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Russia vs. Belarus

Introduction

RussiaBelarus
BackgroundFounded in the 12th century, the Principality of Muscovy was able to emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination (13th-15th centuries) and to gradually conquer and absorb surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, a new ROMANOV Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific. Under PETER I (ruled 1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the country was renamed the Russian Empire. During the 19th century, more territorial acquisitions were made in Europe and Asia. Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 contributed to the Revolution of 1905, which resulted in the formation of a parliament and other reforms. Repeated devastating defeats of the Russian army in World War I led to widespread rioting in the major cities of the Russian Empire and to the overthrow in 1917 of the imperial household. The communists under Vladimir LENIN seized power soon after and formed the USSR. The brutal rule of Iosif STALIN (1928-53) strengthened communist rule and Russian dominance of the Soviet Union at a cost of tens of millions of lives. After defeating Germany in World War II as part of an alliance with the US (1939-1945), the USSR expanded its territory and influence in Eastern Europe and emerged as a global power. The USSR was the principal adversary of the US during the Cold War (1947-1991). The Soviet economy and society stagnated in the decades following Stalin’s rule, until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV (1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an attempt to modernize communism, but his initiatives inadvertently released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into Russia and 14 other independent republics.
Following economic and political turmoil during President Boris YELTSIN's term (1991-99), Russia shifted toward a centralized authoritarian state under the leadership of President Vladimir PUTIN (2000-2008, 2012-present) in which the regime seeks to legitimize its rule through managed elections, populist appeals, a foreign policy focused on enhancing the country's geopolitical influence, and commodity-based economic growth. Russia faces a largely subdued rebel movement in Chechnya and some other surrounding regions, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.
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

RussiaBelarus
LocationNorth Asia bordering the Arctic Ocean, extending from Europe (the portion west of the Urals) to the North Pacific Ocean
Eastern Europe, east of Poland
Geographic coordinates60 00 N, 100 00 E
53 00 N, 28 00 E
Map referencesAsia
Europe
Areatotal: 17,098,242 sq km
land: 16,377,742 sq km
water: 720,500 sq km
total: 207,600 sq km
land: 202,900 sq km
water: 4,700 sq km
Area - comparativeapproximately 1.8 times the size of the US
slightly less than twice the size of Kentucky; slightly smaller than Kansas
Land boundariestotal: 22,408 km
border countries (14): Azerbaijan 338 km, Belarus 1,312 km, China (southeast) 4,133 km, China (south) 46 km, Estonia 324 km, Finland 1,309 km, Georgia 894 km, Kazakhstan 7,644 km, North Korea 18 km, Latvia 332 km, Lithuania (Kaliningrad Oblast) 261 km, Mongolia 3,452 km, Norway 191 km, Poland (Kaliningrad Oblast) 210 km, Ukraine 1,944 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
Coastline37,653 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
none (landlocked)
Climateranges from steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia; subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north; winters vary from cool along Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia; summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along Arctic coast
cold winters, cool and moist summers; transitional between continental and maritime
Terrainbroad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions
generally flat with much marshland
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 600 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
highest point: Gora El'brus 5,642 m (highest point in Europe)
mean elevation: 160 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Nyoman River 90 m
highest point: Dzyarzhynskaya Hara 346 m
Natural resourceswide natural resource base including major deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, and many strategic minerals, reserves of rare earth elements, timber
note: formidable obstacles of climate, terrain, and distance hinder exploitation of natural resources
timber, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, clay
Land useagricultural land: 13.1%
arable land 7.3%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 5.7%
forest: 49.4%
other: 37.5% (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 land43,000 sq km (2012)
1,140 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardspermafrost over much of Siberia is a major impediment to development; volcanic activity in the Kuril Islands; volcanoes and earthquakes on the Kamchatka Peninsula; spring floods and summer/autumn forest fires throughout Siberia and parts of European Russia
volcanism: significant volcanic activity on the Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands; the peninsula alone is home to some 29 historically active volcanoes, with dozens more in the Kuril Islands; Kliuchevskoi (4,835 m), which erupted in 2007 and 2010, is Kamchatka's most active volcano; Avachinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes, which pose a threat to the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, have been deemed Decade Volcanoes by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to their explosive history and close proximity to human populations; other notable historically active volcanoes include Bezymianny, Chikurachki, Ebeko, Gorely, Grozny, Karymsky, Ketoi, Kronotsky, Ksudach, Medvezhia, Mutnovsky, Sarychev Peak, Shiveluch, Tiatia, Tolbachik, and Zheltovsky
large tracts of marshy land
Environment - current issuesair pollution from heavy industry, emissions of coal-fired electric plants, and transportation in major cities; industrial, municipal, and agricultural pollution of inland waterways and seacoasts; deforestation; soil erosion; soil contamination from improper application of agricultural chemicals; scattered areas of sometimes intense radioactive contamination; groundwater contamination from toxic waste; urban solid waste management; abandoned stocks of obsolete pesticides
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-Sulfur 85, 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, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: 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 - notelargest country in the world in terms of area but unfavorably located in relation to major sea lanes of the world; despite its size, much of the country lacks proper soils and climates (either too cold or too dry) for agriculture; Mount El'brus is Europe's tallest peak; Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, is estimated to hold one fifth of the world's fresh water
landlocked; glacial scouring accounts for the flatness of Belarusian terrain and for its 11,000 lakes
Population distributionpopulation is heavily concentrated in the westernmost fifth of the country extending from the Baltic Sea, south to the Caspian Sea, and eastward parallel to the Kazakh border; elsewhere, sizeable pockets are isolated and generally found in the south
a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations

