills in the North, makes the city more attractive since 1956.
-Bereste's archaeological museum houses relics of the XIIIth century
-The national park of Bieloviejskaia Pouchtcha, located 60 km North of Brest.
-Polotsk which was the capital of the Kievian principality. The Saint Sophia cathedral is one of the three Russian cathedrals that have been inspired by the one in Constantinople.

For more information about tourism in Belarus , check out the following web site(s) :
Informations portal on tourism in Belarus



Food


Traditional dishes
Blinis, "sure" cream, caviar and vodka: these traditional ingredients are the perfect marriage of the time of the Lords of the Great Russia, who brought on the tables of France, and elsewhere, these lumpfish roes, that fishermen were used to collect while sturgeons were going back up the rivers of Russia.
Blinis are black wheat pancakes: blinis are also served with starters or with smoked fish. They are piled on a very hot terracotta plate.


Last modified on December 2006

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