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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 9.1 million, Belarus is the 13th-largest and the 20th-most populous country in Europe. The country has a hemiboreal climate and is administratively divided into six regions. Minsk is the capital and largest city; it is administered separately as a city with special status.

Between the medieval period and 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 amid 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. In 1945, the Byelorussian SSR became a founding member of the United Nations, along with the Soviet Union. The republic was home to a widespread and diverse anti-Nazi insurgent movement which dominated politics until well into the 1970s, overseeing Belarus' transformation from an agrarian to industrial economy.

The parliament of the republic proclaimed the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990, and during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus gained 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 after independence, serving as president ever since. Lukashenko heads a highly centralized authoritarian government. Belarus ranks low in international measurements of freedom of the press and civil liberties. It has continued a number of Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of large sections of the economy. Belarus is the only European country that continues to use capital punishment. In 2000, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation, forming the Union State. (Full article...)

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Presidential elections were held in Belarus on Sunday, 9 August 2020. Early voting began on 4 August and ran until 8 August.

Incumbent Alexander Lukashenko was announced by the Central Election Commission (CEC) to have won a sixth term in office, crediting him with just over 80% of the vote. Lukashenko has won every presidential election since 1994, with all but the first being labelled by international monitors as neither free nor fair. (Full article...)
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Sabalenka at the 2023 US Open

Aryna Siarhiejeŭna Sabalenka (born 5 May 1998) is a Belarusian professional tennis player. She is a former world No. 1 in both singles and doubles by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA). Sabalenka has won two major singles titles, at the 2023 and 2024 Australian Opens, and two major doubles titles, at the 2019 US Open and the 2021 Australian Open, both partnering Elise Mertens. She has won 20 career titles in total, 14 in singles and six in doubles.

Sabalenka was relatively unknown until 2017, when together with Aliaksandra Sasnovich they led the Belarus Fed Cup team to a runner-up finish, despite both of them being ranked outside the top 75 at the time. She finished both 2018 and 2019 ranked No. 11 in the world in singles. Following two major singles semifinal appearances in 2021, Sabalenka peaked at the world No. 2 ranking, but struggled to consistently maintain that success in 2022. In 2023, she won her first major singles title at the Australian Open, reached the semifinals at all four major tournaments (also finishing runner-up at the US Open), and obtained the world No. 1 ranking, being named the ITF World Champion for the season. (Full article...)

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Did you know (auto-generated)

  • ... that Obliskomzap People's Commissar for Public Charity V. L. Mukha resigned in protest over the dispersing of the First All-Belarusian Congress?
  • ... that the Russian and Belarusian military exercise Zapad 2013 was officially described as counterterrorist, but international observers concluded that it was a preparation for a conventional war?
  • ... that Belarusian activist Vitaly Shishov, the head of an organisation helping people escape repression following the 2020–2021 Belarusian protests, was aware of risks to his life before he was found dead?
  • ... that museum director Alena Aladava rebuilt the Belarusian national art collection in the aftermath of the Second World War?
  • ... that Rufina Bazlova has used traditional embroidery to depict protests in Belarus?
  • ... that Stsiapan Putsila faces criminal charges in Belarus—as does the Polish judge who refused to extradite him?

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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.