Demographics

RussiaBelarus
Population142,257,519 (July 2017 est.)
9,549,747 (July 2017 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 17.12% (male 12,509,563/female 11,843,254)
15-24 years: 9.46% (male 6,881,880/female 6,572,191)
25-54 years: 44.71% (male 31,220,990/female 32,375,489)
55-64 years: 14.44% (male 8,849,707/female 11,693,131)
65 years and over: 14.28% (male 6,352,557/female 13,958,757) (2017 est.)
0-14 years: 15.78% (male 774,995/female 732,191)
15-24 years: 10.29% (male 505,420/female 477,123)
25-54 years: 44.76% (male 2,104,170/female 2,170,515)
55-64 years: 14.21% (male 599,630/female 757,744)
65 years and over: 14.95% (male 457,766/female 970,193) (2017 est.)
Median agetotal: 39.6 years
male: 36.6 years
female: 42.5 years (2017 est.)
total: 40 years
male: 37.1 years
female: 43.1 years (2017 est.)
Population growth rate-0.08% (2017 est.)
-0.22% (2017 est.)
Birth rate11 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
10.3 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Death rate13.5 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
13.2 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Net migration rate1.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
0.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 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: 0.96 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.75 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.45 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: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
total: 3.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 71 years
male: 65.3 years
female: 77.1 years (2017 est.)
total population: 73 years
male: 67.5 years
female: 78.8 years (2017 est.)
Total fertility rate1.61 children born/woman (2017 est.)
1.48 children born/woman (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rateNA
0.4% (2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Russian(s)
adjective: Russian
noun: Belarusian(s)
adjective: Belarusian
Ethnic groupsRussian 77.7%, Tatar 3.7%, Ukrainian 1.4%, Bashkir 1.1%, Chuvash 1%, Chechen 1%, other 10.2%, unspecified 3.9%
note: nearly 200 national and/or ethnic groups are represented in Russia's 2010 census (2010 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
19,000 (2016 est.)
ReligionsRussian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% (2006 est.)
note: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule; Russia officially recognizes Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism as traditional religions
Orthodox 48.3%, Catholic 7.1%, other 3.5%, non-believers 41.1% (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
<200 (2016 est.)
LanguagesRussian (official) 85.7%, Tatar 3.2%, Chechen 1%, other 10.1%
note: data represent native language spoken (2010 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: 99.7%
male: 99.7%
female: 99.6% (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: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 15 years (2014)
total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2015)
Education expenditures3.9% of GDP (2012)
4.9% of GDP (2015)
Urbanizationurban population: 74.2% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: -0.15% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 77.4% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: -0.04% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 98.9% of population
rural: 91.2% of population
total: 96.9% of population
unimproved:
urban: 1.1% of population
rural: 8.8% of population
total: 3.1% 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: 77% of population
rural: 58.7% of population
total: 72.2% of population
unimproved:
urban: 23% of population
rural: 41.3% of population
total: 27.8% 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 - populationMOSCOW (capital) 12.166 million; Saint Petersburg 4.993 million; Novosibirsk 1.497 million; Yekaterinburg 1.379 million; Nizhniy Novgorod 1.212 million; Samara 1.164 million (2015)
MINSK (capital) 1.915 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate25 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
4 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Health expenditures7.1% of GDP (2014)
5.7% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density3.31 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
4.07 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density9.7 beds/1,000 population (2006)
11.3 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate23.1% (2016)
24.5% (2016)
Mother's mean age at first birth24.6 years (2009 est.)
25.7 years (2014 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate68%
note: percent of women aged 15-44 (2011)
63.1% (2012)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 43.5
youth dependency ratio: 24.2
elderly dependency ratio: 19.4
potential support ratio: 5.2 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 43.8
youth dependency ratio: 23.2
elderly dependency ratio: 20.6
potential support ratio: 4.9 (2015 est.)

