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Latvia vs. Belarus

Introduction

LatviaBelarus
BackgroundSeveral eastern Baltic tribes merged in medieval times to form the ethnic core of the Latvian people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.). The region subsequently came under the control of Germans, Poles, Swedes, and finally, Russians. A Latvian republic emerged following World War I, but it was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. Latvia reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Russian troops left in 1994, the status of the Russian minority (some 26% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia acceded to both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004; it joined the euro zone in 2014 and the OECD in 2016. A dual citizenship law was adopted in 2013, easing naturalization for non-citizen children.
After seven decades as a constituent republic of the USSR, Belarus attained its independence in 1991. It has retained closer political and economic ties to Russia than have any of the other former Soviet republics. Belarus and Russia signed a treaty on a two-state union on 8 December 1999 envisioning greater political and economic integration. Although Belarus agreed to a framework to carry out the accord, serious implementation has yet to take place. Since his election in July 1994 as the country's first and only directly elected president, Aleksandr LUKASHENKO has steadily consolidated his power through authoritarian means and a centralized economic system. Government restrictions on political and civil freedoms, freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion have remained in place.

Geography

LatviaBelarus
LocationEastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania
Eastern Europe, east of Poland
Geographic coordinates57 00 N, 25 00 E
53 00 N, 28 00 E
Map referencesEurope
Europe
Areatotal: 64,589 sq km
land: 62,249 sq km
water: 2,340 sq km
total: 207,600 sq km
land: 202,900 sq km
water: 4,700 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly larger than West Virginia
slightly less than twice the size of Kentucky; slightly smaller than Kansas
Land boundariestotal: 1,370 km
border countries (4): Belarus 161 km, Estonia 333 km, Lithuania 544 km, Russia 332 km
total: 3,642 km
border countries (5): Latvia 161 km, Lithuania 640 km, Poland 418 km, Russia 1,312 km, Ukraine 1,111 km
Coastline498 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: limits as agreed to by Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Sweden, and Russia
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
none (landlocked)
Climatemaritime; wet, moderate winters
cold winters, cool and moist summers; transitional between continental and maritime
Terrainlow plain
generally flat with much marshland
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 87 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Gaizina Kalns 312 m
mean elevation: 160 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Nyoman River 90 m
highest point: Dzyarzhynskaya Hara 346 m
Natural resourcespeat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, timber, arable land
timber, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, clay
Land useagricultural land: 29.2%
arable land 18.6%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 10.5%
forest: 54.1%
other: 16.7% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 43.7%
arable land 27.2%; permanent crops 0.6%; permanent pasture 15.9%
forest: 42.7%
other: 13.6% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land12 sq km
note: land in Latvia is often too wet and in need of drainage not irrigation; approximately 16,000 sq km or 85% of agricultural land has been improved by drainage (2012)
1,140 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsNA
large tracts of marshy land
Environment - current issuesLatvia's environment has benefited from a shift to service industries after the country regained independence; improvements have occurred in drinking water quality, sewage treatment, household and hazardous waste management, as well as reduction of air pollution
soil pollution from pesticide use; southern part of the country contaminated with fallout from 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chornobyl' in northern Ukraine
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notemost of the country is composed of fertile low-lying plains with some hills in the east
landlocked; glacial scouring accounts for the flatness of Belarusian terrain and for its 11,000 lakes
Population distributionlargest concentration of people is found in and around the port and capital city of Riga; small agglomerations are scattered throughout the country
a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations

Demographics

LatviaBelarus
Population1,965,686 (July 2016 est.)
9,570,376 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 15.01% (male 151,290/female 143,710)
15-24 years: 9.9% (male 100,416/female 94,244)
25-54 years: 42.07% (male 409,921/female 417,074)
55-64 years: 13.77% (male 119,844/female 150,860)
65 years and over: 19.25% (male 123,467/female 254,860) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 15.65% (male 770,014/female 727,338)
15-24 years: 10.68% (male 525,704/female 496,414)
25-54 years: 45.04% (male 2,118,447/female 2,191,694)
55-64 years: 13.95% (male 589,288/female 745,815)
65 years and over: 14.69% (male 448,135/female 957,527) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 43.3 years
male: 39.5 years
female: 46.6 years (2016 est.)
total: 39.8 years
male: 36.8 years
female: 42.9 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate-1.07% (2016 est.)
-0.21% (2016 est.)
Birth rate9.9 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
10.5 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate14.4 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
13.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-6.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
0.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.79 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.48 male(s)/female
total population: 0.85 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.79 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.46 male(s)/female
total population: 0.87 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 5.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 3.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 74.5 years
male: 69.9 years
female: 79.3 years (2016 est.)
total population: 72.7 years
male: 67.2 years
female: 78.6 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate1.51 children born/woman (2016 est.)
1.48 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.67% (2015 est.)
0.64% (2015 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Latvian(s)
adjective: Latvian
noun: Belarusian(s)
adjective: Belarusian
Ethnic groupsLatvian 61.8%, Russian 25.6%, Belarusian 3.4%, Ukrainian 2.3%, Polish 2.1%, Lithuanian 1.2%, other 3.6% (2016 est.)
Belarusian 83.7%, Russian 8.3%, Polish 3.1%, Ukrainian 1.7%, other 2.4%, unspecified 0.9% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS6,800 (2015 est.)
35,200 (2015 est.)
ReligionsLutheran 19.6%, Orthodox 15.3%, other Christian 1%, other 0.4%, unspecified 63.7% (2006)
Orthodox 48.3%, Catholic 7.1%, other 3.5%, non-believers 41.1% (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths400 (2015 est.)
1,000 (2015 est.)
LanguagesLatvian (official) 56.3%, Russian 33.8%, other 0.6% (includes Polish, Ukrainian, and Belarusian), unspecified 9.4%
note: data represent language usually spoken at home (2011 est.)
Russian (official) 70.2%, Belarusian (official) 23.4%, other 3.1% (includes small Polish- and Ukrainian-speaking minorities), unspecified 3.3% (2009 est.)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.9%
male: 99.9%
female: 99.9% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.7%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.7% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2014)
total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2015)
Education expenditures4.9% of GDP (2013)
4.9% of GDP (2015)
Urbanizationurban population: 67.4% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: -0.67% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 76.7% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 0.05% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 99.8% of population
rural: 98.3% of population
total: 99.3% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0.2% of population
rural: 1.7% of population
total: 0.7% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 99.9% of population
rural: 99.1% of population
total: 99.7% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0.1% of population
rural: 0.9% of population
total: 0.3% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 90.8% of population
rural: 81.5% of population
total: 87.8% of population
unimproved:
urban: 9.2% of population
rural: 18.5% of population
total: 12.2% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 94.1% of population
rural: 95.2% of population
total: 94.3% of population
unimproved:
urban: 5.9% of population
rural: 4.8% of population
total: 5.7% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationRIGA (capital) 621,000 (2015)
MINSK (capital) 1.915 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate18 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
4 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Health expenditures5.9% of GDP (2014)
5.7% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density3.22 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
4.07 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density5.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)
11.3 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate25.6% (2014)
25.2% (2014)
Mother's mean age at first birth26.9 years (2013 est.)
25.4 years (2013 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 52.2
youth dependency ratio: 22.7
elderly dependency ratio: 29.5
potential support ratio: 3.4 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 43
youth dependency ratio: 23
elderly dependency ratio: 20
potential support ratio: 5 (2015 est.)

