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Poland vs. Belarus

Introduction

PolandBelarus
Background"Poland's history as a state began near the middle of the 10th century. By the mid-16th century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ruled a vast tract of land in Central and Eastern Europe. During the 18th century, internal disorders weakened the nation, and in a series of agreements between 1772 and 1795, Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland among themselves. Poland regained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. It became a Soviet satellite state following the war, but its government was comparatively tolerant and progressive. Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union ""Solidarity"" that over time became a political force with over 10 million members. Free elections in 1989 and 1990 won Solidarity control of the parliament and the presidency, bringing the communist era to a close. A ""shock therapy"" program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented country largely completed and with large investments in defense, energy, and other infrastructure, Poland is an increasingly active member of Euro-Atlantic organizations.
"
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

PolandBelarus
LocationCentral Europe, east of Germany
Eastern Europe, east of Poland
Geographic coordinates52 00 N, 20 00 E
53 00 N, 28 00 E
Map referencesEurope
Europe
Areatotal: 312,685 sq km
land: 304,255 sq km
water: 8,430 sq km
total: 207,600 sq km
land: 202,900 sq km
water: 4,700 sq km
Area - comparativeabout twice the size of Georgia; slightly smaller than New Mexico
slightly less than twice the size of Kentucky; slightly smaller than Kansas
Land boundariestotal: 3,071 km
border countries (7): Belarus 418 km, Czech Republic 796 km, Germany 467 km, Lithuania 104 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 210 km, Slovakia 541 km, Ukraine 535 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
Coastline440 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: defined by international treaties
none (landlocked)
Climatetemperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation; mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers
cold winters, cool and moist summers; transitional between continental and maritime
Terrainmostly flat plain; mountains along southern border
generally flat with much marshland
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 173 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: near Raczki Elblaskie -2 m
highest point: Rysy 2,499 m
mean elevation: 160 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Nyoman River 90 m
highest point: Dzyarzhynskaya Hara 346 m
Natural resourcescoal, sulfur, copper, natural gas, silver, lead, salt, amber, arable land
timber, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, clay
Land useagricultural land: 48.2%
arable land 36.2%; permanent crops 1.3%; permanent pasture 10.7%
forest: 30.6%
other: 21.2% (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 land970 sq km (2012)
1,140 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsflooding
large tracts of marshy land
Environment - current issuesdecreased emphasis on heavy industry and increased environmental concern by post-communist governments has improved environment; air pollution remains serious because of emissions from coal-fired power plants and the resulting acid rain has caused forest damage; water pollution from industrial and municipal sources is also a problem, as is disposal of hazardous wastes
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, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, 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: Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94
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 - notehistorically, an area of conflict because of flat terrain and the lack of natural barriers on the North European Plain
landlocked; glacial scouring accounts for the flatness of Belarusian terrain and for its 11,000 lakes
Population distributionpopulation concentrated in the southern (Krakow) and central (Warsaw, Lodz) areas, with an extension to the northern coastal city of Gdansk
a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations

