Portal:Belarus

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Belarus, officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the east and northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Covering an area of 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) and with a population of 9.3 million, Belarus is the 13th-largest and the 20th-most populous country in Europe. The country is administratively divided into seven regions. Minsk is the capital and largest city.

Until the 20th century, different states at various times controlled the lands of modern-day Belarus, including Kievan Rus', the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution in 1917, different states arose competing for legitimacy amidst the Civil War, ultimately ending in the rise of the Byelorussian SSR, which became a founding constituent republic of the Soviet Union in 1922. After the Polish-Soviet War, Belarus lost almost half of its territory to Poland. Much of the borders of Belarus took their modern shape in 1939, when some lands of the Second Polish Republic were reintegrated into it after the Soviet invasion of Poland, and were finalized after World War II. During World War II, military operations devastated Belarus, which lost about a quarter of its population and half of its economic resources. The republic was redeveloped in the post-war years. In 1945, the Byelorussian SSR became a founding member of the United Nations, along with the Soviet Union.

The parliament of the republic proclaimed the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990, and during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on 25 August 1991. Following the adoption of a new constitution in 1994, Alexander Lukashenko was elected Belarus's first president in the country's first and only free election post-independence, serving as president ever since. Lukashenko heads an authoritarian government with a poor human rights record due to widespread abuses. Lukashenko has continued a number of Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of large sections of the economy. Belarus is the only country in Europe officially using the death penalty. In 2000, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation, forming the Union State. (Full article...)

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The former flag of the Republic of Belarus from 1991 to 1995, also used as the official flag of the Belarusian Democratic Republic (1918), is currently used by various opposition groups and individuals.
The Belarusian opposition consists of groups and individuals in Belarus seeking to challenge, from 1988 to 1991, the authorities of Soviet Belarus, and since 1995, the leader of the country Alexander Lukashenko, whom supporters of the movement often consider to be a dictator. Supporters of the movement tend to call for a parliamentary democracy based on a Western model, with freedom of speech and political and religious pluralism. (Full article...)
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Aryna Siarhiejeŭna Sabalenka (Belarusian: Арына Сяргееўна Сабаленка; Russian: Арина Сергеевна Соболенко, Arina Sergeyevna Sobolenko, born 5 May 1998) is a Belarusian professional tennis player. She has been ranked as high as world No. 2 in singles and world No. 1 in doubles by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA). Sabalenka has won two Grand Slam doubles titles, the 2019 US Open and the 2021 Australian Open, alongside Elise Mertens. She has won 16 career titles in total, ten in singles and six in doubles.

Sabalenka was relatively unknown until 2017 when she rose to prominence by leading the Belarus Fed Cup team to a runner-up finish with Aliaksandra Sasnovich, despite both of them being ranked outside the top 75 at the time. Following the 2017 Fed Cup, she began having more success on the WTA Tour, reaching four finals in 2018 and achieving eight top ten victories. Sabalenka continued to excel in singles in 2019 with three titles in China, highlighted by a defense of her Wuhan Open title at the Premier 5 level and by winning the WTA Elite Trophy at the end of the year. She finished both 2018 and 2019 ranked No. 11 in the world in singles. Sabalenka also began playing doubles regularly in 2019. With Mertens as her partner, she completed the Sunshine Double by winning the two Premier Mandatory tournaments in March, the Indian Wells Open and the Miami Open. After the US Open doubles title later in the year, she also qualified for the WTA Finals for the first time. Sabalenka's best results in singles at the Grand Slam tournaments came at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships and 2021 US Open, where she reached the semifinals. (Full article...)

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          Sources

          1. ^ Kopka, D. (2011). Welcome to Belarus: Passport to Eastern Europe & Russia. Passport Series. Milliken Publishing Company. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-7877-2770-3. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
          2. ^ Harshav, Benjamin. Marc Chagall and his times: a documentary narrative. Contraversions: Jews and Other Differences. Stanford University Press; 1 edition. August 2003. ISBN 0804742146.