Government

RussiaBelarus
Country nameconventional long form: Russian Federation
conventional short form: Russia
local long form: Rossiyskaya Federatsiya
local short form: Rossiya
former: Russian Empire, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
etymology: Russian lands were generally referred to as Muscovy until PETER I officially declared the Russian Empire in 1721; the new name sought to invoke the patrimony of the medieval eastern European Rus state centered on Kyiv in present-day Ukraine; the Rus were a Varangian (eastern Viking) elite that imposed their rule and eventually their name on their Slavic subjects
"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 federation
presidential republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship
Capitalname: Moscow
geographic coordinates: 55 45 N, 37 36 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
note: Russia has 11 time zones, the largest number of contiguous time zones of any country in the world; in 2014, two time zones were added and DST was dropped
name: Minsk
geographic coordinates: 53 54 N, 27 34 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions46 provinces (oblasti, singular - oblast), 21 republics (respubliki, singular - respublika), 4 autonomous okrugs (avtonomnyye okrugi, singular - avtonomnyy okrug), 9 krays (kraya, singular - kray), 2 federal cities (goroda, singular - gorod), and 1 autonomous oblast (avtonomnaya oblast')
oblasts: Amur (Blagoveshchensk), Arkhangel'sk, Astrakhan', Belgorod, Bryansk, Chelyabinsk, Irkutsk, Ivanovo, Kaliningrad, Kaluga, Kemerovo, Kirov, Kostroma, Kurgan, Kursk, Leningrad, Lipetsk, Magadan, Moscow, Murmansk, Nizhniy Novgorod, Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Orenburg, Orel, Penza, Pskov, Rostov, Ryazan', Sakhalin (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), Samara, Saratov, Smolensk, Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg), Tambov, Tomsk, Tula, Tver', Tyumen', Ul'yanovsk, Vladimir, Volgograd, Vologda, Voronezh, Yaroslavl'
republics: Adygeya (Maykop), Altay (Gorno-Altaysk), Bashkortostan (Ufa), Buryatiya (Ulan-Ude), Chechnya (Groznyy), Chuvashiya (Cheboksary), Dagestan (Makhachkala), Ingushetiya (Magas), Kabardino-Balkariya (Nal'chik), Kalmykiya (Elista), Karachayevo-Cherkesiya (Cherkessk), Kareliya (Petrozavodsk), Khakasiya (Abakan), Komi (Syktyvkar), Mariy-El (Yoshkar-Ola), Mordoviya (Saransk), North Ossetia (Vladikavkaz), Sakha [Yakutiya] (Yakutsk), Tatarstan (Kazan'), Tyva (Kyzyl), Udmurtiya (Izhevsk)
autonomous okrugs: Chukotka (Anadyr'), Khanty-Mansi-Yugra (Khanty-Mansiysk), Nenets (Nar'yan-Mar), Yamalo-Nenets (Salekhard)
krays: Altay (Barnaul), Kamchatka (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy), Khabarovsk, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Perm', Primorskiy [Maritime] (Vladivostok), Stavropol', Zabaykal'sk [Transbaikal] (Chita)
federal cities: Moscow [Moskva], Saint Petersburg [Sankt-Peterburg]
autonomous oblast: Yevreyskaya [Jewish] (Birobidzhan)
note 1: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)
note 2: the United States does not recognize Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the municipality of Sevastopol, nor their redesignation as the Republic of Crimea and the Federal City of Sevastopol
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
Independence24 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union); notable earlier dates: 1157 (Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal created); 16 January 1547 (Tsardom of Muscovy established); 22 October 1721 (Russian Empire proclaimed); 30 December 1922 (Soviet Union established)
25 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
National holidayRussia Day, 12 June (1990)
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 (during Russian Empire and Soviet era); latest drafted 12 July 1993, adopted by referendum 12 December 1993, effective 25 December 1993
amendments: proposed by the president of the Russian Federation, by either house of the Federal Assembly, by the government of the Russian Federation, or by legislative (representative) bodies of the Federation's constituent entities; proposals to amend the government’s constitutional system, human and civil rights and freedoms, and procedures for amending or drafting a new constitution require formation of a Constitutional Assembly; passage of such amendments requires two-thirds majority vote of its total membership; passage in a referendum requires participation of an absolute majority of eligible voters and an absolute majority of valid votes; approval of proposed amendments to the government structure, authorities, and procedures requires approval by the legislative bodies of at least two-thirds of the Russian Federation's constituent entities; amended 2008, 2014 (2017)
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 acts
civil law system; note - nearly all major codes (civil, civil procedure, criminal, criminal procedure, family, and labor) were revised and came into force in 1999 and 2000
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch"chief of state: President Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN (since 7 May 2012)
head of government: Premier Dmitriy Anatolyevich MEDVEDEV (since 8 May 2012); First Deputy Premier Igor Ivanovich SHUVALOV (since 12 May 2008); Deputy Premiers Arkadiy Vladimirovich DVORKOVICH (since 21 May 2012), Olga Yuryevna GOLODETS (since 21 May 2012), Aleksandr Gennadiyevich KHLOPONIN (since 19 January 2010), Dmitriy Nikolayevich KOZAK (since 14 October 2008), Vitaliy Leontyevich MUTKO (since 19 October 2016), Dmitriy Olegovich ROGOZIN (since 23 December 2011), Sergey Eduardovich PRIKHODKO (since 22 May 2013); Yuriy Petrovich TRUTNEV (since 31 August 2013)
cabinet: the ""Government"" is composed of the premier, his deputies, and ministers, all appointed by the president; the premier is also confirmed by the Duma
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 6-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 4 March 2012 (next to be held in March 2018); note - term length extended to 6 years from 4 years in late 2008, effective after the 2012 election; there is no vice president; premier appointed by the president with the approval of the Duma
election results: Vladimir PUTIN elected president; percent of vote - Vladimir PUTIN (United Russia) 63.6%, Gennadiy ZYUGANOV (CPRF) 17.2%, Mikhail PROKHOROV (CP) 8%, Vladimir ZHIRINOVSKIY (LDPR) 6.2%, Sergey MIRONOV (A Just Russia) 3.9%, other 1.1%; Dmitriy MEDVEDEV (United Russia) approved as premier by Duma; vote - 299 to 144
note: there is also a Presidential Administration that provides staff and policy support to the president, drafts presidential decrees, and coordinates policy among government agencies; a Security Council also reports directly to the president
"
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 Vasiliy 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 and win 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%, Tatstyana KARATKEVICH (Tell the Truth) 4.4%, Sergey GAYDUKEVICH (LDP) 3.3%, other 8.8%; note - election marred by electoral fraud
