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Belarus (/bɛləˈrs/; Belarusian: Беларусь, IPA: [bʲɛlaˈrusʲ]), officially the Republic of Belarus (Belarusian: Рэспубліка Беларусь, Russian: Республика Беларусь), formerly known by its Russian name Byelorussia or Belorussia (Russian: Белоруссия), 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 and most populous city is Minsk. Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested. Its major economic sectors are service industries and manufacturing. Until the 20th century, different states at various times controlled the lands of modern-day Belarus, including the Principality of Polotsk (11th to 14th centuries), the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire.

In the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Belarus declared independence as the Belarusian People's Republic, which was conquered by Soviet Russia. The Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia became a founding constituent republic of the Soviet Union in 1922 and was renamed as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (Byelorussian SSR). Belarus lost almost half of its territory to Poland after the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–1921. 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 WWII, military operations devastated Belarus, which lost about a third of its population and more than 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 and the Ukrainian SSR.

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. Alexander Lukashenko has served as the country's first president since 1994. Belarus has been labeled "Europe's last dictatorship" by some Western journalists, on account of Lukashenko's self-described authoritarian style of government. Lukashenko continued a number of Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of large sections of the economy. Elections under Lukashenko's rule have been widely criticized as unfair; and according to many countries and organizations, political opposition has been violently suppressed. Belarus is also the last country in Europe using the death penalty. 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 by far the worst country for press freedom in Europe in the 2013–14 Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, which ranks Belarus 157th out of 180 nations.

Selected article

The Belarusian Republican Youth Union (Belarusian: Беларускі рэспубліканскі саюз моладзі (БРСМ), Russian: Белорусский республиканский союз молодежи (БРСМ), transliteration: Belorusskij respublikanskij sojuz molodeži (BRSM)) is a youth organization in Belarus. Its goals are to promote patriotism and to instill moral values into the youth of Belarus, using activities such as camping, sporting events and visiting memorials. The organization was created after a merger of other youth groups in 2002 and is the successor of the Leninist Communist Youth League of the Byelorussian SSR. The BRSM is the largest youth group in Belarus and is supported by the Belarusian government. Some people have accused the group of using methods of coercion and empty promises in order to recruit new members and of being used as propaganda for the government of Alexander Lukashenko. Read more...

Selected biography

Siarhiej Michałok.jpg

Siarhei Mikhalok (born January 19, 1972 in Belarusian: Сяргей Міхалок, Russian: Серге́й Михалок, Sergey Mikhalok) is a Belarusian rock musician and actor. He was the frontman of the ska punk band Lyapis Trubetskoy that he dissolved on 1 September 2014. He is the frontman of the band Brutto now.

Born into a family of a Soviet military man in Dresden, East Germany. The family was originally from Minsk. He grew up in Siberia. Read more...

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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.