Government

LatviaBelarus
Country name"conventional long form: Republic of Latvia
conventional short form: Latvia
local long form: Latvijas Republika
local short form: Latvija
former: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic
etymology: the name ""Latvia"" originates from the ancient Latgalians, one of four eastern Baltic tribes that formed the ethnic core of the Latvian people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.)
"
"conventional long form: Republic of Belarus
conventional short form: Belarus
local long form: Respublika Byelarus'/Respublika Belarus'
local short form: Byelarus'/Belarus'
former: Belorussian (Byelorussian) Soviet Socialist Republic
etymology: the name is a compound of the Belarusian words ""bel"" (white) and ""Rus"" (the Old East Slavic ethnic designation) to form the meaning White Rusian or White Ruthenian
"
Government typeparliamentary republic
presidential republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship
Capitalname: Riga
geographic coordinates: 56 57 N, 24 06 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
name: Minsk
geographic coordinates: 53 54 N, 27 34 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions110 municipalities (novadi, singular - novads) and 9 cities
municipalities: Adazu Novads, Aglonas Novads, Aizkraukles Novads, Aizputes Novads, Aknistes Novads, Alojas Novads, Alsungas Novads, Aluksnes Novads, Amatas Novads, Apes Novads, Auces Novads, Babites Novads, Baldones Novads, Baltinavas Novads, Balvu Novads, Bauskas Novads, Beverinas Novads, Brocenu Novads, Burtnieku Novads, Carnikavas Novads, Cesu Novads, Cesvaines Novads, Ciblas Novads, Dagdas Novads, Daugavpils Novads, Dobeles Novads, Dundagas Novads, Durbes Novads, Engures Novads, Erglu Novads, Garkalnes Novads, Grobinas Novads, Gulbenes Novads, Iecavas Novads, Ikskiles Novads, Ilukstes Novads, Incukalna Novads, Jaunjelgavas Novads, Jaunpiebalgas Novads, Jaunpils Novads, Jekabpils Novads, Jelgavas Novads, Kandavas Novads, Karsavas Novads, Keguma Novads, Kekavas Novads, Kocenu Novads, Kokneses Novads, Kraslavas Novads, Krimuldas Novads, Krustpils Novads, Kuldigas Novads, Lielvardes Novads, Ligatnes Novads, Limbazu Novads, Livanu Novads, Lubanas Novads, Ludzas Novads, Madonas Novads, Malpils Novads, Marupes Novads, Mazsalacas Novads, Mersraga Novads, Nauksenu Novads, Neretas Novads, Nicas Novads, Ogres Novads, Olaines Novads, Ozolnieku Novads, Pargaujas Novads, Pavilostas Novads, Plavinu Novads, Preilu Novads, Priekules Novads, Priekulu Novads, Raunas Novads, Rezeknes Novads, Riebinu Novads, Rojas Novads, Ropazu Novads, Rucavas Novads, Rugaju Novads, Rujienas Novads, Rundales Novads, Salacgrivas Novads, Salas Novads, Salaspils Novads, Saldus Novads, Saulkrastu Novads, Sejas Novads, Siguldas Novads, Skriveru Novads, Skrundas Novads, Smiltenes Novads, Stopinu Novads, Strencu Novads, Talsu Novads, Tervetes Novads, Tukuma Novads, Vainodes Novads, Valkas Novads, Varaklanu Novads, Varkavas Novads, Vecpiebalgas Novads, Vecumnieku Novads, Ventspils Novads, Viesites Novads, Vilakas Novads, Vilanu Novads, Zilupes Novads
cities: Daugavpils, Jekabpils, Jelgava, Jurmala, Liepaja, Rezekne, Riga, Valmiera, Ventspils
6 provinces (voblastsi, singular - voblasts') and 1 municipality* (horad); Brest, Homyel' (Gomel'), Horad Minsk* (Minsk City), Hrodna (Grodno), Mahilyow (Mogilev), Minsk, Vitsyebsk (Vitebsk)
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers; Russian spelling provided for reference when different from Belarusian
Independence4 May 1990 (declared independence from the Soviet Union); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)
25 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
National holidayIndependence Day (Republic of Latvia Proclamation Day), 18 November (1918); note - 18 November 1918 was the date Latvia established its statehood and its concomitant independence from Soviet Russia; 4 May 1990 was the date it declared the restoration of Latvian statehood and its concomitant independence from the Soviet Union
Independence Day, 3 July (1944); note - 3 July 1944 was the date Minsk was liberated from German troops, 25 August 1991 was the date of independence from the Soviet Union
Constitutionhistory: several previous (pre-1991 independence); note - following the restoration of independence in 1991, parts of the 1922 constitution were reintroduced 4 May 1990 and fully reintroduced 6 July 1993
amendments: proposed by two-thirds of Parliament members or by petition of one-tenth of qualified voters submitted through the president; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of Parliament in each of three readings; amendment of constitutional articles including national sovereignty, language, the parliamentary electoral system, and constitutional amendment procedures requires passage in a referendum by majority vote of at least one-half of the electorate; amended several times, last in 2014 (2016)
history: several previous; latest drafted between late 1991 and early 1994, signed 15 March 1994
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic through petition to the National Assembly or by petition of least 150,000 eligible voters; approval required by at least two-thirds majority vote in both chambers or by simple majority of votes cast in a referendum (2016)
Legal systemcivil law system with traces of socialist legal traditions and practices
civil law system; note - nearly all major codes (civil, civil procedure, criminal, criminal procedure, family, and labor) have been revised and came into force in 1999 or 2000
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Raimonds VEJONIS (since 8 July 2015)
head of government: Prime Minister Maris KUCINSKIS (since 11 February 2016); Deputy Prime Minister Arvils ASERADENS (since 11 February 2016)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers nominated by the prime minister, appointed by Parliament
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by Parliament for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 3 June 2015 (next to be held in 2019); prime minister appointed by the president, confirmed by Parliament
election results: Raimonds VEJONIS elected president; Parliament vote - Raimonds VEJONIS 55 of 100
chief of state: president Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (since 20 July 1994)
head of government: prime minister Andrey KOBYAKOV (since 27 December 2014); first deputy prime minister Vasily MATYUSHEVSKIY (since 27 December 2014)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (no term limits); first election took place on 23 June and 10 July 1994; according to the 1994 constitution, the next election should have been held in 1999, however, Aleksandr LUKASHENKO extended his term to 2001 via a November 1996 referendum; subsequent election held on 9 September 2001; an October 2004 referendum ended presidential term limits and allowed the president to run in a third (19 March 2006), fourth (19 December 2010), and fifth election (11 October 2015); next election in 2020; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president and approved by the National Assembly
election results: Aleksandr LUKASHENKO reelected president; percent of vote - Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (independent) 83.5%, Tatsiana KARATKEVICH (Tell the Truth) 4.4%, Sergey GAYDUKEVICH (LDP) 3.3%, other 8.8%; note - election marred by electoral fraud
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral Parliament or Saeima (100 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 4 October 2014 (next to be held in October 2018)
election results: percent of vote by party - SC 23%, Unity 21.9%, ZZS 19.5%, NA 16.6%, NSL 6.9%, LRA 6.7%, other 5.4%; seats by party - SC 24, Unity 23, ZZS 21, NA 17, LRA 8, NSL 7