Demographics

PolandBelarus
Population38,523,261 (July 2016 est.)
9,570,376 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 14.72% (male 2,915,840/female 2,754,098)
15-24 years: 11.11% (male 2,195,587/female 2,082,634)
25-54 years: 43.5% (male 8,456,789/female 8,301,167)
55-64 years: 14.42% (male 2,623,838/female 2,931,215)
65 years and over: 16.26% (male 2,460,648/female 3,801,445) (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: 40.3 years
male: 38.6 years
female: 42 years (2016 est.)
total: 39.8 years
male: 36.8 years
female: 42.9 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate-0.11% (2016 est.)
-0.21% (2016 est.)
Birth rate9.6 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
10.5 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate10.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
13.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
0.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 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: 4.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4 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: 77.6 years
male: 73.7 years
female: 81.7 years (2016 est.)
total population: 72.7 years
male: 67.2 years
female: 78.6 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate1.34 children born/woman (2016 est.)
1.48 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.07% (2014 est.)
0.64% (2015 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Pole(s)
adjective: Polish
noun: Belarusian(s)
adjective: Belarusian
Ethnic groupsPolish 96.9%, Silesian 1.1%, German 0.2%, Ukrainian 0.1%, other and unspecified 1.7%
note: represents ethnicity declared first (2011 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/AIDSNA
35,200 (2015 est.)
ReligionsCatholic 87.2% (includes Roman Catholic 86.9% and Greek Catholic, Armenian Catholic, and Byzantine-Slavic Catholic .3%), Orthodox 1.3% (almost all are Polish Autocephalous Orthodox), Protestant 0.4% (mainly Augsburg Evangelical and Pentacostal), other 0.4% (includes Jehovah's Witness, Buddhist, Hare Krishna, Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Muslim, Jewish, Mormon), unspecified 10.8% (2012 est.)
Orthodox 48.3%, Catholic 7.1%, other 3.5%, non-believers 41.1% (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
1,000 (2015 est.)
LanguagesPolish (official) 98.2%, Silesian 1.4%, other 1.1%, unspecified 1.3%
note: data represents the language spoken at home; shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census; Poland ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in 2009 recognizing Kashub as a regional language, Czech, Hebrew, Yiddish, Belarusian, Lithuanian, German, Armenian, Russian, Slovak, and Ukrainian as national minority languages, and Karaim, Lemko, Romani (Polska Roma and Bergitka Roma), and Tatar as ethnic minority languages (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: 99.8%
male: 99.9%
female: 99.7% (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 (2013)
total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2015)
Education expenditures4.9% of GDP (2013)
4.9% of GDP (2015)
Urbanizationurban population: 60.5% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: -0.1% 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: 99.3% of population
rural: 96.9% of population
total: 98.3% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0.7% of population
rural: 3.1% of population
total: 1.7% 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: 97.5% of population
rural: 96.7% of population
total: 97.2% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2.5% of population
rural: 3.3% of population
total: 2.8% 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 - populationWARSAW (capital) 1.722 million; Krakow 760,000 (2015)
MINSK (capital) 1.915 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate3 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
4 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Health expenditures6.4% of GDP (2014)
5.7% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density2.27 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
4.07 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density6.5 beds/1,000 population (2011)
11.3 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate27% (2014)
25.2% (2014)
Mother's mean age at first birth27.2 years (2013 est.)
25.4 years (2013 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 43.8
youth dependency ratio: 21.5
elderly dependency ratio: 22.3
potential support ratio: 4.5 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 43
youth dependency ratio: 23
elderly dependency ratio: 20
potential support ratio: 5 (2015 est.)

