Lithuania vs. Belarus


BackgroundLithuanian lands were united under MINDAUGAS in 1236; over the next century, through alliances and conquest, Lithuania extended its territory to include most of present-day Belarus and Ukraine. By the end of the 14th century Lithuania was the largest state in Europe. An alliance with Poland in 1386 led the two countries into a union through the person of a common ruler. In 1569, Lithuania and Poland formally united into a single dual state, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This entity survived until 1795 when its remnants were partitioned by surrounding countries. Lithuania regained its independence following World War I but was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first of the Soviet republics to declare its independence, but Moscow did not recognize this proclamation until September of 1991 (following the abortive coup in Moscow). The last Russian troops withdrew in 1993. Lithuania subsequently restructured its economy for integration into Western European institutions; it joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004. In January 2014, Lithuania assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2014-15 term; in January 2015, Lithuania joined the euro zone.
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.


LocationEastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Latvia and Russia, west of Belarus
Eastern Europe, east of Poland
Geographic coordinates56 00 N, 24 00 E
53 00 N, 28 00 E
Map referencesEurope
Areatotal: 65,300 sq km
land: 62,680 sq km
water: 2,620 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: 1,549 km
border countries (4): Belarus 640 km, Latvia 544 km, Poland 104 km, Russia (Kaliningrad) 261 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
Coastline90 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
none (landlocked)
Climatetransitional, between maritime and continental; wet, moderate winters and summers
cold winters, cool and moist summers; transitional between continental and maritime
Terrainlowland, many scattered small lakes, fertile soil
generally flat with much marshland
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 110 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Aukstojas 294 m
mean elevation: 160 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Nyoman River 90 m
highest point: Dzyarzhynskaya Hara 346 m
Natural resourcespeat, arable land, amber
timber, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, clay
Land useagricultural land: 44.8%
arable land 34.9%; permanent crops 0.5%; permanent pasture 9.4%
forest: 34.6%
other: 20.6% (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 land44 sq km (2012)
1,140 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsNA
large tracts of marshy land
Environment - current issuescontamination of soil and groundwater with petroleum products and chemicals at military bases
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-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, 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 - notefertile central plains are separated by hilly uplands that are ancient glacial deposits
landlocked; glacial scouring accounts for the flatness of Belarusian terrain and for its 11,000 lakes
Population distributionfairly even population distribution throughout the country, but somewhat greater concentrations in the southern cities of Vilnius and Kaunas, and the western port of Klaipeda
a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations


Population2,854,235 (July 2016 est.)
9,570,376 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 14.93% (male 218,453/female 207,643)
15-24 years: 11.55% (male 170,494/female 159,283)
25-54 years: 40.36% (male 566,159/female 585,862)
55-64 years: 13.73% (male 172,987/female 218,955)
65 years and over: 19.42% (male 187,340/female 367,059) (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: 43.4 years
male: 39.5 years
female: 46.7 years (2016 est.)
total: 39.8 years
male: 36.8 years
female: 42.9 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate-1.06% (2016 est.)
-0.21% (2016 est.)
Birth rate10 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
10.5 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate14.5 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: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.79 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.51 male(s)/female
total population: 0.86 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: 3.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.4 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: 74.9 years
male: 69.5 years
female: 80.6 years (2016 est.)
total population: 72.7 years
male: 67.2 years
female: 78.6 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate1.59 children born/woman (2016 est.)
1.48 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rateNA
0.64% (2015 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Lithuanian(s)
adjective: Lithuanian
noun: Belarusian(s)
adjective: Belarusian
Ethnic groupsLithuanian 84.1%, Polish 6.6%, Russian 5.8%, Belarusian 1.2%, other 1.1%, unspecified 1.2% (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.)
ReligionsRoman Catholic 77.2%, Russian Orthodox 4.1%, Old Believer 0.8%, Evangelical Lutheran 0.6%, Evangelical Reformist 0.2%, other (including Sunni Muslim, Jewish, Greek Catholic, and Karaite) 0.8%, none 6.1%, unspecified 10.1% (2011 est.)
Orthodox 48.3%, Catholic 7.1%, other 3.5%, non-believers 41.1% (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
1,000 (2015 est.)
LanguagesLithuanian (official) 82%, Russian 8%, Polish 5.6%, other 0.9%, unspecified 3.5% (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: 99.8%
female: 99.8% (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: 17 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2014)
total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2015)
Education expenditures4.6% of GDP (2013)
4.9% of GDP (2015)
Urbanizationurban population: 66.5% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: -0.53% 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: 99.7% of population
rural: 90.4% of population
total: 96.6% of population
urban: 0.3% of population
rural: 9.6% of population
total: 3.4% of population (2015 est.)
urban: 99.9% of population
rural: 99.1% of population
total: 99.7% of population
urban: 0.1% of population
rural: 0.9% of population
total: 0.3% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 97.2% of population
rural: 82.8% of population
total: 92.4% of population
urban: 2.8% of population
rural: 17.2% of population
total: 7.6% of population (2015 est.)
urban: 94.1% of population
rural: 95.2% of population
total: 94.3% of population
urban: 5.9% of population
rural: 4.8% of population
total: 5.7% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationVILNIUS (capital) 517,000 (2015)
MINSK (capital) 1.915 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate10 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
4 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Health expenditures6.6% of GDP (2014)
5.7% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density4.33 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
4.07 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density7 beds/1,000 population (2011)
11.3 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate27.5% (2014)
25.2% (2014)
Mother's mean age at first birth26.8 years (2013 est.)
25.4 years (2013 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 50.1
youth dependency ratio: 21.8
elderly dependency ratio: 28.3
potential support ratio: 3.5 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 43
youth dependency ratio: 23
elderly dependency ratio: 20
potential support ratio: 5 (2015 est.)