description: bicameral National Assembly or Natsionalnoye Sobraniye consists of the Council of the Republic or Sovet Respubliki (64 seats; 56 members indirectly elected by regional and Minsk city councils and 8 members appointed by the president; members serve 4-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Palata Predstaviteley (110 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote with a second round if needed; members serve 4-year terms); note - the US does not recognize the legitimacy of the National Assembly
elections: House of Representatives - last held on 11 September 2016 (next to be held in 2020); OSCE observers determined that the election was neither free nor impartial and that vote counting was problematic in a number of polling stations; pro-LUKASHENKO candidates won virtually every seat with only the UCP member and one independent forming alternative representation in the House; international observers determined that the previous elections, on 28 September 2008 and 23 September 2012, also fell short of democratic standards, with pro-LUKASHENKO candidates winning every seat
election results: Council of the Republic - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - KPB 8, Belarusian Patriotic Party 3, Republican Party of Labor and Justice 3, LDP 1, UCP 1, independent 94
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the Senate with 27 judges and Supreme Court of Chambers with 22 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 7 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by chief justice and confirmed by the Saeima; judges serve until age 70, but term can be extended 2 years; Constitutional Court judges - 3 nominated by Saeima members, 2 by Cabinet ministers, and 2 by plenum of Supreme Court; all judges confirmed by Saeima majority vote; Constitutional Court president and vice president serve in their positions for 3 years; all judges serve 10-year terms; mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: district (city) and regional courts
highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chairman, deputy chairman, and organized into several specialized panels including economic and military; number of judges set by the president of the republic and the court chairman); Constitutional Court (consists of 12 judges including a chairman and deputy chairman)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president with the consent of the Council of the Republic; judges initially appointed for 5 years and evaluated for life appointment; Constitutional Court judges - 6 appointed by the president and 6 elected by the Council of the Republic; the presiding judge directly elected by the president and approved by the Council of the Republic; judges can serve for 11 years with an age limit of 70
subordinate courts: provincial (including Minsk city) courts; first instance (district) courts; economic courts; military courts
Political parties and leaders"Alliance of Regions or LRA [Martins BONDARS]
For Latvia from the Heart or NSL [Inguna SUDRABA]
Social Democratic Party ""Harmony"" or SC [Nils USAKOVS]
National Alliance ""All For Latvia!""-""For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK"" or NA [Gaidis BERZINS, Raivis DZINTARS]
Union of Greens and Farmers or ZZS [Augusts BRIGMANIS]
Unity [Andris PIEBALGS]
"
"pro-government parties:
Belarusian Agrarian Party or AP [Mikhail SHIMANSKIY]
Belarusian Patriotic Party [Nikolai ULAKHOVICH]
Belarusian Socialist Sporting Party [Vladimir ALEKSANDROVICH]
Communist Party of Belarus or KPB [Georgi ATAMANOV]
Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Sergey GAYDUKEVICH]
Republican Party [Vladimir BELOZOR]
Republican Party of Labor and Justice [Vasiliy ZADNEPRYANIY]
opposition parties:
Belarusian Christian Democracy Party [Pavel SEVERINETS] (unregistered)
Belarusian Party of the Green [Anastasiya DOROFEYEVA]
Belarusian Party of the Left ""Just World"" [Sergey KALYAKIN]
Belarusian Popular Front or BPF [Aleksey YANUKEVICH]
Belarusian Social-Democratic Assembly [Stanislav SHUSHKEVICH]
Belarusian Social Democratic Party (""Assembly"") or BSDPH [Irina VESHTARD]
Belarusian Social Democratic Party (People's Assembly) [Nikolay STATKEVICH] (unregistered)
Christian Conservative Party or BPF [Zyanon PAZNYAK]
United Civic Party or UCP [Anatoliy LEBEDKO]
"
Political pressure groups and leadersEmployers' Confederation of Latvia [Vitalijs GAVRILOVS]
Farmers' Parliament [Juris LAZDINS]
Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia [Egils BALDZENS]
"Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs [Sergey MATSKEVICH] (unregistered)
Belarusian Association of Journalists [Andrei BASTUNETS]
Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions [Aleksandr YAROSHUK]
Belarusian Helsinki Committee [Aleh HULAK]
For Freedom Movement [Yuri GUBAREVICH]
Malady Front (Young Front) [Zmitser DASHKEVICH] (unregistered)
Vyasna (Spring) human rights center [Ales BELYATSKIY] (unregistered)
Perspektiva [Anatoliy SHUMCHENKO] (small business association)
""Tell the Truth"" Movement [Tatsiana KARATKEVICH] (unregistered)
Women's Independent Democratic Movement [Ludmila PETINA]
"
International organization participationAustralia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CD, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA (cooperating state), EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CEI, CIS, CSTO, EAEC, EAEU, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, NSG, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, SCO (dialogue member), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer), ZC
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Andris TEIKMANIS (since 16 September 2016)
chancery: 2306 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 328-2840
FAX: [1] (202) 328-2860
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant; recalled by Belarus in 2008); Charge d'Affaires Pavel SHIDLOVSKIY (since 23 April 2014)
chancery: 1619 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 986-1606
FAX: [1] (202) 986-1805
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Nancy Bikoff PETTIT (since 8 September 2015)
embassy: 1 Samnera Velsa St, Riga LV-1510
mailing address: Embassy of the United States of America, 1 Samnera Velsa St, Riga, LV-1510, Latvia
telephone: [371] 6710-7000
FAX: [371] 6710-7050
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant; left in 2008 upon insistence of Belarusian Government); Charge d'Affaires Robert RILEY (since 22 August 2016)
embassy: 46 Starovilenskaya Street, Minsk 220002
mailing address: Unit 7010 Box 100, DPO AE 09769
telephone: [375] (17) 210-12-83
FAX: [375] (17) 234-7853
Flag descriptionthree horizontal bands of maroon (top), white (half-width), and maroon; the flag is one of the older banners in the world; a medieval chronicle mentions a red standard with a white stripe being used by Latvian tribes in about 1280
red horizontal band (top) and green horizontal band one-half the width of the red band; a white vertical stripe on the hoist side bears Belarusian national ornamentation in red; the red band color recalls past struggles from oppression, the green band represents hope and the many forests of the country
National anthem"name: ""Dievs, sveti Latviju!"" (God Bless Latvia)
lyrics/music: Karlis BAUMANIS
note: adopted 1920, restored 1990; first performed in 1873 while Latvia was a part of Russia; banned during the Soviet occupation from 1940 to 1990
"
"name: ""My, Bielarusy"" (We Belarusians)
lyrics/music: Mikhas KLIMKOVICH and Uladzimir KARYZNA/Nester SAKALOUSKI
note: music adopted 1955, lyrics adopted 2002; after the fall of the Soviet Union, Belarus kept the music of its Soviet-era anthem but adopted new lyrics; also known as ""Dziarzauny himn Respubliki Bielarus"" (State Anthem of the Republic of Belarus)
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)white wagtail (bird); national colors: maroon, white
no clearly defined current national symbol, the mounted knight known as Pahonia (the Chaser) is the traditional Belarusian symbol; national colors: green, red, white
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Latvia
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Belarus
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years

