The Republic of Belarus, Capital Minsk

flag_of_belarus_1995-2012-svgRepublic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk. Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested. Belarus’s has a total area of 207,595 km2 (80,155 sq mi) and a population of 9.5 million in 2014.    Belarus lies between latitudes 51° and 57° N, and longitudes 23° and 33° E. The climate features mild to cold winters, with average January temperatures ranging from −4 °C (24.8 °F) in southwest to −8 °C (17.6 °F) in northeast, and cool and moist summers with an average temperature of 18 °C (64.4 °F)of the country.Belarus’s two official languages are Russian and Belarusian.The currency of Belarus is the Belarusian ruble (BYR).

Belarus was a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).In addition to the CIS, Belarus is a member of the Eurasian Economic Community, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the international Non-Aligned Movement since 1998, the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the UN since its founding in 1945. As an OSCE member state, Belarus’s international commitments are subject to monitoring under the mandate of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.Belarus is included in the European Union’s European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbours closer.

Its GDP PPP in 2015 estimation is $176,921 billion with per capita of $18,882. Its strongest economic sectors are service industries and manufacturing.

Important agricultural products include potatoes and cattle byproducts, including meat. In 1994, Belarus’s main exports included heavy machinery (especially tractors), agricultural products, and energy products.

Peat, the country’s most valuable mineral resource, is used for fuel and fertilizer and in the chemical industry. Belarus also has deposits of clay, sand, chalk, dolomite, phosphorite, and rock and potassium salt. Forests cover about a third of the land, and lumbering is an important sector.

Potatoes, flax, hemp, sugarbeets, rye, oats, and wheat are the chief agricultural products. Dairy and beef cattle, pigs, and chickens are raised. Belarus has only small reserves of petroleum and natural gas and imports most of its oil and gas from Russia. The main branches of industry produce tractors and trucks, earth movers for use in construction and mining, metal-cutting machine tools, agricultural equipment, motorcycles, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, and consumer goods. The chief trading partners are Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and Germany.