Government

PolandBelarus
Country name"conventional long form: Republic of Poland
conventional short form: Poland
local long form: Rzeczpospolita Polska
local short form: Polska
etymology: name derives from the Polanians, a west Slavic tribe that united several surrounding Slavic groups (9th-10th centuries A.D.) and who passed on their name to the country; the name of the tribe likely comes from the Slavic ""pole"" (field or plain), indicating the flat nature of their country
"
"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: Warsaw
geographic coordinates: 52 15 N, 21 00 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 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 divisions16 provinces (wojewodztwa, singular - wojewodztwo); Dolnoslaskie (Lower Silesia), Kujawsko-Pomorskie (Kuyavia-Pomerania), Lodzkie (Lodz), Lubelskie (Lublin), Lubuskie (Lubusz), Malopolskie (Lesser Poland), Mazowieckie (Masovia), Opolskie (Opole), Podkarpackie (Subcarpathia), Podlaskie, Pomorskie (Pomerania), Slaskie (Silesia), Swietokrzyskie (Holy Cross), Warminsko-Mazurskie (Warmia-Masuria), Wielkopolskie (Greater Poland), Zachodniopomorskie (West Pomerania)
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
Independence11 November 1918 (republic proclaimed); notable earlier dates: 966 (adoption of Christianity, traditional founding date), 1 July 1569 (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth created)
25 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
National holidayConstitution Day, 3 May (1791)
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; latest adopted 2 April 1997, approved by referendum 25 May 1997, effective 17 October 1997
amendments: proposed by at least one-fifth of Sejm deputies, by the Senate, or by the president of the republic; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote in the Sejm and absolute majority vote in the Senate; amendments to articles relating to sovereignty, personal freedoms, and constitutional amendment procedures also require passage by majority vote in a referendum; amended 2006, 2009, 2015 (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; judicial review of legislative, administrative, and other governmental acts; constitutional law rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal are final
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 Andrzej DUDA (since 6 August 2015)
head of government: Prime Minister Beata SZYDLO (since 16 November 2015); Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage Piotr GLINSKI (since 16 November 2015), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and Higher Education Jaroslaw GOWIN (since 16 November 2015), and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Mateusz MORAWIECKI (since 16 November 2015)
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, appointed by the president, and approved by the Sejm
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 10 and 24 May 2015 (next to be held in 2020); prime minister, deputy prime ministers, and Council of Ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the Sejm
election results: Andrzej DUDA elected president; percent of vote in runoff - Andrzej DUDA 51.5%, Bronislaw KOMOROWSKI (independent) 48.5%
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: bicameral legislature consists of the Senate or Senat (100 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms) and the Sejm (460 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms); note - the designation National Assembly or Zgromadzenie Narodowe is only used on those rare occasions when the two houses meet jointly
note: the German minority is exempt from the 5% threshold requirement for seats to the Sejm
elections: Senate - last held on 25 October 2015 (next to be held in October 2019); Sejm - last held on 25 October 2015 (next to be held in October 2019)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PiS 62, PO 33, PSL 1, independents 4; Sejm - percent of vote by party - PiS 37.6%, PO 24.1%, K15 8.8%, N 7.6%, PSL 5.1% other 16.8%; seats by party - PiS 234, PO 138, K15 40, N 29, PSL 16, independent 2, German minority 1
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 or Sad Najwyzszy (consists of the president of the Supreme Court and 116 judges organized in criminal, civil, labor and social insurance, and military chambers)
judge selection and term of office: president of the Supreme Court nominated by the General Assembly of the Supreme Court and selected by the president of Poland; other judges nominated by the 25-member National Judiciary Council, and appointed by the president of Poland; judges appointed until retirement, usually at age 65, but tenure can be extended
subordinate courts: Constitutional Tribunal; State Tribunal, administrative courts; regional and appellate courts subdivided into military, civil, criminal, labor, and family 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"Civic Platform or PO [Grzegorz SCHETYNA, chairperson; Slawomir NEUMANN, parliamentary caucus leader]
Coalition for the Renewal of the Republic-Liberty and Hope or KORWiN [Janusz KORWIN-MIKKE, chairman]
Democratic Left Alliance or SLD [Wlodzimierz CZARZASTY, chairman]
German Minority of Lower Silesia or MNSO [Ryszard GALLA, representative]
Kukiz 15 [Pawel KUKIZ; chairman, parliamentary caucus leader]
Law and Justice or PiS [Jaroslaw KACZYNSKI, chairman; Ryszard TERLECKI, parliamentary caucus leader]
Nowoczesna (""Modern"") or N [Ryszard PETRU; chairman, parliamentary caucus leader]
Polish People's Party or PSL [Wladyslaw KOSINIAK-KAMYSZ; chairman, parliamentary caucus leader]
Razem (Together) [no party chair, led by nine-member management board]
"
"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 leaders"All Poland Trade Union Alliance or OPZZ [Jan GUZ] (trade union)
Independent Self-Governing Trade Union ""Solidarity"" [Piotr DUDA]
Roman Catholic Church [Archbishop Wojciech POLAK, Archbishop Stanislaw GADECKI]
"
"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 participationArctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CD, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, ESA, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
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 Piotr WILCZEK (since October 2016)
chancery: 2640 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 499-1700
FAX: [1] (202) 328-6271
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York
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 Paul JONES (since 7 October 2015)
embassy: Aleje Ujazdowskie 29/31 00-540 Warsaw
mailing address: American Embassy Warsaw, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-5010 (pouch)
telephone: [48] (22) 504-2000
FAX: [48] (22) 504-2688
consulate(s) general: Krakow
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 descriptiontwo equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; colors derive from the Polish emblem - a white eagle on a red field
note: similar to the flags of Indonesia and Monaco which are red (top) and white
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: ""Mazurek Dabrowskiego"" (Dabrowski's Mazurka)
lyrics/music: Jozef WYBICKI/traditional
note: adopted 1927; the anthem, commonly known as ""Jeszcze Polska nie zginela"" (Poland Has Not Yet Perished), was written in 1797; the lyrics resonate strongly with Poles because they reflect the numerous occasions in which the nation's lands have been occupied
"
"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 participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)white eagle; national colors: white, red
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: both parents must be citizens of Poland
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