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral Federal Assembly or Federalnoye Sobraniye consists of the Federation Council or Sovet Federatsii (170 seats; 2 members in each of the 83 federal administrative units (see note below) - oblasts, krays, republics, autonomous okrugs and oblasts, and the federal cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg - appointed by the top executive and legislative officials; members serve 4-year terms) and the State Duma or Gosudarstvennaya Duma (450 seats; as of February 2014, the electoral system reverted to a mixed electoral system for the 2016 election, in which one-half of the members are directly elected by simple majority vote and one-half directly elected by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: State Duma - last held on 18 September 2016 (next to be held in fall 2021)
election results: State Duma - United Russia 54.2%, CPRF 13.3%, LDPR 13.1%, A Just Russia 6.2%, Rodina 1.5%, CP 0.2%; seats by party - United Russia 343, CPRF 42, LDPR 39, A Just Russia 23, Rodina 1, CP 1, independent 1
note: the State Duma now includes 3 representatives and the Federation Council 2 each from the Republic of Crimea and the Federal City of Sevastopol, two regions that Russia occupied and attempted to annex from Ukraine and that the US does not recognize as part of Russia
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 in 2 rounds 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 of the Russian Federation (consists of 170 members organized into the Judicial Panel for Civil Affairs, the Judicial Panel for Criminal Affairs, and the Military Panel); Constitutional Court (consists of 19 members); note - in February 2014, Russia’s Superior Court of Arbitration was abolished and its former authorities transferred to the Supreme Court, which in addition to being the country’s highest judicial authority for appeals, civil, criminal, administrative, and military cases, and the disciplinary judicial board now has jurisdiction over economic disputes
judge selection and term of office: all members of Russia's 3 highest courts nominated by the president and appointed by the Federation Council (the upper house of the legislature); members of all 3 courts appointed for life
subordinate courts: Higher Arbitration Court; regional (kray) and provincial (oblast) courts; Moscow and St. Petersburg city courts; autonomous province and district courts; note - the 21 Russian Republics have court systems specified by their own constitutions
highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chairman and 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 leadersA Just Russia [Sergey MIRONOV]
Civic Platform or CP [Rifat SHAYKHUTDINOV]
Communist Party of the Russian Federation or CPRF [Gennadiy ZYUGANOV]
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia or LDPR [Vladimir ZHIRINOVSKIY]
Rodina [Aleksei ZHURAVLYOV]
United Russia [Dmitriy MEDVEDEV]
note: 72 political parties are registered with Russia's Ministry of Justice (as of August 2017), but only six parties maintain representation in Russia's national legislature, and two of these only have one deputy apiece
"pro-government parties:
Belarusian Agrarian Party or AP [Mikhail SHIMANSKIY]
Belarusian Patriotic Party [Nikolai ULAKHOVICH]
Belarusian Social Sport Party [Vladimir ALEKSANDROVICH]
Communist Party of Belarus or KPB [Igor KARPENKO]
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 [Paval SEVIARYNETS] (unregistered)
Belarusian Party of the Green [Anastasiya DOROFEYEVA]
Belarusian Party of the Left ""Just World"" [Sergey KALYAKIN]
Belarusian Popular Front or BPF [Alyaksey YANUKEVICH]
Belarusian Social-Democratic Assembly [Stanislav SHUSHKEVICH]
Belarusian Social Democratic Party (""Assembly"") or BSDPH [Irina VESHTARD]
Belarusian Social Democratic Party (People's Assembly) [Mikalay STATKEVICH] (unregistered)
Christian Conservative Party or BPF [Zyanon PAZNYAK]
United Civic Party or UCP [Anatoliy LEBEDKO]
"
Political pressure groups and leadersCommittees of Soldiers' Mothers
Confederation of Labor of Russia or KTR
Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia
Golos Association in Defense of Voters' Rights
Memorial
Movement Against Illegal Migration
Russkiye
Solidarnost
The World Russian People's Congress
Union of Russian Writers
other: business associations; environmental organizations; religious groups (especially those with Orthodox or Muslim affiliation); veterans groups
"Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs [Sergey MATSKEVICH] (unregistered)
Belarusian Association of Journalists [Andrei BASTUNETS]
Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions or BRDP [Aleksandr YAROSHUK]
Belarusian Helsinki Committee or BHC [Aleh HULAK]
Belarusian Language Society [Aleh TRUSAU, Alena ANISIM]
Center-Right Coalition [Vital RYMASHEUSKI, ANATOLY LEBEDKO, YURAS HUBAREVICH]
Congress of Democratic Forces [Mikalay STATKEVICH]
For Freedom Movement [Yuras HUBAREVICH]
Malady Front (Young Front) [Zmitser DASHKEVICH] (unregistered)
Perspektiva [Anatoliy SHUMCHENKO] (small business association)
""Tell the Truth"" Movement [Tatsyana KARATKEVICH] (unregistered)
Vyasna (Spring) human rights center [Ales BELYATSKIY] (unregistered)
Women's Independent Democratic Movement [Ludmila PETINA]
"
International organization participationAPEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, BRICS, BSEC, CBSS, CD, CE, CERN (observer), CICA, CIS, CSTO, EAEC, EAEU, EAPC, EAS, EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-20, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUSCO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, SCO, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNSC (permanent), UNTSO, 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 Anatoliy Ivanovich ANTONOV (since 8 September 2017)
chancery: 2650 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 298-5700, 5701, 5704, 5708
FAX: [1] (202) 298-5735
consulate(s) general: Houston, New York, Seattle
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 Jon HUNTSMAN (since 3 October 2017)
embassy: Bolshoy Deviatinskiy Pereulok No. 8, 121099 Moscow
mailing address: PSC-77, APO AE 09721
telephone: [7] (495) 728-5000
FAX: [7] (495) 728-5090
consulate(s) general: Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg
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) 210-1283
FAX: [375] (17) 234-7853
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of white (top), blue, and red
note: the colors may have been based on those of the Dutch flag; despite many popular interpretations, there is no official meaning assigned to the colors of the Russian flag; this flag inspired several other Slav countries to adopt horizontal tricolors of the same colors but in different arrangements, and so red, blue, and white became the Pan-Slav colors
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: ""Gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsii"" (National Anthem of the Russian Federation)
lyrics/music: Sergey Vladimirovich MIKHALKOV/Aleksandr Vasilyevich ALEKSANDROV
note: in 2000, Russia adopted the tune of the anthem of the former Soviet Union (composed in 1939); the lyrics, also adopted in 2000, were written by the same person who authored the Soviet lyrics in 1943
"
"name: ""My, Bielarusy"" (We Belarusians)
lyrics/music: Mikhas KLIMKOVICH and Uladzimir KARYZNA/Nester SAKALOUSKI
note: music adopted 1955, lyrics adopted 2002; after the fall of the Soviet Union, Belarus kept the music of its Soviet-era anthem but adopted new lyrics; also known as ""Dziarzauny himn Respubliki Bielarus"" (State Anthem of the Republic of Belarus)
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)bear, double-headed eagle; national colors: white, blue, 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 Russia
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 3-5 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