Economy

LatviaBelarus
Economy - overviewLatvia is a small, open economy with exports contributing more than half of GDP. Due to its geographical location, transit services are highly-developed, along with timber and wood-processing, agriculture and food products, and manufacturing of machinery and electronics industries. Corruption continues to be an impediment to attracting foreign direct investment and Latvia's low birth rate and decreasing population are major challenges to its long-term economic vitality.

Latvia's economy experienced GDP growth of more than 10% per year during 2006-07, but entered a severe recession in 2008 as a result of an unsustainable current account deficit and large debt exposure amid the slowing world economy. Triggered by the collapse of the second largest bank, GDP plunged 18% in 2009. The economy has yet to return to pre-crisis levels in real terms despite strong growth, especially in the export sector. Continued gains in competitiveness and investment will be key to maintaining economic growth, especially in light of unfavorable demographic trends.

The IMF, EU, and other international donors provided substantial financial assistance to Latvia as part of an agreement to defend the currency's peg to the euro in exchange for the government's commitment to stringent austerity measures. The IMF/EU program successfully concluded in December 2011, although, the austerity measures have imposed large social costs. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable stakes in a few large enterprises, including 80% ownership of the Latvian national airline. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February 1999 and the EU in May 2004. Latvia also joined the euro zone in 2014 and the OECD in 2016.
As part of the former Soviet Union, Belarus had a relatively well-developed, though aging industrial base; it retained this industrial base - which is now outdated, energy inefficient, and dependent on subsidized Russian energy and preferential access to Russian markets - following the breakup of the USSR. The country also has a broad agricultural base which is largely inefficient and dependent on government subsidies. After an initial burst of capitalist reform from 1991-94, including privatization of smaller state enterprises and some service sector businesses, creation of institutions of private property, and development of entrepreneurship, Belarus' economic development greatly slowed. About 80% of all industry remains in state hands, and foreign investment has been hindered by a reluctance to welcome private investment absent joint ownership or affiliation with the state. A few businesses, which had been privatized after independence, were renationalized. State banks account for 75% of the banking sector.

Economic output, which had declined for several years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, revived in the mid-2000s due to the boom in oil prices. Belarus has only small reserves of crude oil, though it imports most of its crude oil and natural gas from Russia at prices substantially below world market prices. Belarus then derives export revenue by refining Russian crude and selling it at market prices. In late 2006, Russia began a process of rolling back its subsidies on oil and gas exports to Belarus. Several times since, Russia and Belarus have had serious disagreements over the level and price of Russian energy supplies. At one point in 2010, Russia stopped the export of all subsidized oil to Belarus save for domestic needs before the two countries reached a deal to restart the export of discounted oil to Belarus. Beginning in early 2016, Russia claims Belarus began accumulating debt – reaching $740 million by April 2017 – for paying below an agreed price for Russian natural gas. Russia decided to reduce its export of crude oil as a result of the debt. In April 2017, Belarus agreed to pay its gas debt and Russia restored the flow of crude.

