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Facts about Belarus

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About 1,000 Tuvaluans work in Nauru mining phosphate.

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Each chamber has the ability to veto any law passed by local officials if it is contrary to the Constitution of Belarus.

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Ethnic Belarusians constitute 81.2 percent of Belarus's total population.

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Belarus declared itself sovereign on July 27, 1990, by issuing the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic.

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According to a 1994 estimate by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, 34 percent of Belarus was at that time covered by forests.

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Newspapers such as Nasa Niva and the Belaruskaya Delovaya Gazeta were targeted for closure by the authorities after they published reports critical of President Lukashenko or other government officials.

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The Belarusian government sponsors annual cultural festivals including the Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk, which showcases Belarusian performers, artists, writers, musicians, and actors.

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Belarus has an average annual rainfall of 21.7 to 27.5 inches (550 to 700 mm).

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The union between Poland and Lithuania ended in 1795, and the commonwealth was partitioned by Imperial Russia, Prussia, and Austria, dividing Belarus.

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Most Belarusians converted to the Russian Orthodox Church following Belarus' annexation by Russia after the partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

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The population of Belarus did not regain its pre-war level until 1971.

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An ornamental pattern used on some early dresses is currently used to decorate the hoist of the Belarusian national flag, adopted in a disputed referendum in 1995.

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Of the principalities held by the Duchy, nine were settled by ancestors of the Belarusian people.

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At the end of the nineteenth century, major Belarusian cities formed their own opera and ballet companies.

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During this period, A. Bogatyryov, creator of the opera In Polesye Virgin Forest, served as the "tutor" of Belarusian composers.

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During the negotiations of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Belarus first declared independence on March 25, 1918, forming the Belarusian People's Republic.

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Belarus and Lithuania ratified final border demarcation documents in February 2007.

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Belarus has four World Heritage Sites: the Mir Castle Complex, the Niasvizh Castle, the Bia?owie?a Forest (shared with Poland), and the Struve Geodetic Arc (shared with nine other countries).

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Belarus also has deposits of clay, sand, chalk, dolomite, phosphorite, and rock and potassium salt.

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Some nationalists contend that this discovery is proof that the Soviet government was trying to erase the Belarusian people, causing Belarusian nationalists to seek independence.

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The Belarusian Constitution forbids the use of special extra-judicial courts.

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During his stay, he worked with Belarusian poet Vincent Dunin-Marcinkevich and created the opera Sielanka (Peasant Woman).

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The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and Freedom House have commented regarding the loss of press freedom in Belarus.

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Belarus and Russia have been close trading partners and diplomatic allies since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

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On May 27, 2008, Belarusian President Lukashenko said that he had named Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin the "prime minister" of the Russia-Belarus alliance.

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Research carried out in Belarus in 1996 under the support of the World Bank showed that the number of poor had sharply increased; from 5 percent in 1992 to 22 percent by 1995.

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The history of Belarus is a story of domination by foreign powers, forced division and re-unification of the land, devastation during war and authoritarian rule following its 1991 independence.

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Belarus' path of overcoming this crisis was "market socialism," launched by Alexander Lukashenko following his 1994 election to the presidency.

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The Belarusian government is also criticized for human rights violations and its actions against non-governmental organizations, independent journalists, national minorities, and opposition politicians.

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Alexander Lukashenko, who has been the president of Belarus since 1994, has described himself as having an "authoritarian ruling style.

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Much of Belarus' architectural heritage was destroyed during World War II, especially in Minsk.

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Belarus was named Belorussia (Russian: ??????????) in the days of Imperial Russia, and the Russian tsar was usually styled Tsar of All the Russias—Great, Little, and White.

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Another issue for the Belarusian press is the unresolved disappearance of several journalists.

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Many streams and 11,000 lakes are found in Belarus.

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Belarus is a presidential republic, governed by a president and the National Assembly.

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Accordingly, the name Belorussia was replaced by Belarus in English, and, to some extent, in Russian, although the traditional name still persists in that language as well.

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Belarus experienced long periods of foreign control throughout its history during which periods considerable efforts were made to suppress both its language and culture.

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The Belarusian nobles usually had their fabrics imported and chose the colors of red, blue or green.

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Minsk, the nation's capital and largest city, is home to 1,741,400 of Belarus's 9,724,700 residents.

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Most of Belarus's service members are conscripts, who serve for 12 months if they have higher education or 18 months if they do not.

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The name Belarus derives from the term White Russia, which first appeared in German and Latin medieval literature.

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Belarus is the only nation in Europe that retains the death penalty for certain crimes during times of peace as well as times of war.

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Belarus is bordered by Latvia on the north, Lithuania to the northwest, Poland to the west, Russia to the north and east and Ukraine to the south.

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Belarus's highest point is Dzyarzhynskaya Hara (Dzyarzhynsk Hill) at 1132 feet (345 meters), and its lowest point is on the Neman River at 295 feet (90 meters).

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Bйla's attempt to recover Dalmatia led the Kingdom of Hungary into two wars against the Republic of Venice.

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Belarus has a population density of about 50 people per square kilometer (127 per sq mi); 71.7 percent of its total population is concentrated in urban areas.

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In 2005, Freedom House gave Belarus a score of 6.75 (not free) when it came to dealing with press freedom.