Country name"conventional long form: Republic of Lithuania
conventional short form: Lithuania
local long form: Lietuvos Respublika
local short form: Lietuva
former: Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic
etymology: meaning of the name ""Lietuva"" remains unclear; it may derive from the Lietava, a stream in east central Lithuania
"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 typesemi-presidential republic
presidential republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship
Capitalname: Vilnius
geographic coordinates: 54 41 N, 25 19 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 divisions60 municipalities (savivaldybe, singular - savivaldybe); Akmene, Alytaus Miestas, Alytus, Anksciai, Birstono, Birzai, Druskininkai, Elektrenai, Ignalina, Jonava, Joniskis, Jurbarkas, Kaisiadorys, Kalvarijos, Kauno Miestas, Kaunas, Kazlu Rudos, Kedainiai, Kelme, Klaipedos Miestas, Klaipeda, Kretinga, Kupiskis, Lazdijai, Marijampole, Mazeikiai, Moletai, Neringa, Pagegiai, Pakruojis, Palangos Miestas, Panevezio Miestas, Panevezys, Pasvalys, Plunge, Prienai, Radviliskis, Raseiniai, Rietavo, Rokiskis, Sakiai, Salcininkai, Siauliu Miestas, Siauliai, Silale, Silute, Sirvintos, Skuodas, Svencionys, Taurage, Telsiai, Trakai, Ukmerge, Utena, Varena, Vilkaviskis, Vilniaus Miestas, Vilnius, Visaginas, Zarasai
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 March 1990 (declared independence from the Soviet Union); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union); notable earlier dates: 6 July 1253 (coronation of MINDAUGAS, traditional founding date), 1 July 1569 (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth created), 16 February 1918 (independence from Soviet Russia)
25 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
National holidayIndependence Day (or National Day), 16 February (1918); note - 16 February 1918 was the date Lithuania established its statehood and its concomitant independence from Soviet Russia and Germany; 11 March 1990 was the date it declared the restoration of Lithuanian 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; latest adopted by referendum 25 October 1992, entered into force 2 November 1992
amendments: proposed by at least one-fourth of all Parliament members or by petition of at least 300,000 voters; passage requires two-thirds majority vote of Parliament in each of two readings three months apart and a presidential signature; amendments to constitutional articles on national sovereignty and constitutional amendment procedure also require three-fourths voter approval in a referendum; amended 1996, 2003, 2006 (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; legislative acts can be appealed to the constitutional court
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 Dalia GRYBAUSKAITE (since 12 July 2009)
head of government: Prime Minister Saulius SKVERNELIS (since 13 December 2016)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister, appointed by the president, and approved by Parliament
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 11 and 25 May 2014 (next to be held in May 2019); prime minister appointed by the president, approved by Parliament
election results: Dalia GRYBAUSKAITE reelected president; percent of vote - Dalia GRYBAUSKAITE (independent) 59%, Zigmantas BALCYTIS (LSDP) 41%; Saulius SKVERNELIS (LVZS) approved as prime minister by Parliament vote - 90 to 4
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 Seimas (141 seats; 71 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote and 70 directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 9 and 23 October 2016 (next to be held in October 2020)
