A profile of Belarus

Map Belarus

The turmoil of World War Two led to the creation of Belarus' current borders.

The Nazis occupied the former Soviet republic between 1941 and 1944, during which time it lost 2.2 million citizens, nearly all of whom were members of the country's sizable Jewish population.

Alexander Lukashenko, the country's president, has ruled Belarus with an iron fist since 1994. For organizing protests, opposition leaders face severe punishments.

Belarus rose to prominence as one of the USSR's wealthiest regions during the post-World War II era, but the country's economy fell after gaining independence.

The country is heavily reliant on Russia for its energy supplies, and President Lukashenko has vehemently opposed the privatization of state-owned enterprises.

  • with capital letters. Minsk.
  • Area:.  207,595 sq km.
  • Population:. nineteen million four hundred.
  • Languages:. Belarussian and Russian.
  • the length of life. 69 years for men and 79 years for women.

Alexander Lukashenko is in charge.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko

In elections that the opposition candidates and outside observers have criticized as unfair and undemocratic, Alexander Lukashenko, sometimes referred to as Europe's last dictator, has won reelection time and time again.

Formerly the director of the state farm, Mr. Lukashenko won his first election as president in 1994 thanks to his dynamic leadership of the parliamentary anti-corruption committee.

He has succeeded in striking a balance between his overtures to the West and Russia, his closest economic and political partner, while upholding authoritarian rule at home.

Because of political oppression, the EU, UK, USA, and Canada have all placed sanctions on Belarus; additional sanctions were put in place in 2022 as a result of the nation's participation in the invasion of Ukraine.

Man reading newspaper in Minsk

Belarus has come under fire from human rights organizations for stifling free speech, repressing the press, and preventing the opposition from accessing state media.

TV is the primary source of news. The government controls national television. Russian networks are primarily their rivals.

The opposition makes use of the internet to get its message across. The government has worked to tighten its controls online.

Victory Day celebrations in the capital Minsk
On May 9, Minsk will celebrate Victory Day in remembrance of Nazi Germany's surrender to the USSR at the close of World War Two.

Important dates in Belarusian history:.

1918 . As the Belarusian National Republic, Belarus declares its independence toward the end of World War One.

1919. - The Red Army of Russia conquers Belarus and imposes communist rule.

1921 . According to the Treaty of Riga, Poland and Soviet Russia split up Belarus.

1930s. - The purges of intellectuals and political opponents enacted by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin have a significant negative impact on Belarus. In Belarus, thousands more are sent to labor camps and over 100,000 people are put to death.

1941. - In the course of World War Two, Nazi Germany invades. During the occupation, more than a million people die, the vast majority of them being Jews.

1944. - The Germans are driven out of Belarus by the Soviet Red Army.

1960s. - The Belarusian language and culture have been demoted due to a policy of russification.

1986. - Chernobyl's nuclear explosion in neighboring Ukraine has had a significant impact on Belarus. Approximately 20% of agricultural land is contaminated and unusable.

1988. - The formation of the Belarusian Popular Front was a result of the nationalist revival sparked by the political liberalization of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

1990. - Belarusian is made the official language of the nation.

1991. - As the Soviet Union disintegrates, Belarus declares its independence.

1994. Alexander Lukashenko triumphs in the country's first presidential vote after running on a platform of eradicating corruption and re-establishing close ties with Russia.

1995. - Agreement on friendship and cooperation with Russia, as well as referendums to increase the president's authority and reinstate Russian as a co-official language.

2001. - The second term of Lukashenko being elected. Elections are said to be undemocratic by the opposition and Western observers.

2004. - A referendum favors the modification allowing the president to serve more than the previous two-term limit. In concurrent parliamentary elections, opposition parties come up empty-handed. Voting is not free or fair, according to observers in the West.

Street protests follow. Dozens of protesters are arrested after a clash with the police.

2004. - Senior officials' travel restrictions are extended by the EU. The US imposes sanctions.

2006. - In elections that Western observers deemed unfair, Lukashenko was declared the victor by a wide margin.

A visa ban is placed by the EU on Lukashenko and several other ministers and officials.

Alyaksandr Kazulin, the unsuccessful presidential candidate, was sentenced to five and a half years in prison after being found guilty of hooliganism and inciting a riot.

2008. - The release from jail of three dissidents, including Alyaksandr Kazulin, a former opposition presidential candidate.

In an effort to promote democratic reform, the EU lifts its travel ban on Lukashenko one month after the US did the same.

2010. - The presidential elections were declared won by Lukashenko. The opposition and foreign observers claim there was vote rigging. With 600 arrests, large-scale protests are violently put down in Minsk.

2011. - The EU re-imposes its travel ban on Lukashenko and freezes his assets, while the US tightens financial restrictions and expands its travel restrictions on senior officials.

In Minsk, there is an explosion that leaves 15 people dead. A plot to destabilize the nation, according to President Lukashenko, involves "fifth columnists.". The deaths of two suspects.

For organizing protests against the presidential elections, opposition leader Andrey Sannikau was given a five-year prison sentence.

2012. - While other opposition activists are still incarcerated, Andrei Sannikau and Zmitser Bandarenka are released early.

2014 . - In response to NATO beefing up its forces in the Baltic neighbor states amid rising tension brought on by Russia's annexation of Crimea, Belarus requests that Russia send additional military aircraft to its territory.

2015. Lukashenko is elected to a fifth term as president. There isn't any room for a significant opposition candidate.

2020 . - Widespread demonstrations following accusations from the opposition that Lukashenko was the beneficiary of a fraud in the most recent presidential election.

2022. - Belarus permits Russia's army to launch attacks into northern Ukraine from its territory as part of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Lenin and Belarussian flag in front of Parliament building on the Independence square in Minsk, Belarus
In front of Minsk's parliament building are Lenin and the Belarusian flag.

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