Belarus (Belarus) borders Russia, Ukraine and EU
countries Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The country is
completely controlled by President Aleksandr Lukashenko
and his authoritarian regime. Belarus has a broad
industrial base but is economically dependent on Russia,
not least Russian natural gas imports.
Brief profiles of Belarus, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Belarus (Belarus) is almost half the size of
Sweden. It borders the EU countries Latvia, Lithuania
and Poland in the north and west as well as Russia in
the east and Ukraine in the south.
Belarus lacks the sea coast but has plenty of lakes,
marshes and swamps. The landscape is predominantly flat,
but a low bedrock runs diagonally from west to east. In
the north, the landscape consists largely of wooded
hills with many lakes. In the south, lowland marshes
spread around the river Pripjat - a tributary to the
Dnieper, which is the country's largest river. Other
tributaries to the Dnieper are Dvina and Neman.
Large uninhabited forests occupy more than one third
of the land area. In the north, conifers grow mainly but
also birch and alar, in the south there are large
deciduous forests. At the far west on the border with
Poland is the Belovezhskaja Pushtja National Park. There
are primeval forests with many rare animals, including
Europe's largest population of vines (European bison
oxen). The forest area that is shared with Poland is
best known in Sweden as the Białowieża forest. The
Polish part was classified as World Heritage in 1979 and
the World Heritage was expanded in 1992 with the
Inland climates predominate, ie hot summers and very
cold winters. The proximity to the Baltic Sea means that
the air is relatively humid in the summers.
One of the country's most famous cities is Brest on
the Polish border, which through the ages has listened
to several different kingdoms. Its dramatic war history
also includes Swedish campaigns in the 17th century.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
207,600 km2 (2018)
Swedish + 1 hour
Adjacent country (s)
Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia
Capital with number of inhabitants
Minsk 1,800,000 (Estimated 2009)
Other major cities
Gomel 476,000, Mogilev 368,000, Vitebsk 342,000,
Grodno 327,000, Brest 310,000 (Estimated 2009)
Dzerzhinskijberget (346 m asl)
Dnieper, Dvina, Neman
Average Precipitation / month
Minsk 33 mm (Feb), 89 mm (July)
Average / day
Minsk -5 °C (Jan), 19 °C (July)
Rages against challengers to Lukashenko
Authorities carry out raids on companies linked to banker Viktor Babaryko,
reports an independent news site with the address tut.by. A state audit agency
tells the site that the reason is suspicion of tax fraud and money laundering.
Babaryko believes the intention is to deter him from challenging President
Lukashenko in the August 9 presidential election. As yet, no other candidate has
been formally registered.
Orbán is celebrated in Minsk
President Lukashenko is visited by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who
calls on the EU to lift its remaining sanctions on the Minsk regime: arms
embargo and travel bans and frozen assets for a number of people. Lukashenko
calls Hungary its "leading partner in the EU who understands us like no other".
He also praised Orbán for the courage to visit during the ongoing pandemic.
Belarus has 253 confirmed deaths in covid-19 and Hungary, with approximately the
same population, has 542.
New Prime Minister
Roman Golovchenko is appointed by the president as new prime minister. He has
previously chaired the Defense Industry Committee. According to the president,
the representative Sergei Rumas, who has held the post for almost two years,
will be engaged in business.
Lukashenko reforms the government
President Lukashenko dismisses the government by decree, but he describes it
as a decision that gives transparency to the impending presidential election. In
front of high-level employees, he says that there are no revolutionary changes
awaiting, but that those who vote should know who is expected to handle
important issues in the future.
Opposition leaders receive prison
Opposition leader Mikola Statkevich is sentenced to 15 days in prison after
being arrested the day before. The charges are that he organized an unauthorized
meeting in Minsk on May 24, the wife says. On June 15, he will receive a new
Battle against Lukashenko opponents
A popular video blogger, Sergei Tichanovsky, is arrested and charged with
violence against an official at a demonstration in Grodno. At the meeting, his
wife Svetlana Tichanovskaya, who intends to run for president in August,
collects signatures for his candidacy. (Registered candidates have the right to
hold campaign meetings.) The result is that President Lukashenko dismisses her
with statements that Belarus is not ready for a female president and that the
country's constitution is not designed for it either. The organization Viasna
states that around 50 people are arrested as a result of the meeting in Grodno
and other demonstrations.