election results: percent of vote by party - LVLS 22.5%, TS-LKD 22.6%, LSDP 15%, LS 9.5%, LCP-LPP 6.3%, LLRA 5.7%, TT 5.6%, DP 4.9%, LZP 2%, Lithuanian List 1.8%, other 4.1%; seats by party - LVLS 54, TS-LKD 31, LSDP 17, LS 14, LLRA 8, TT 8, DP 2, LCP-LPP 1, LZP 1, Lithuanian List 1, independent 4
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 37 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the Seimas; judges serve 5-year renewable terms; Constitutional Court judges selected by the Seimas from among nominations by the president, by the Seimas chairperson, and Supreme Court chairperson; judges serve 9-year, nonrenewable terms; one-third of membership reconstituted every 3 years
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; district and local 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 leadersAnti-Corruption Coalition or LCP-LPP [Naglis PUTEIKIS]
Electoral Action of Lithuanian Poles or LLRA [Valdemar TOMASEVSKI]
Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats or TS-LKD [Gabrielius LANDSBERGIS]
Labor Party or DP [Valentinas MAZURONIS]
Liberal Movement or LS or LRLS [Eligijus MASIULIS]
Lithuanian Green Party or LZP [Linas BALSYS]
Lithuanian List [Darius KUOLYS]
Lithuanian Social Democratic Party or LSDP [Algirdas BUTKEVICIUS]
Order and Justice Party or TT [Remigijus ZEMAITAITIS]
Peasant and Greens Union or LVZS [Ramunas KARBAUSKIS]
Way of Courage or DK [Jonas VARKALA]
"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]
International organization participationAustralia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CD, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UN Security Council (non-permanent), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Rolandas KRISCIUNAS (since 17 September 2015)
chancery: 2622 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 234-5860
FAX: [1] (202) 328-0466
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 Anne HALL (since 16 September 2016)
embassy: Akmenu gatve 6, Vilnius, LT-03106
mailing address: American Embassy, Akmenu Gatve 6, Vilnius LT-03106
telephone: [370] (5) 266-5500
FAX: [370] (5) 266-5510
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 equal horizontal bands of yellow (top), green, and red; yellow symbolizes golden fields, as well as the sun, light, and goodness; green represents the forests of the countryside, in addition to nature, freedom, and hope; red stands for courage and the blood spilled in defense of the homeland
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: ""Tautiska giesme"" (The National Song)
lyrics/music: Vincas KUDIRKA
note: adopted 1918, restored 1990; written in 1898 while Lithuania 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 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)mounted knight known as Vytis (the Chaser), white stork; national colors: yellow, green, 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: at least one parent must be a citizen of Lithuania
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 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 - overviewAfter the country declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, Lithuania faced an initial dislocation that is typical during transitions from a planned economy to a free-market economy. Macroeconomic stabilization policies, including privatization of most state-owned enterprises, and a strong commitment to a currency board arrangement led to an open and rapidly growing economy and rising consumer demand. Foreign investment and EU funding aided in the transition. Lithuania joined the WTO in May 2001, the EU in May 2004, and the Eurozone in January 2015, and is now working to complete the OECD accession roadmap it received in July 2015.

