On 23 May 2011, the Belarusian ruble depreciated 56% against the United States dollar.  In 2005, GDP increased by 9.9%; the inflation rate averaged 9.5%.. , The labor force consists of more than four million people, among whom women hold slightly more jobs than men. Such presence can take a form of much more frequent exercises and rotational presence of troops," explained Wojciech Lorenz, a security analyst at the Warsaw-based Polish Institute of International Affairs.  Belarusian, although not as widely used as Russian, is the mother tongue of 53.2% of the population, whereas Russian is the mother tongue of only 41.5%. "Moscow has been seeking an air base since at least 2013. He remains in prison. In his words, the scale of protests in Belarus is gradually decreasing despite external support. , Lukashenko has described himself as having an "authoritarian ruling style". Tony Wesolowsky is a senior correspondent for RFE/RL in Prague, covering Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, and Central Europe, as well as energy issues. A national constitution was adopted in March 1994 in which the functions of prime minister were given to the President of Belarus. Belarusian literature began with 11th- to 13th-century religious scripture, such as the 12th-century poetry of Cyril of Turaw. 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Despite significant efforts the state ceased to exist, primarily because the territory was continually dominated by the German Imperial Army and the Imperial Russian Army in World War I, and then the Bolshevik Red Army. , During the negotiations of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Belarus first declared independence under German occupation on 25 March 1918, forming the Belarusian People's Republic.  The Soviet-controlled Byelorussian People's Council officially took control of the territories, whose populations consisted of a mixture of Poles, Ukrainians, Belarusians and Jews, on 28 October 1939 in Białystok.  Years earlier interrogation report of 19-year-old revolutionary Pilsudski of 10 March 1887 indicated that he called himself a "Belarusian nobleman". "Defending the Baltics was a race against the clock, and now [with possibly more troops] Moscow chips away two to three days from that equation.". Two-round elections for the presidency on (24 June 1994 and 10 July 1994) catapulted the formerly unknown Alexander Lukashenko into national prominence. The National Bank of Belarus abandoned pegging the Belarusian ruble to the Russian ruble in August 2007. Republic of Belarus Full name: The Republic of Belarus Government type: presidential republic President: Aleksandr Lukashenko Capital: Minsk (2 million 20,6 thousand) Population: 9 million 408,4 thousand Major languages: Belarusian, Russian Monetary unit: Belarusian ruble (Br) Belarus is a former Soviet republic that maintains close economic ties with Moscow. Lukashenka's refusal came a year after Russia illegally annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and began supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine. , After the war, Belarus was among the 51 founding member states of the United Nations Charter and as such it was allowed an additional vote at the UN, on top of the Soviet Union's vote.  However, the future of the union has been placed in doubt because of Belarus's repeated delays of monetary union, the lack of a referendum date for the draft constitution, and a dispute over the petroleum trade. The Soviets invaded and annexed much of eastern Poland, which had been part of the country since the Peace of Riga two decades earlier. The Lithuanian nobles were forced to go for rapprochement because of the threat coming from Muscovy. Russia, which has long sought permanent military bases in Belarus, has increased its military activity in and around Belarus in what is its last friend on its border with Europe after an anti-Russian government emerged in Kyiv in 2014. ", "Belarus ruler Lukashenko says Russia lying over 'mercenaries, "Belarus: Lukashenko accuses Russian mercenaries, critics of plotting attack", "Belarus President Accuses Russia, Poland of Election Interference", "Belarus's Protests Aren't Particularly Anti-Putin", "Protests in Belarus continue despite challenger's departure", "EU leaders to warn Russia against Belarus interference", "Putin warns western leaders over 'meddling' in Belarus", "Russian FM in Syria, meets Assad in first visit since 2012", "Belarus protests: Why Poland is backing the opposition", "Belarus opposition leader: Foreign mediation may be needed", "El Pais interview with HR/VP Borrell: "Lukashenko is like Maduro. In 2015, 39.3% of Belarusians were employed by state-controlled companies, 57.2% were employed by private companies (in which the government has a 21.1% stake) and 3.5% were employed by foreign companies. Трайнин И.Национальное и социальное освобождение Западной Украины и Западной Белоруссии.—М., 1939.—80 с. Гiсторыя Беларусі. Минаев В. Западная Белоруссия и Западная Украина под гнетом панской Польши.—М., 1939.  Ethnic Belarusians constitute 83.7% of Belarus's total population. Its net migration rate is +0.38 per 1,000, indicating that Belarus experiences slightly more immigration than emigration. In 1996, Lukashenko called for a controversial vote to extend the presidential term from five to seven years, and as a result the electionthat was supposed to occur in 199…  Demographic decreases in the Belarusians of conscription age have increased the importance of contract soldiers, who numbered 12,000 in 2001. It allowed the right to own land within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to only its own families.  Corrupt practices such as bribery often took place during tender processes, and whistleblower protection and national ombudsman are lacking in Belarus's anti-corruption system.  Belarus declared itself sovereign on 27 July 1990 by issuing the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic.  Roman Catholicism is practiced mostly in the western regions, and there are also different denominations of Protestantism. It existed from only 1918 to 1919 but created prerequisites for the formation of the state idea around the name "Belarus". Том пяты.—Мінск, 2006.—с. All rights reserved. Other notable Belarusian sportspeople include cyclist Vasil Kiryienka, who won the 2015 Road World Time Trial Championship, and middle-distance runner Maryna Arzamasava, who won the gold medal in the 800m at the 2015 World Championships in Athletics. (Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed. Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, under Lukashenko's leadership, Belarus has maintained government control over key industries and eschewed the large-scale privatizations seen in other former Soviet republics. These articles were aimed to defend the rights of the nobility of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania nobility against Polish, Prussian and other aristocracy of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Wheat and rye breads are consumed in Belarus, but rye is more plentiful because conditions are too harsh for growing wheat. The Belarusian government sponsors annual cultural festivals such as the Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk, which showcases Belarusian performers, artists, writers, musicians, and actors.  Modern Ukrainian lands used it until 1860s. The Communist Party of Belarus won 3 seats, and the Agrarian Party and Republican Party of Labour and Justice, one each. The outside influence is quite obvious. Oleg Syromolotov added that the Belarusian government realistically evaluates all the threats originating from outside forces. Last Updated at October 22, 2020 21:07 IST. , Belarus's Democracy Index rating is the lowest in Europe, the country is labelled as "not free" by Freedom House, as "repressed" in the Index of Economic Freedom, and is rated as the worst country for press freedom in Europe in the 2013–2014 Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, which ranks Belarus 157th out of 180 nations. Read our coverage as Belarusians take to the streets to demand the resignation of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and call for new elections after official results from the August 9 presidential poll gave Lukashenka a landslide victory. The EU has warned it was ready to sanction Lukashenko himself if he fails to enter talks with the opposition.