RussiaBelarus
Economy - overviewRussia has undergone significant changes since the collapse of the Soviet Union, moving from a centrally planned economy towards a more market-based system. Both economic growth and reform have stalled in recent years, however, and Russia remains a predominantly statist economy with a high concentration of wealth in officials' hands. Economic reforms in the 1990s privatized most industry, with notable exceptions in the energy, transportation, banking, and defense-related sectors. The protection of property rights is still weak, and the state continues to interfere in the free operation of the private sector.

Russia is one of the world's leading producers of oil and natural gas, and is also a top exporter of metals such as steel and primary aluminum. Russia is heavily dependent on the movement of world commodity prices as reliance on commodity exports makes it vulnerable to boom and bust cycles that follow the volatile swings in global prices. The economy, which had averaged 7% growth during the 1998-2008 period as oil prices rose rapidly, has seen diminishing growth rates since then due to the exhaustion of Russia’s commodity-based growth model.

A combination of falling oil prices, international sanctions, and structural limitations pushed Russia into a deep recession in 2015, with GDP falling by close by 2.8%. The downturn continued through 2016, with GDP contracting another 0.2%, but was reversed in 2017 as world demand picked up. Government support for import substitution has increased recently in an effort to diversify the economy away from extractive industries.
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 between 1991 and 1994, 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 declined for several years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, but 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 claimed 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.

New non-Russian foreign investment has been limited 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 Bailout 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.

