Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. The name Belarus is closely related with the term Belaya Rus’, i. e. White Rus’
About Belarus in brief
Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres is forested. More than 80% of the population is ethnic Belarusian, with sizable minorities of Russians, Poles and Ukrainians. The name Belarus is closely related with the term Belaya Rus’, i. e. White Rus’ There are several claims to the origin of the name White Rus’. An ethno-religious theory suggests that the name used to describe the part of old Ruthenian lands within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania that had been populated mostly by Slavs who had been Christianized early, as opposed to Black Ruthenia, which was predominantly inhabited by pagan Balts. A third theory suggests the old Rus’ lands that were not conquered by the Tatars had been referred to as “White Rus'”. The name Rus’ is often conflated with its Latin forms Russia and White Rus’, thus Belarus is often referred to by a literal translation as White Russia or White Russia. Belarus has shown no aspirations for joining the European Union but nevertheless maintains a bilateral relationship with the Union, and likewise participates in two EU projects: the Eastern Partnership and the Baku Initiative. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages: Belarusian and Russian. The Constitution of Belarus does not declare any official religion, although the primary religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
The country celebrates both the Orthodox and the Catholic dates for Christmas and Easter as national holidays. Alexander Lukashenko has served as the country’s first president since 1994. Belarus is also the only country in Europe officially using the death penalty. Over 70% of Belarus’s population of 9.5 million resides in urban areas. It has been labeled \”Europe’s last dictatorship\”, on account of the country’s poor human rights record and Lukashenka’s authoritarian government. The first chronicles of Jan Czarnków mention the imprisonment of Lithuanian grand duke Poloczk at the dictoee Russia, at 1381. In 1381, Polockek ordered his mother and his mother-in-law to be executed for crimes against Russia, including the murder of the Russian tsar. The last chronicles mention the death of Jogaila Polock, at the hands of the tsar’s son, Jokan Poloczek, in 1383. The death penalty is still used in some countries, too, including Dutch and German, including Afrikaans and German. However, here too, a gradual shift towards a more lenient interpretation of the law has been observed in some languages, such as Dutch, Afrikaan and German. In the 1990s, Belarus declared independence from the Soviet Union and became a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, CSTO, EEU, and the Non-Aligned Movement. The parliament of the republic proclaimed the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990.