Little new non-Russian foreign investment has occurred in recent years. In 2011, a financial crisis began, triggered by government-directed salary hikes, compounded by an increased cost in Russian energy inputs and an overvalued Belarusian ruble that lead to a nearly three-fold devaluation of the Belarusian ruble. In November 2011, Belarus agreed to sell to Russia its remaining shares of Beltransgaz, the Belarusian natural gas pipeline operator, in exchange for reduced prices for Russian natural gas. The situation stabilized in 2012, after Belarus received part of a $3 billion loan from the Russian-dominated Eurasian Economic Community Bail-out Fund, a $1 billion loan from the Russian state-owned bank Sberbank, and $2.5 billion from the sale of Beltransgaz to Russian state-owned Gazprom; nevertheless, the Belarusian currency lost more than 60% of its value, as inflation reached new highs in 2011 and 2012, before calming in 2013. In December 2013, Russia announced a new loan for Belarus of up to $2 billion for 2014. Notwithstanding foreign assistance, the Belarusian economy continued to struggle under the weight of high external debt servicing payments and trade deficit. In mid-December 2014, structural economic shortcomings were aggravated by the devaluation of the Russian ruble, which triggered a near 40% devaluation of the Belarusian ruble.

Belarus entered 2016 with a contracting economy and minimal hard currency reserves. Since 2012, Belarus’s economy has suffered stagnation, which has led to widening productivity and income gaps between Belarus and neighboring countries. Since 2015, the Belarusian government has tightened its monetary policies (including allowing a more flexible exchange rate regime) and reduced subsidized government lending to state-owned industrial and agricultural enterprises, amid a drop in state budget revenues owing to falling global prices on key Belarusian export commodities - petroleum products and potash fertilizer. In 2016, GDP and foreign trade fell and unemployment rose, while inflation declined and hard currency reserves increased.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$50.65 billion (2016 est.)
$49.61 billion (2015 est.)
$48.29 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$166 billion (2016 est.)
$170.5 billion (2015 est.)
$177.4 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate2.1% (2016 est.)
2.7% (2015 est.)
2% (2014 est.)
-2.6% (2016 est.)
-3.9% (2015 est.)
1.7% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$25,700 (2016 est.)
$25,000 (2015 est.)
$24,100 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$17,500 (2016 est.)
$17,900 (2015 est.)
$18,700 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 4.8%
industry: 24.4%
services: 70.8% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 9.2%
industry: 40.9%
services: 49.8% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line25.5% (2015)
5.7% (2016 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.2%
highest 10%: 26.3% (2015)
lowest 10%: 3.8%
highest 10%: 21.9% (2008)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)0.1% (2016 est.)
0.2% (2015 est.)
14% (2016 est.)
13.6% (2015 est.)
Labor force957,100 (2016 est.)
4.381 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 7.7%
industry: 24.1%
services: 68.1% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 9.7%
industry: 23.4%
services: 66.8% (2015 est.)
Unemployment rate9.6% (2016 est.)
9.9% (2015 est.)
0.8% (2016 est.)
1% (2015 est.)
note: official registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers
Distribution of family income - Gini index34.5 (2015)
35.4 (2014)
26.5 (2011)
21.7 (1998)
Budgetrevenues: $9.766 billion
expenditures: $10.11 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $21.21 billion
expenditures: $20.92 billion (2016 est.)
Industriesprocessed foods, processed wood products, textiles, processed metals, pharmaceuticals, railroad cars, synthetic fibers, electronics
metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, , synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, , refrigerators, washing machines and other household appliances
Industrial production growth rate4.9% (2016 est.)
-0.4% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productsgrain, rapeseed, potatoes, vegetables; pork, poultry, milk, eggs; fish
grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk
Exports$11.22 billion (2016 est.)
$11.4 billion (2015 est.)
$22.65 billion (2016 est.)
$26.19 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesfoodstuffs, wood and wood products, metals, machinery and equipment, textiles
machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partnersLithuania 17.8%, Russia 11.4%, Estonia 11.1%, Germany 6.3%, Poland 5.6%, Sweden 5.1%, UK 5%, Denmark 4% (2015)
Russia 39.1%, UK 11.1%, Ukraine 9.5%, Netherlands 4.3%, Germany 4.1% (2015)
Imports$13.6 billion (2016 est.)
$13.74 billion (2015 est.)
$25.44 billion (2016 est.)
$28.33 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, fuels, vehicles
mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals
Imports - partnersLithuania 16.9%, Germany 11.3%, Poland 10.5%, Russia 8.2%, Estonia 7.8%, Finland 5.2%, Netherlands 4% (2015)
Russia 56.6%, China 7.9%, Germany 4.6% (2015)
Debt - external$40.02 billion (31 March 2016 est.)
$38.19 billion (31 March 2015 est.)
$34.75 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$34.85 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange rateslati (LVL) per US dollar -
0.9129 (2016 est.)
0.9012 (2015 est.)
0.9012 (2014 est.)
0.7525 (2013 est.)
0.55 (2012 est.)
Belarusian rubles (BYB/BYR) per US dollar -
18,500 (2016 est.)
15,926 (2015 est.)
15,926 (2014 est.)
10,224.1 (2013 est.)
8,336.9 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt38.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
36.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities, including sub-sectors of central government, state government, local government, and social security funds
60.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
48.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$7.507 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$7.893 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$4.206 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.176 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance$409 million (2016 est.)
-$210 million (2015 est.)
-$2.118 billion (2016 est.)
-$2.037 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$25.02 billion (2016 est.)
$48.13 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$16.41 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$15.71 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$6.929 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.241 billion (31 December 2015)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$2.651 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.391 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$3.547 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.649 billion (31 December 2015)
Market value of publicly traded shares$6.76 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.799 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$7.127 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$NA
Central bank discount rate0% (31 December 2016 est.)
0.05% (31 December 2015 est.)
14% (19 April 2017)
15% (15 March 2017)
Commercial bank prime lending rate4.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
4.5% (31 December 2015 est.)
18% (31 December 2016 est.)
18.08% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$16.03 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$15.39 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$24.09 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$22.23 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$11.66 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$10.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$2.232 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.301 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$13.76 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$12.53 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$5.651 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$7.608 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Taxes and other revenues34.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
44.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
0.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 19.6%
male: 19.4%
female: 20% (2014 est.)
total: 12.5%
male: 12.4%
female: 12.6% (2009 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 62%
government consumption: 17.5%
investment in fixed capital: 18.3%
investment in inventories: 1.6%
exports of goods and services: 58%
imports of goods and services: -57.4% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 54.6%
government consumption: 15.8%
investment in fixed capital: 30.1%
investment in inventories: 2.6%
exports of goods and services: 57.2%
imports of goods and services: -60.3% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving19.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
20.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
21.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
21.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
30.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
28.5% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