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.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$4 trillion (2017 est.)
$3.93 trillion (2016 est.)
$3.938 trillion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
$175.9 billion (2017 est.)
$174.6 billion (2016 est.)
$179.4 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - real growth rate1.8% (2017 est.)
-0.2% (2016 est.)
-2.8% (2015 est.)
0.7% (2017 est.)
-2.6% (2016 est.)
-3.8% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$27,900 (2017 est.)
$27,400 (2016 est.)
$27,500 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
$18,600 (2017 est.)
$18,400 (2016 est.)
$18,900 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 4.7%
industry: 32.4%
services: 62.3% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 8.3%
industry: 40.6%
services: 51.1% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line13.3% (2015 est.)
5.7% (2016 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 32.2% (2012 est.)
lowest 10%: 3.8%
highest 10%: 21.9% (2008)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)4.2% (2017 est.)
7% (2016 est.)
8% (2017 est.)
11.8% (2016 est.)
Labor force76.53 million (2017 est.)
4.381 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 9.4%
industry: 27.6%
services: 63% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 9.7%
industry: 23.4%
services: 66.8% (2015 est.)
Unemployment rate5.5% (2017 est.)
5.5% (2016 est.)
1% (2017 est.)
1% (2016 est.)
note: official registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers
Distribution of family income - Gini index41.2 (2015)
41.9 (2013)
26.5 (2011)
21.7 (1998)
Budgetrevenues: $253.9 billion
expenditures: $287.5 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: $22.8 billion
expenditures: $22.54 billion (2017 est.)
Industriescomplete range of mining and extractive industries producing coal, oil, gas, chemicals, and metals; all forms of machine building from rolling mills to high-performance aircraft and space vehicles; defense industries (including radar, missile production, advanced electronic components), shipbuilding; road and rail transportation equipment; communications equipment; agricultural machinery, tractors, and construction equipment; electric power generating and transmitting equipment; medical and scientific instruments; consumer durables, textiles, foodstuffs, handicrafts
metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, refrigerators, washing machines and other household appliances
Industrial production growth rate1.1% (2017 est.)
3.5% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - productsgrain, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, vegetables, fruits; beef, milk
grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk
Exports$336.8 billion (2017 est.)
$281.9 billion (2016 est.)
$24.2 billion (2017 est.)
$22.98 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiespetroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, metals, wood and wood products, chemicals, and a wide variety of civilian and military manufactures
machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partnersNetherlands 10.5%, China 10.3%, Germany 7.8%, Turkey 5%, Italy 4.4%, Belarus 4.3% (2016)
Russia 46.3%, Ukraine 12.2%, UK 4.6%, Germany 4% (2016)
Imports$212.7 billion (2017 est.)
$191.6 billion (2016 est.)
$26.2 billion (2017 est.)
$25.57 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery, vehicles, pharmaceutical products, plastic, semi-finished metal products, meat, fruits and nuts, optical and medical instruments, iron, steel
mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals
Imports - partnersChina 21.6%, Germany 11%, US 6.3%, France 4.8%, Italy 4.4%, Belarus 4.3% (2016)
Russia 55.5%, China 7.8%, Germany 4.9%, Poland 4.4% (2016)
Debt - external$451.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$434.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$38.75 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$37.74 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange ratesRussian rubles (RUB) per US dollar -
58.39 (2017 est.)
67.056 (2016 est.)
67.056 (2015 est.)
60.938 (2014 est.)
38.378 (2013 est.)
Belarusian rubles (BYB/BYR) per US dollar -
1.9 (2017 est.)
2 (2016 est.)
2 (2015 est.)
15,926 (2014 est.)
10,224.1 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt11.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
10% of GDP (2016 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 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 not sold at public auctions
46.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
47.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$418.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$377.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.059 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.927 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance$41.46 billion (2017 est.)
$25.54 billion (2016 est.)
-$2.801 billion (2017 est.)
-$1.703 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$1.469 trillion (2016 est.)
$52.78 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$479.7 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$461.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.929 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.241 billion (31 December 2015)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$443 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$418 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.547 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.649 billion (31 December 2015)
Market value of publicly traded shares$635.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$393.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$385.9 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$NA
Central bank discount rate10% (31 December 2016 est.)
11% (03 August 2015)
note: this is the so-called refinancing rate, but in Russia banks do not get refinancing at this rate; this is a reference rate used primarily for fiscal purposes
14% (19 April 2017)
15% (15 March 2017)
Commercial bank prime lending rate10.3% (31 December 2017 est.)
12.59% (31 December 2016 est.)
14% (31 December 2017 est.)
14.4% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$825.8 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$770.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$21.45 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$20.64 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$204.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$195.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.881 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.718 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money$688.4 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$633.4 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.03 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.431 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues17.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
43.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
0.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 16%
male: 15.3%
female: 16.9% (2015 est.)
total: 12.5%
male: 12.4%
female: 12.6% (2009 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 52.4%
government consumption: 17.8%
investment in fixed capital: 21.1%
investment in inventories: 2.5%
exports of goods and services: 25.6%
imports of goods and services: -19.4% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 54.8%
government consumption: 16.8%
investment in fixed capital: 24.1%
investment in inventories: -1.1%
exports of goods and services: 65%
imports of goods and services: -59.6% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving26.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
27.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
27.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
19.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
21.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
25.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Energy

RussiaBelarus
Electricity - production1.008 trillion kWh (2015 est.)
32.04 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - consumption890.1 billion kWh (2015 est.)
31.75 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - exports13.13 billion kWh (2016 est.)
3.482 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - imports3.194 billion kWh (2016 est.)
6.104 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Oil - production10.55 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
32,670 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - imports15,110 bbl/day (2016 est.)
450,200 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Oil - exports5.116 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
31,770 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Oil - proved reserves80 billion bbl (1 January 2017 es)
198 million bbl (1 January 2017 es)
Natural gas - proved reserves47.8 trillion cu m (1 January 2017 es)
2.832 billion cu m (1 January 2017 es)
Natural gas - production598.6 billion cu m (2015 est.)
30 million cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - consumption418.9 billion cu m (2015 est.)
26.5 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - exports197.7 billion cu m (2015 est.)
0 cu m (2016 est.)
Natural gas - imports18 billion cu m (2015 est.)
17.3 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity263.5 million kW (2015 est.)
10.08 million kW (2015 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels70.2% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
99.2% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants19% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
0.4% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels9.7% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0.6% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
0.9% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production6.174 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
471,600 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption3.594 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
172,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports3.133 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
290,300 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports47,770 bbl/day (2016 est.)
2,387 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy1.756 billion Mt (2014 est.)
70 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesselectrification - total population: 100% (2016)
electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Telecommunications

