BelarusBelarus is a former Soviet Union country located in the heart of Eastern Europe. Belarus is landlocked and surrounded by Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland. It was in 1939 when the neighbouring regions with different identities unified together to form the country of Belarus along the current borders. The official languages spoken are Russian and Belarusian.

Belarus’ president for the past 15 years, Lukashenko, has been described as ‘Europe’s last Dictator’. He came into power in 1994 but has not relinquished his role but keeps going to general elections. Oppositional leaders and political parties are not allowed to organise protests, which is very risky, as they face harsh penalties if caught.

The country became independent in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.  There was a row between Russia and Belarus in 2006 over oil when Russia cut its supply to the country. The supply was resumed but not before Russia almost doubled the price.

Under Lukashenko, Belarus has become increasingly isolated and recluse from the international community.  Although one of the most prosperous part of the USSR, Belarus did not fare so well once it gained its independence. The president’s refusal to allow private investments and business from foreign investors in to the largely state controlled economy means the country’s growth has somewhat stalled.

 

• Capital:  Minsk
• Prime Minister: Lukashenko
• Currency: Belarusian rouble

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