The Lithuanian economy was severely hit by the 2008-09 global financial crisis, but it has rebounded and become one of the fastest growing in the EU. In 2015, Russia was Lithuania’s largest trading partner, followed by Poland, Germany, and Latvia; goods and services trade between the United States and Lithuania totaled $2.2 billion.

Lithuania’s ongoing recovery hinges on improving the business environment, especially by liberalizing labor laws, and improving competitiveness and export growth, the latter of which has been hampered by economic slowdowns in the EU and Russia. In addition, a steady outflow of young and highly educated people is causing a shortage of skilled labor. Lithuania opened a self-financed liquefied natural gas terminal in January 2015, providing the first non-Russian supply of natural gas to the Baltic States and reducing Lithuania’s dependence on Russian gas from 100% to approximately 30% 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)$85.62 billion (2016 est.)
$83.78 billion (2015 est.)
$82.29 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 rate2.2% (2016 est.)
1.8% (2015 est.)
2.9% (2014 est.)
-2.6% (2016 est.)
-3.9% (2015 est.)
1.7% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$29,900 (2016 est.)
$28,800 (2015 est.)
$28,100 (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: 3.3%
industry: 30.4%
services: 66.4% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 9.2%
industry: 40.9%
services: 49.8% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line22.2% (2015 est.)
5.7% (2016 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.2%
highest 10%: 28.8% (2015)
lowest 10%: 3.8%
highest 10%: 21.9% (2008)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.8% (2017 est.)
0.7% (2016 est.)
14% (2016 est.)
13.6% (2015 est.)
Labor force1.459 million (2016 est.)
4.381 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 9.1%
industry: 25.2%
services: 65.8% (2015 est.)
agriculture: 9.7%
industry: 23.4%
services: 66.8% (2015 est.)
Unemployment rate7.9% (2016 est.)
9.1% (2015 est.)
0.8% (2016 est.)
1% (2015 est.)
note: official registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers
Distribution of family income - Gini index37.9 (2015)
35 (2014)
26.5 (2011)
21.7 (1998)
Budgetrevenues: $14.68 billion
expenditures: $15.12 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $21.21 billion
expenditures: $20.92 billion (2016 est.)
Industriesmetal-cutting machine tools, electric motors, television sets, refrigerators and freezers, petroleum refining, shipbuilding (small ships), furniture, textiles, food processing, fertilizers, agricultural machinery, optical equipment, lasers, electronic components, computers, amber jewelry, information technology, video game development, app/software development, biotechnology
metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, , synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, , refrigerators, washing machines and other household appliances
Industrial production growth rate3.3% (2016 est.)
-0.4% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productsgrain, potatoes, sugar beets, flax, vegetables; beef, milk, eggs, pork, cheese; fish
grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk
Exports$23.52 billion (2016 est.)
$24.81 billion (2015 est.)
$22.65 billion (2016 est.)
$26.19 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesrefined fuel, machinery and equipment, chemicals, textiles, foodstuffs, plastics
machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partnersRussia 13.7%, Latvia 9.8%, Poland 9.7%, Germany 7.8%, Estonia 5.3%, Belarus 4.6%, UK 4.5%, US 4.4%, Netherlands 4% (2015)
Russia 39.1%, UK 11.1%, Ukraine 9.5%, Netherlands 4.3%, Germany 4.1% (2015)
Imports$25.92 billion (2016 est.)
$26.93 billion (2015 est.)
$25.44 billion (2016 est.)
$28.33 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesoil, natural gas, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, chemicals, textiles and clothing, metals
mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals
Imports - partnersRussia 16.9%, Germany 11.5%, Poland 10.3%, Latvia 7.6%, Netherlands 5.1%, Italy 4.5% (2015)
Russia 56.6%, China 7.9%, Germany 4.6% (2015)
Debt - external$34.48 billion (31 March 2016 est.)
$31.6 billion (31 March 2015 est.)
$34.75 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$34.85 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange rateslitai (LTL) per US dollar -
0.9129 (2016 est.)
0.9012 (2015 est.)
0.9012 (2014 est.)
0.7525 (2013 est.)
2.69 (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 debt41.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
45.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: official data; 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, debt issued by 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 sold at public auctions
60.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
48.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$1.697 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$8.728 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$4.206 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.176 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$379 million (2016 est.)
-$967 million (2015 est.)
-$2.118 billion (2016 est.)
-$2.037 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$42.78 billion (2016 est.)
$48.13 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$16.33 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$15.63 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$6.929 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.241 billion (31 December 2015)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$3.727 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.427 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.)
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 rate3.1% (31 December 2016 est.)
3.1% (31 December 2015 est.)
18% (31 December 2016 est.)
18.08% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$27.58 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$24.43 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$24.09 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$22.23 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$21.38 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$19.4 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$2.232 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.301 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$25.08 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$23.94 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$5.651 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$7.608 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Taxes and other revenues34.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
44.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1% of GDP (2016 est.)
0.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 19.3%
male: 19.6%
female: 18.7% (2014 est.)
total: 12.5%
male: 12.4%
female: 12.6% (2009 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 65.7%
government consumption: 17.3%
investment in fixed capital: 19.3%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 72.9%
imports of goods and services: -75.2% (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 saving16.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
16.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
21.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
21.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
30.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
28.5% of GDP (2014 est.)