RussiaBelarus
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 32,276,615
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 23 (July 2016 est.)
total subscriptions: 4,515,382
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 47 (July 2016 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 231,393,994
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 163 (July 2016 est.)
total: 11,439,866
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 120 (July 2016 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: telecom sector impacted by sanctions related to the annexations in Ukraine; mobile market dominaed by four major operators; the estimated number of mobile subscribers jumped from fewer than 1 million in 1998 to 255 million in 2016; fixed-line service has improved but a large demand remains
domestic: cross-country digital trunk lines run from Saint Petersburg to Khabarovsk, and from Moscow to Novorossiysk; the telephone systems in 60 regional capitals have modern digital infrastructures; cellular services, both analog and digital, are available in many areas; in rural areas, telephone services are still outdated, inadequate, and low-density
international: country code - 7; connected internationally by undersea fiber -optic cables; satellite earth stations provide access to Intelsat, Intersputnik, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, and Orbita systems (2016)
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 three 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".ru; note - Russia also has responsibility for a legacy domain "".su"" that was allocated to the Soviet Union and is being phased out
"
.by
Internet userstotal: 108,772,470
percent of population: 76.4% (July 2016 est.)
total: 6,805,786
percent of population: 71.1% (July 2016 est.)
Broadcast media13 national TV stations with the federal government owning 1 and holding a controlling interest in a second; state-owned Gazprom maintains a controlling interest in 2 of the national channels; government-affiliated Bank Rossiya owns controlling interest in a fourth and fifth, while a sixth national channel is owned by the Moscow city administration; the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian military, respectively, own 2 additional national channels; roughly 3,300 national, regional, and local TV stations with over two-thirds completely or partially controlled by the federal or local governments; satellite TV services are available; 2 state-run national radio networks with a third majority-owned by Gazprom; roughly 2,400 public and commercial radio stations (2016)
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

RussiaBelarus
Railwaystotal: 87,157 km
broad gauge: 86,200 km 1.520-m gauge (40,300 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 957 km 1.067-m gauge (on Sakhalin Island)
note: an additional 30,000 km of non-common carrier lines serve industries (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: 1,283,387 km
paved: 927,721 km (includes 39,143 km of expressways)
unpaved: 355,666 km (2012)
total: 86,392 km
paved: 74,651 km
unpaved: 11,741 km (2010)
Waterways102,000 km (including 48,000 km with guaranteed depth; the 72,000-km system in European Russia links Baltic Sea, White Sea, Caspian Sea, Sea of Azov, and Black Sea) (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 177,700 km; oil 54,800 km; refined products 19,300 km (2016)
gas 5,386 km; oil 1,589 km; refined products 1,730 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Kaliningrad, Nakhodka, Novorossiysk, Primorsk, Vostochnyy
river port(s): Saint Petersburg (Neva River)
oil terminal(s): Kavkaz oil terminal
container port(s) (TEUs): Saint Petersburg (2,365,174)
LNG terminal(s) (export): Sakhalin Island
river port(s): Mazyr (Prypyats')
Merchant marinetotal: 2,572
by type: bulk carrier 16, container ship 13, general cargo 874, oil tanker 411, other 1,258 (2017)
total: 4
by type: other 4 (2017)
Airports1,218 (2013)
65 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 594
over 3,047 m: 54
2,438 to 3,047 m: 197
1,524 to 2,437 m: 123
914 to 1,523 m: 95
under 914 m: 125 (2017)
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 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 624
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 13
1,524 to 2,437 m: 69
914 to 1,523 m: 81
under 914 m: 457 (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)
Heliports49 (2013)
1 (2013)
National air transport systemnumber of registered air carriers: 32
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 661
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 76,846,126
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 4,761,047,070 mt-km (2015)
number of registered air carriers: 2
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 30
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,489,035
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1.807 million mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefixRA (2016)
EW (2016)

Military

RussiaBelarus
Military branches"Ground Troops (Sukhoputnyye Voyskia, SV), Navy (Voyenno-Morskoy Flot, VMF), Aerospace Forces (Vozdushno-Kosmicheskiye Sily, VKS); Airborne Troops (Vozdushno-Desantnyye Voyska, VDV) and Missile Troops of Strategic Purpose (Raketnyye Voyska Strategicheskogo Naznacheniya, RVSN) referred to commonly as Strategic Rocket Forces, are independent ""combat arms,"" not subordinate to any of the three branches (2017)
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Belarus Armed Forces: Land Force, Air and Air Defense Force, Special Operations Force (2013)
Military service age and obligation18-27 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; males are registered for the draft at 17 years of age; 1-year service obligation (conscripts can only be sent to combat zones after 6 months of training); reserve obligation for non-officers to age 50; enrollment in military schools from the age of 16, cadets classified as members of the armed forces
note: the chief of the General Staff Mobilization Directorate announced in March 2015 that for health reasons, only 76% of draftees called up during the spring 2015 draft campaign were fit for military service (2015)
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 GDP5.4% of GDP (2016)
4.86% of GDP (2015)
4.1% of GDP (2014)
3.96% of GDP (2013)
3.75% 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