PolandBelarus
Economy - overviewPoland has the sixth-largest economy in the EU and has long had a reputation as a business-friendly country with largely sound macroeconomic policies. Since 1990, Poland has pursued a policy of economic liberalization. During the 2008-09 economic slowdown Poland was the only EU country to avoid a recession, in part because of the government’s loose fiscal policy combined with a commitment to rein in spending in the medium-term. However, since 2015 Warsaw’s prioritization of spending on social welfare programs has prompted investors to decrease Poland’s economic growth projections for the next few years.

The Polish economy performed well during 2014-16, with the real GDP growth rate exceeding 3%, in part because of the government’s fiscal prudence. Poland’s economic growth in 2017 is projected by some credit rating agencies to slow, however, because of Poland’s government’s increase in social spending since 2015, including the provision of cash transfers for low income families, families with more than one child, and the reduction of the retirement age which will take effect in October 2017. The government has tried to introduce new taxes and boost tax compliance to offset the costs of the social spending programs and relieve upward pressure on the budget deficit. Some credit ratings agencies estimate that Poland will exceed the EU’s 3%-of-GDP limit on budget deficits, possibly impacting its access to future EU funds.

Poland faces several systemic challenges, which include addressing some of the remaining deficiencies in its road and rail infrastructure, business environment, rigid labor code, commercial court system, government red tape, and burdensome tax system, especially for entrepreneurs. Additional long-term challenges include diversifying Poland’s energy mix, strengthening investments in innovation, research, and development, as well as stemming the outflow of educated young Poles to other EU member states, especially in light of a coming demographic contraction due to emigration, persistently low fertility rates, and the aging of the Solidarity-era baby boom generation.
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)$1.052 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.02 trillion (2015 est.)
$984.4 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 rate3.1% (2016 est.)
3.7% (2015 est.)
3.3% (2014 est.)
-2.6% (2016 est.)
-3.9% (2015 est.)
1.7% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$27,700 (2016 est.)
$26,800 (2015 est.)
$25,900 (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: 2.7%
industry: 38.5%
services: 58.9% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 9.2%
industry: 40.9%
services: 49.8% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line17.6% (2015 est.)
5.7% (2016 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 23.9% (2015 est.)
lowest 10%: 3.8%
highest 10%: 21.9% (2008)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)-0.8% (2016 est.)
-1% (2015 est.)
14% (2016 est.)
13.6% (2015 est.)
Labor force17.78 million (2016 est.)
4.381 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 11.5%
industry: 30.4%
services: 57.6% (2015)
agriculture: 9.7%
industry: 23.4%
services: 66.8% (2015 est.)
Unemployment rate9.6% (2016 est.)
10.5% (2015 est.)
0.8% (2016 est.)
1% (2015 est.)
note: official registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers
Distribution of family income - Gini index30.8 (2015)
33.7 (2008)
26.5 (2011)
21.7 (1998)
Budgetrevenues: $73.4 billion
expenditures: $86.56 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $21.21 billion
expenditures: $20.92 billion (2016 est.)
Industriesmachine building, iron and steel, coal mining, chemicals, shipbuilding, food processing, glass, beverages, textiles
metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, , synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, , refrigerators, washing machines and other household appliances
Industrial production growth rate4.2% (2016 est.)
-0.4% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productspotatoes, fruits, vegetables, wheat; poultry, eggs, pork, dairy
grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk
Exports$188.3 billion (2016 est.)
$190.8 billion (2015 est.)
$22.65 billion (2016 est.)
$26.19 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesmachinery and transport equipment 37.8%, intermediate manufactured goods 23.7%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 17.1%, food and live animals 7.6% (2012 est.)
machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partnersGermany 27.1%, UK 6.8%, Czech Republic 6.6%, France 5.5%, Italy 4.8%, Netherlands 4.4% (2015)
Russia 39.1%, UK 11.1%, Ukraine 9.5%, Netherlands 4.3%, Germany 4.1% (2015)
Imports$189.5 billion (2016 est.)
$188.4 billion (2015 est.)
$25.44 billion (2016 est.)
$28.33 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and transport equipment 38%, intermediate manufactured goods 21%, chemicals 15%, minerals, fuels, lubricants, and related materials 9% (2011 est.)
mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals
Imports - partnersGermany 27.6%, China 7.5%, Russia 7.2%, Netherlands 5.9%, Italy 5.2%, France 4.1% (2015)
Russia 56.6%, China 7.9%, Germany 4.6% (2015)
Debt - external$344.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$332.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$34.75 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$34.85 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange rateszlotych (PLN) per US dollar -
4.056 (2016 est.)
3.7721 (2015 est.)
3.7721 (2014 est.)
3.1538 (2013 est.)
3.26 (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 debt44.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
45% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities, the data include subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions
60.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
48.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$90.21 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$94.91 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$4.206 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.176 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$1.395 billion (2016 est.)
-$2.932 billion (2015 est.)
-$2.118 billion (2016 est.)
-$2.037 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$467.4 billion (2016 est.)
$48.13 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$228.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$221.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$6.929 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.241 billion (31 December 2015)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$64.62 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$62.12 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$3.547 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.649 billion (31 December 2015)
Market value of publicly traded shares$261.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$277.4 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$351.7 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$NA
Central bank discount rate1.5% (31 December 2016)
2% (31 December 2015)
14% (19 April 2017)
15% (15 March 2017)
Commercial bank prime lending rate5.1% (31 December 2016 est.)
4.92% (31 December 2015 est.)
18% (31 December 2016 est.)
18.08% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$344.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$337.4 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$24.09 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$22.23 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$186.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$177.4 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$2.232 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.301 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$306.7 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$318.8 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$5.651 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$7.608 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Taxes and other revenues15.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
44.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
0.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 23.9%
male: 22.7%
female: 25.5% (2014 est.)
total: 12.5%
male: 12.4%
female: 12.6% (2009 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 57.4%
government consumption: 17.8%
investment in fixed capital: 19.8%
investment in inventories: 0.8%
exports of goods and services: 50.5%
imports of goods and services: -46.3% (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 saving20.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
20.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
18.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
21.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
30.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
28.5% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

PolandBelarus
Electricity - production150 billion kWh (2014 est.)
34.08 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - consumption142 billion kWh (2014 est.)
36.7 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - exports11 billion kWh (2014)
194 million kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - imports14 billion kWh (2014 est.)
2.816 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Oil - production17,140 bbl/day (2015 est.)
32,710 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - imports532,300 bbl/day (2015 est.)
439,200 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports4,761 bbl/day (2015 est.)
31,810 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves100 million bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
200 million bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves81.66 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
2.832 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production3.954 billion cu m (2015 est.)
0 cu m (2016 est.)
Natural gas - consumption14.79 billion cu m (2015 est.)
20.08 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports76 million cu m (2014 est.)
0 cu m (2016 est.)
Natural gas - imports11.82 billion cu m (2014 est.)
20.05 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity40.34 million kW (2015 est.)
9.2 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels87.1% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
99.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants1.7% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
0.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources11.1% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
0.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production568,200 bbl/day (2015 est.)
444,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption536,700 bbl/day (2015 est.)
170,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports160,100 bbl/day (2015 est.)
284,200 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports128,800 bbl/day (2015 est.)
1,334 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy296 million Mt (2015 est.)
70 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesselectrification - total population: 100% (2016)
electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Telecommunications