Electricity - production3.1 billion kWh (2014 est.)
34.08 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - consumption9.9 billion kWh (2014 est.)
36.7 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - exports900 million kWh (2014 est.)
194 million kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - imports8.5 billion kWh (2014 est.)
2.816 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Oil - production2,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
32,710 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - imports191,100 bbl/day (2013 est.)
439,200 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports1,316 bbl/day (2013 est.)
31,810 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves12 million 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 - consumption2.775 billion 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 - imports2.775 billion cu m (2014 est.)
20.05 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity3.9 million kW (2014 est.)
9.2 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels66.7% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
99.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants23% 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 sources10.3% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
0.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production202,300 bbl/day (2013 est.)
444,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption54,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
170,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports173,600 bbl/day (2013 est.)
284,200 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports23,960 bbl/day (2013 est.)
1,334 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy11.2 million Mt (2015 est.)
70 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesselectrification - total population: 100% (2016)
electrification - total population: 100% (2016)


Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 561,919
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 19 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 4,540,678
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 47 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 4.184 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 145 (July 2015 est.)
total: 11.448 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 119 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: adequate; being modernized to provide improved international capability and better residential access
domestic: rapid expansion of mobile-cellular services has resulted in a steady decline in the number of fixed-line connections; mobile-cellular teledensity stands at about 145 per 100 persons
international: country code - 370; major international connections to Denmark, Sweden, and Norway by submarine cable for further transmission by satellite; landline connections to Latvia and Poland (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.lt
Internet userstotal: 2.059 million
percent of population: 71.4% (July 2015 est.)
total: 5.968 million
percent of population: 62.2% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediapublic broadcaster operates 3 channels with the third channel - a satellite channel - introduced in 2007; various privately owned commercial TV broadcasters operate national and multiple regional channels; many privately owned local TV stations; multi-channel cable and satellite TV services available; publicly owned broadcaster operates 3 radio networks; many privately owned commercial broadcasters, with repeater stations in various regions throughout the country (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)


Railwaystotal: 1,768 km
broad gauge: 1,746 km 1.520-m gauge (122 km electrified)
standard gauge: 22 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
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: 84,166 km
paved: 72,297 km (includes 312 km of expressways)
unpaved: 11,869 km (2012)
total: 86,392 km
paved: 74,651 km
unpaved: 11,741 km (2010)
Waterways441 km (navigable year round) (2007)
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 1,921 km; refined products 121 km (2013)
gas 5,386 km; oil 1,589 km; refined products 1,730 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Klaipeda
oil terminal(s): Butinge oil terminal
LNG terminal(s) (import): Klaipeda
river port(s): Mazyr (Prypyats')
Airports61 (2013)
65 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 22
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 9 (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
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 36 (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)


Military branchesLithuanian Armed Forces (Lietuvos Ginkluotosios Pajegos): Land Forces (Sausumos Pajegos), Naval Forces (Karines Juru Pajegos), Air Forces (Karines Oro Pajegos), Special Forces (Specialiuju Operaciju Pajegos); Volunteer Forces (Savanoriu Pajegos) (2016)
Belarus Armed Forces: Land Force, Air and Air Defense Force, Special Operations Force (2013)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for military service; 9-month service obligation; in 2015, Lithuania reinstated conscription after having converted to a professional military in the fall of 2008 (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 GDP1.8% of GDP (2017)
1.49% of GDP (2016)
1.14% of GDP (2015)
0.88% of GDP (2014)
0.76% 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

Disputes - internationalLithuania and Russia committed to demarcating their boundary in 2006 in accordance with the land and maritime treaty ratified by Russia in May 2003 and by Lithuania in 1999; Lithuania operates a simplified transit regime for Russian nationals traveling from the Kaliningrad coastal exclave into Russia, while still conforming, as a EU member state having an external border with a non-EU member, to strict Schengen border rules; boundary demarcated with Latvia and Lithuania; as of January 2007, ground demarcation of the boundary with Belarus was complete and mapped with final ratification documents in preparation
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 cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, and opiates from Southwest Asia, Latin America, Western Europe, and neighboring Baltic countries; growing production of high-quality amphetamines, but limited production of cannabis, methamphetamines; susceptible to money laundering despite changes to banking legislation
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: 3,466 (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