LatviaBelarus
Electricity - production5 billion kWh (2014 est.)
34.08 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - consumption6.8 billion kWh (2014 est.)
36.7 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - exports3 billion kWh (2014 est.)
194 million kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - imports5.3 billion kWh (2014 est.)
2.816 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Oil - production0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
32,710 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - imports60 bbl/day (2013 est.)
439,200 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports58.95 bbl/day (2013 est.)
31,810 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves0 bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
200 million bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves0 cu m (1 January 2016)
2.832 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production0 cu m (2014 est.)
0 cu m (2016 est.)
Natural gas - consumption963 million cu m (2014 est.)
20.08 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2014 est.)
0 cu m (2016 est.)
Natural gas - imports963 million cu m (2014 est.)
20.05 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity3 million kW (2014 est.)
9.2 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels26.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
99.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants70.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources3.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
444,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption35,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
170,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports15,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
284,200 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports49,220 bbl/day (2013 est.)
1,334 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy7.6 million Mt (2013 est.)
70 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesselectrification - total population: 100% (2016)
electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Telecommunications

LatviaBelarus
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 395,602
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 20 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 4,540,678
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 47 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 2.579 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 130 (July 2015 est.)
total: 11.448 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 119 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: recent efforts focused on bringing competition to the telecommunications sector; the number of fixed lines is decreasing as mobile-cellular telephone service expands
domestic: number of telecommunications operators has grown rapidly since the fixed-line market opened to competition in 2003; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership roughly 150 per 100 persons
international: country code - 371; the Latvian network is now connected via fiber-optic cable to Estonia, Finland, and Sweden (2015)
general assessment: Belarus lags behind its neighbors in upgrading telecommunications infrastructure; modernization of the network progressing with over two-thirds of switching equipment now digital
domestic: state-owned Beltelcom is the sole provider of fixed-line local and long distance service; fixed-line teledensity is improving although rural areas continue to be underserved; the country has 3 major GSM mobile-cellular networks; mobile-cellular teledensity now approaches 120 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 375; Belarus is a member of the Trans-European Line (TEL), Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic line, and has access to the Trans-Siberia Line (TSL); 3 fiber-optic segments provide connectivity to Latvia, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine; worldwide service is available to Belarus through this infrastructure; additional analog lines to Russia; Intelsat, Eutelsat, and Intersputnik earth stations (2017)
Internet country code.lv
.by
Internet userstotal: 1.573 million
percent of population: 79.2% (July 2015 est.)
total: 5.968 million
percent of population: 62.2% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediaseveral national and regional commercial TV stations are foreign-owned, 2 national TV stations are publicly owned; system supplemented by privately owned regional and local TV stations; cable and satellite multi-channel TV services with domestic and foreign broadcasts available; publicly owned broadcaster operates 4 radio networks with dozens of stations throughout the country; dozens of private broadcasters also operate radio stations (2007)
7 state-controlled national TV channels; Polish and Russian TV broadcasts are available in some areas; state-run Belarusian Radio operates 5 national networks and an external service; Russian and Polish radio broadcasts are available (2017)