Challengers to Lukashenko are stopped
Opposition politician Mikola Statkevich is not allowed to stand in the
presidential election in August. In the 2010 election, he challenged President
Lukashenko, but was quickly arrested afterwards and was not released until five
years later, when the regime was interested in mitigating criticism from Western
countries. The electoral authority now refers to his "criminal past" as an
obstacle to his candidacy. Statkevich himself says that what is understood "is
not a choice but a circus".
Victory parade despite the risk of infection
Thousands of soldiers and columns of armored vehicles parade through Minsk as
Belarus celebrates the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany.
Veterans of high age are among those passing in front of President Lukashenko.
The parade is conducted, as every year, despite the World Health Organization
(WHO) advising Belarus to find alternative solutions due to the corona pandemic.
About 20,000 cases of infection and 121 deaths have been reported. In 1941,
parts of Belarus were among the first in the then Soviet Union to be occupied by
the Nazis and the occupation lasted until 1944. Hundreds of thousands of
Belarusian Jews were among those killed in the Holocaust.
Presidential election in August
Presidential elections will be held on August 9, Parliament decides.
President Lukashenko, who has so far won five well-run elections, has confirmed
that he will run again this year and also made it clear that he is no stranger
to being re-elected in 2025.
The end of the war is celebrated with amnesty
With reference to the fact that 75 years have passed since the end of the
Second World War, Parliament approves a proposed amnesty. The Interior Minister
states that almost 5,400 prisoners will be released prematurely and that 6,500
prisoners will have their sentences shortened by one year. The big victory
parade planned in Minsk to celebrate the end of the war will be carried out on
May 9, despite the covid 19 pandemic that has claimed more than 100 lives in
Belarus. Most former Soviet republics have canceled memorial ceremonies so as
not to risk the spread of infection.
The spread of infection is increasing
The seriousness of the corona pandemic has reached Belarus, where 23 deaths
are reported. The number of diagnosed cases of illness has risen to over 2,200,
among them 300 employees in the healthcare sector. The World Health Organization
(WHO), which predicts an impending societal spread, advises Belarus to take
similar measures as other countries, including the ban on large public
EU support against the corona crisis
As part of the EU's response to the global corona crisis, a support package
is promised to the six so-called Eastern Partnership countries Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. The support includes a total
of EUR 140 million for immediate healthcare needs, and in addition EUR 700
million is redistributed so that the money can be used to counter severe
societal effects of the crisis. The planned activities are in cooperation with
the World Health Organization (WHO).
Belarusian football viewer voice during the pandemic
An unexpected effect of the corona virus is that TV viewers in a number of
countries get to see Belarusian league football. Many countries have canceled
the matches because of the risk of infection, but in Belarus, which is still
running the game, the Football Federation is given the opportunity to sell
broadcast rights. Media companies in Russia, Israel and India, among others,
show interest. Belarus has fewer than 100 confirmed cases of covid-19 disease,
and its president Lukashenko has demonstrated that he is not worried about the
spread of infection.
Best virus therapy: drive tractor
President Lukashenko, who has a background as a collective agriculture
manager, misses no opportunity to emphasize that life in the country is healthy.
At a televised meeting, he downplayed the fears of the spread of coronavirus and
recommended to citizens to work in the countryside and drive tractors. Belarus
is also known for its production of tractors. Twenty-six cases of covid-19
disease have been reported.
Handshake between Lukashenko and Pompeo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits President Lukashenko. The US visit
is the first high level since 1994. They make statements about strengthening
their interrelationships and Pompeo agrees that US energy companies are ready to
export oil to Belarus. The US imposed sanctions on Belarus, which were mitigated
in 2016 but have not been completely lifted. Belarus now has the same regime as
when the sanctions were introduced with reference to an undemocratic regime.
Disagreement with Russia on oil price
Russia has stopped its oil deliveries to Belarus as the parties disagree on
the price, Belarus sources say. The previous agreement between them expired at
the New Year. President Lukashenko has ordered orders from other suppliers to be
considered, such as imports through the Baltic States. Russian management
company Transneft points out that transit trade, oil sold to countries west of
Belarus, is not affected by the disagreement. Belarus has oil in stock for the
middle of the month and says it does not fear queues at the stations. Later in
January, it appears that a new contract between Belarus and Russia has, after
all, been signed, with unknown conditions, and that Belarus has for the first
time purchased Norwegian oil to be transported via Lithuania.