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The official use of the Belarusian language and other cultural aspects were limited by Moscow.

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Belarus's two official languages are Belarusian and Russian, spoken at home by 36.7 percent and 62.8 percent of Belarusians, respectively.

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The 2004 US Belarus Democracy Act continued this trend, authorizing funding for pro-democracy Belarusian NGOs and forbidding loans to the Belarusian government except for humanitarian purposes.

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By the sixteenth century, Polatsk resident Francysk Skaryna translated the Bible into Belarusian.

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Joseph Stalin implemented a policy of Sovietization to isolate the Byelorussian SSR from Western influences as well as to replace Belarus's cultural identity with that of Russia.

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After seven decades as a constituent republic of the USSR, Belarus declared its sovereignty on July 27, 1990, and independence from the Soviet Union on August 25, 1991.

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The Belarusian Government has since been criticized for acting against media outlets.

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The Russians, led by Tsar Ivan the III, began military conquests in 1486 in an attempt to gain the Kievan Rus' lands, specifically Belarus and Ukraine.

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Belarus has been a member of the international Non-Aligned Movement since 1998 and a member of the United Nations since its founding in 1945.

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The traditional two piece Belarusian dress originated from the Kievan Rus' period, and continues to be worn today at special functions.

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Belarus has only small reserves of petroleum and natural gas and imports most of its oil and gas from Russia.

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Like many other European countries, Belarus has a negative population growth rate and a negative natural growth rate.

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In 2007, Belarus' population declined by 0.41 percent and its fertility rate was 1.22, well below the replacement rate.

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Belarus's natural resources include peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomite (limestone), marl, chalk, sand, gravel, and clay.

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Belarus is dependent on Russia for imports of raw materials and for its export market.

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Belarus' Armed Forces, which were formed in 1992 using parts of the former Soviet Armed Forces, consists of three branches: the Army, the Air Force, and the Ministry of Defense joint staff.

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The Council of Europe has barred Belarus from European Union membership since 1997 for undemocratic voting and election irregularities in the November 1996 constitutional referendum and parliament bi-elections.

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After the "Helium Acts Amendments of 1960" (Public Law 86–777), the U.S. Bureau of Mines arranged for five private plants to recover helium from natural gas.

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Belarus has not expressed a desire to join NATO but has participated in the Individual Partnership Program since 1997.

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The country of Belarus covers 80,100 square miles (207,600 sq km), slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Kansas.

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Each region of Belarus has developed specific design patterns.

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The ballet Nightingale by M. Kroshner was composed during the Soviet era and became the first Belarusian ballet showcased at the National Academic Bolshoi Ballet Theatre in Minsk.

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The transformation of the ex-Soviet forces into the Armed Forces of Belarus, which was completed in 1997, reduced the number of its soldiers by 30,000 and restructured its leadership and military formations.

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The government's Ministry of Culture finances events promoting Belarusian arts and culture both inside and outside the country.

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Kazulin was detained and beaten by police during protests surrounding the All Belarusian People's Assembly.

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Belarusian territories were acquired by the Russian Empire during the reign of Catherine II and held until their occupation by Germany during World War I.

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The first known use of White Russia to refer to Belarus was in the late-sixteenth century by Englishman Sir Jerome Horsey.

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The Union of Russia and Belarus, a supranational confederation, was established in a 1996–1999 series of treaties that called for monetary union, equal rights, single citizenship, and a common foreign and defense policy.

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Belarusian literature began with eleventh- to thirteenth-century religious writing; of which the work of twelfth-century poet Kiryla Turauski is representative.

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Belarus applied to become a member of the World Trade Organization in 1993.

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Belarus has increased cooperation with China, strengthened by the visit of President Lukashenko to that country in October 2005.

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Belarus has historically been a Russian Orthodox country, with minorities practicing Catholicism, Judaism, and other religions.

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Belarus was a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

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Belarus is divided into six voblasts, or administrative division (provinces), which are named after the cities that serve as their administrative centers.

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Emigration from Belarus has been an additional cause for the shrinking number of Jewish residents.

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In 2005, approximately 1.4 percent of Belarus's gross domestic product was devoted to military expenditures.

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Many of the writers at the time, such as U?adzimir Ћy?ka, Kazimir Svayak, Yakub Kolas, ?mitrok Biadula and Maksim Haretski, wrote for a Belarusian language paper called Nasha Niva, published in Vilnius.

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The territory and its nation were devastated in World War II, during which Belarus lost about a third of its population and more than half of its economic resources.

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Treaties in 1995 and 1996 demarcated Belarus's borders with Latvia and Lithuania, but Belarus failed to ratify a 1997 treaty establishing the Belarus-Ukraine border.

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The modern period of Belarusian literature began in the late nineteenth century; one important writer was Yanka Kupala.

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According to Article 16 of its Constitution, Belarus has no official religion.

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Rhyming was common in these works, which were generally written in Old Belarusian, Latin, Polish or Church-Slavic.

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The last major revival of the Belarusian literature occurred in the 1960s with novels published by Vasil Byka? and U?adzimir Karatkievi?.

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Until 2000, subsidies to state enterprises and price controls on industrial and consumer staples constituted a major feature of the Belarusian economy.

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The change was made to reflect adequately the Belarusian language form of the name.

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