Transportation

LatviaBelarus
Railwaystotal: 2,239 km
broad gauge: 2,206 km 1.520-m gauge
narrow gauge: 33 km 0.750-m gauge (2008)
total: 5,528 km
broad gauge: 5,503 km 1.520-m gauge (874 km electrified)
standard gauge: 25 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
Roadwaystotal: 72,440 km
paved: 14,707 km
unpaved: 57,733 km (2013)
total: 86,392 km
paved: 74,651 km
unpaved: 11,741 km (2010)
Waterways300 km (navigable year round) (2010)
2,500 km (major rivers are the west-flowing Western Dvina and Neman rivers and the south-flowing Dnepr River and its tributaries, the Berezina, Sozh, and Pripyat rivers) (2011)
Pipelinesgas 928 km; refined products 415 km (2013)
gas 5,386 km; oil 1,589 km; refined products 1,730 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Riga, Ventspils
river port(s): Mazyr (Prypyats')
Airports42 (2013)
65 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 18
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 7 (2013)
total: 33
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 20
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 7 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 24
under 914 m: 24 (2013)
total: 32
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 28 (2013)
Heliports1 (2013)
1 (2013)

Military

LatviaBelarus
Military branchesNational Armed Forces (Nacionalie Brunotie Speki): Land Forces (Latvijas Sauszemes Speki), Navy (Latvijas Juras Speki, includes Coast Guard (Latvijas Kara Flote)), Latvian Air Force (Latvijas Gaisa Speki), Latvian Home Guard (Latvijas Zemessardze) (2017)
Belarus Armed Forces: Land Force, Air and Air Defense Force, Special Operations Force (2013)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; no conscription; under current law, every citizen is entitled to serve in the armed forces for life (2016)
18-27 years of age for compulsory military or alternative service; conscript service obligation is 12-18 months, depending on academic qualifications, and 24-36 months for alternative service, depending on academic qualifications; 17 year olds are eligible to become cadets at military higher education institutes, where they are classified as military personnel (2016)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP1.7% of GDP (2016)
1.45% of GDP (2016)
1.04% of GDP (2015)
0.94% of GDP (2014)
0.93% of GDP (2013)
1.2% of GDP (2016)
1.33% of GDP (2015)
1.33% of GDP (2014)
1.33% of GDP (2013)
1.28% of GDP (2012)

Transnational Issues

LatviaBelarus
Disputes - internationalRussia demands better Latvian treatment of ethnic Russians in Latvia; boundary demarcated with Latvia and Lithuania; the Latvian parliament has not ratified its 1998 maritime boundary treaty with Lithuania, primarily due to concerns over oil exploration rights; as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Latvia has implemented the strict Schengen border rules with Russia
boundary demarcated with Latvia and Lithuania; as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Poland has implemented strict Schengen border rules to restrict illegal immigration and trade along its border with Belarus
Illicit drugstransshipment and destination point for cocaine, synthetic drugs, opiates, and cannabis from Southwest Asia, Western Europe, Latin America, and neighboring Baltic countries; despite improved legislation, vulnerable to money laundering due to nascent enforcement capabilities and comparatively weak regulation of offshore companies and the gaming industry; CIS organized crime (including counterfeiting, corruption, extortion, stolen cars, and prostitution) accounts for most laundered proceeds
limited cultivation of opium poppy and cannabis, mostly for the domestic market; transshipment point for illicit drugs to and via Russia, and to the Baltics and Western Europe; a small and lightly regulated financial center; anti-money-laundering legislation does not meet international standards and was weakened further when know-your-customer requirements were curtailed in 2008; few investigations or prosecutions of money-laundering activities (2008)
Refugees and internally displaced personsstateless persons: 242,736 (2016); note - individuals who were Latvian citizens prior to the 1940 Soviet occupation and their descendants were recognized as Latvian citizens when the country's independence was restored in 1991; citizens of the former Soviet Union residing in Latvia who have neither Latvian nor other citizenship are considered non-citizens (officially there is no statelessness in Latvia) and are entitled to non-citizen passports; children born after Latvian independence to stateless parents are entitled to Latvian citizenship upon their parents' request; non-citizens cannot vote or hold certain government jobs and are exempt from military service but can travel visa-free in the EU under the Schengen accord like Latvian citizens; non-citizens can obtain naturalization if they have been permanent residents of Latvia for at least five years, pass tests in Latvian language and history, and know the words of the Latvian national anthem
refugees (country of origin): 126,407 applicants for forms of legal stay other than asylum (Ukraine) (2015)
stateless persons: 6,182 (2016)

Source: CIA Factbook