RussiaBelarus
Disputes - international"Russia remains concerned about the smuggling of poppy derivatives from Afghanistan through Central Asian countries; China and Russia have demarcated the once disputed islands at the Amur and Ussuri confluence and in the Argun River in accordance with the 2004 Agreement, ending their centuries-long border disputes; the sovereignty dispute over the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and the Habomai group, known in Japan as the ""Northern Territories"" and in Russia as the ""Southern Kurils,"" occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945, now administered by Russia, and claimed by Japan, remains the primary sticking point to signing a peace treaty formally ending World War II hostilities; Russia's military support and subsequent recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia independence in 2008 continue to sour relations with Georgia; Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia ratified Caspian seabed delimitation treaties based on equidistance, while Iran continues to insist on a one-fifth slice of the sea; Norway and Russia signed a comprehensive maritime boundary agreement in 2010; various groups in Finland advocate restoration of Karelia (Kareliya) and other areas ceded to the Soviet Union following World War II but the Finnish Government asserts no territorial demands; Russia and Estonia signed a technical border agreement in May 2005, but Russia recalled its signature in June 2005 after the Estonian parliament added to its domestic ratification act a historical preamble referencing the Soviet occupation and Estonia's pre-war borders under the 1920 Treaty of Tartu; Russia contends that the preamble allows Estonia to make territorial claims on Russia in the future, while Estonian officials deny that the preamble has any legal impact on the treaty text; Russia demands better treatment of the Russian-speaking population in Estonia and Latvia; Russia remains involved in the conflict in eastern Ukraine while also occupying Ukraine’s territory of Crimea
Lithuania 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 an EU member state with an EU external border, where strict Schengen border rules apply; preparations for the demarcation delimitation of land boundary with Ukraine have commenced; the dispute over the boundary between Russia and Ukraine through the Kerch Strait and Sea of Azov is suspended due to the occupation of Crimea by Russia; Kazakhstan and Russia boundary delimitation was ratified on November 2005 and field demarcation should commence in 2007; Russian Duma has not yet ratified 1990 Bering Sea Maritime Boundary Agreement with the US; Denmark (Greenland) and Norway have made submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) and Russia is collecting additional data to augment its 2001 CLCS submission
"
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 drugslimited cultivation of illicit cannabis and opium poppy and producer of methamphetamine, mostly for domestic consumption; government has active illicit crop eradication program; used as transshipment point for Asian opiates, cannabis, and Latin American cocaine bound for growing domestic markets, to a lesser extent Western and Central Europe, and occasionally to the US; major source of heroin precursor chemicals; corruption and organized crime are key concerns; major consumer of opiates
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
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 427,240 (Ukraine) (2017)
IDPs: 19,000 (armed conflict, human rights violations, generalized violence in North Caucasus, particularly Chechnya and North Ossetia) (2016)
stateless persons: 90,771 (2016); note - Russia's stateless population consists of Roma, Meskhetian Turks, and ex-Soviet citizens from the former republics; between 2003 and 2010 more than 600,000 stateless people were naturalized; most Meskhetian Turks, followers of Islam with origins in Georgia, fled or were evacuated from Uzbekistan after a 1989 pogrom and have lived in Russia for more than the required five-year residency period; they continue to be denied registration for citizenship and basic rights by local Krasnodar Krai authorities on the grounds that they are temporary illegal migrants
refugees (country of origin): 244,621 applicants for forms of legal stay other than asylum (Ukraine) (2017)
stateless persons: 6,182 (2016)
Trafficking in personscurrent situation: Russia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; with millions of foreign workers, forced labor is Russia’s predominant human trafficking problem and sometimes involves organized crime syndicates; workers from Russia, other European countries, Central Asia, and East and Southeast Asia, including North Korea and Vietnam, are subjected to forced labor in the construction, manufacturing, agricultural, textile, grocery store, maritime, and domestic service industries, as well as in forced begging, waste sorting, and street sweeping; women and children from Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central Asia are subject to sex trafficking in Russia; Russian women and children are victims of sex trafficking domestically and in Northeast Asia, Europe, Central Asia, Africa, the US, and the Middle East
tier rating: Tier 3 - Russia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making a significant effort to do so; prosecutions of trafficking offenders remained low in comparison to the scope of Russia’s trafficking problem; the government did not develop or employ a formal system for identifying trafficking victims or referring them to protective services, although authorities reportedly assisted a limited number of victims on an ad hoc basis; foreign victims, the largest group in Russia, were not entitled to state-provided rehabilitative services and were routinely detained and deported; the government has not reported investigating reports of slave-like conditions among North Korean workers in Russia; authorities have made no effort to reduce the demand for forced labor or to develop public awareness of forced labor or sex trafficking (2015)
current situation: Belarus is a source, transit, and destination country for women, men, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; more victims are exploited within Belarus than abroad; Belarusians exploited abroad are primarily trafficked to Germany, Poland, Russian, and Turkey but also other European countries, the Middle East, Japan, Kazakhstan, and Mexico; Moldovans, Russians, Ukrainians, and Vietnamese are exploited in Belarus; state-sponsored forced labor is a continuing problem; students are forced to do farm labor without pay and military conscripts are forced to perform unpaid non-military work; the government has retained a decree forbidding workers in state-owned wood processing factories from leaving their jobs without their employers’ permission
tier rating: Tier 3 – Belarus does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and was placed on Tier 3 after being on the Tier 2 Watch List for two consecutive years without making progress; government efforts to repeal state-sponsored forced labor policies and domestic trafficking were inadequate; no trafficking offenders were convicted in 2014, and the number of investigations progressively declined from 2005-14; efforts to protect trafficking victims remain insufficient, with no identification and referral mechanism in place; care facilities were not trafficking-specific and were poorly equipped, leading most victims to seek assistance from private shelters (2015)

Source: CIA Factbook