PolandBelarus
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 4.245 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 11 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 4,540,678
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 47 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 56.838 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 147 (July 2015 est.)
total: 11.448 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 119 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: modernization of the telecommunications network has accelerated with market-based competition; fixed-line service, dominated by the former state-owned company, is dwarfed by the growth in mobile-cellular services
domestic: several nation-wide networks provide mobile-cellular service; coverage is generally good; fixed-line service lags in rural areas
international: country code - 48; international direct dialing with automated exchanges; satellite earth station - 1 with access to Intelsat, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, and Intersputnik (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.pl
.by
Internet userstotal: 26.221 million
percent of population: 68% (July 2015 est.)
total: 5.968 million
percent of population: 62.2% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediastate-run public TV operates 2 national channels supplemented by 16 regional channels and several niche channels; privately owned entities operate several national TV networks and a number of special interest channels; many privately owned channels broadcasting locally; roughly half of all households are linked to either satellite or cable TV systems providing access to foreign television networks; state-run public radio operates 5 national networks and 17 regional radio stations; 2 privately owned national radio networks, several commercial stations broadcasting to multiple cities, and many privately owned local 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

PolandBelarus
Railwaystotal: 19,231 km
broad gauge: 395 km 1.524-m gauge
standard gauge: 18,836 km 1.435-m gauge (11,865 km electrified) (2015)
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: 417,026 km
paved: 287,650 km (includes 1,492 km of expressways)
unpaved: 129,376 km (2014)
total: 86,392 km
paved: 74,651 km
unpaved: 11,741 km (2010)
Waterways3,997 km (navigable rivers and canals) (2009)
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 14,198 km; oil 1,374 km; refined products 777 km (2013)
gas 5,386 km; oil 1,589 km; refined products 1,730 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Gdansk, Gdynia, Swinoujscie
river port(s): Szczecin (River Oder)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Swinoujscie
river port(s): Mazyr (Prypyats')
Airports126 (2013)
65 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 87
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 30
1,524 to 2,437 m: 36
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 6 (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: 39
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 21 (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)
Heliports6 (2013)
1 (2013)

Military

PolandBelarus
Military branchesPolish Armed Forces: Land Forces, Navy, Air Force, Special Forces, Territorial Defense Force (2017)
note: Territorial Defense Force only began recruitment in winter 2016
Belarus Armed Forces: Land Force, Air and Air Defense Force, Special Operations Force (2013)
Military service age and obligation18-28 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription phased out in 2009-12; service obligation shortened from 12 to 9 months in 2005; women only allowed to serve as officers and noncommissioned officers (2013)
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 GDP2% of GDP (2016 est.)
2.23% of GDP (2015)
1.85% of GDP (2014)
1.72% of GDP (2013)
1.74% of GDP (2012)
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

PolandBelarus
Disputes - internationalas a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Poland has implemented the strict Schengen border rules to restrict illegal immigration and trade along its eastern borders with Belarus and Ukraine
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 drugsdespite diligent counternarcotics measures and international information sharing on cross-border crimes, a major illicit producer of synthetic drugs for the international market; minor transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and Latin American cocaine to Western Europe
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 personsrefugees (country of origin): 71,302 applicants for forms of legal stay other than asylum (Ukraine) (2015); 9,864 (Russia) (2016)
stateless persons: 10,825 (2016)
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